Location • Grid:Villa St. Rose •
Date • 2020-06-05
Summary • A Mastigos Ladder and a Moros Guardian team up to investigate the Villa St. Rose and the recent attack there only to discover things are much worse than they believed.
Villa St. Rose -- Portland, OR -- June 04 -- Thursday -- 0312; approximately fourteen hours before Cavalier and Lucille Grace were supposed to rendezvous to investigate the Villa St. Rose.
Detective Grace insisted that it was a must get to the Villa as soon as possible, as their evidence their chances are both disappearing, she somehow knows, at equal rates. The weather is rainy, windy, and unseasonably chill. It’s ideal for sneaking around, but far from for gathering evidence. They stand under a small bit of shelter--a bathroom for the baseball field that sits nicely groomed in one corner of the fenced, hedged lot. There are a few armed guards milling about outside, but they’re the pistol and white hair kind, not the armor and assault rifle kind. Easily avoided, for now, due to their propensity to avoid the rain as much as possible.
What Grace was brought here to see, however, wasn’t something that happened during the assault. It’s what’s going on now. As they wait, at 0313, a truck and trailer pulls up to the massive gate in front of the Villa, pauses, and the gate begins to open. What’s that truck holding? They have to wait a full minute just for it to start to back up to the school’s loading bay, and once they manage to get the trailer lined up, it’s a full two minutes more until they start to unload it. It’s difficult to see at the distance and with the darkness of the night out here (compared to in the loading bay), but they very much appear to be corpses. Only Grace knows better because of her Mage Sight.
They are wheeling living, comatose people off of that truck and into the school; each stacked two to rolling gurneys; one above, and one below.
%rTwo people in identical black suits devoid of designer labels. Two sets of sunglasses. Two identical miens of professional detachment. They know where Chicago is and they're waiting for sunset before going there. Only God knows which of them is holding the half-packet of cigarettes. Then Cavalier breaks off from his partner to walk across the playing field as if he doesn't care about being seen, because he genuinely doesn't, because he's so cool he doesn't need a flashing red neuralyzer to wipe people's memories.
As he goes past a guard, Cavalier gives the man a half-nod that manages to say hello without appearing to be in the slightest bit approachable. "Keep it sharp and put together, big boss is coming by," he states as he passes by the guard. He doesn't stop to hear what the guard says -- odds are good the guard has already forgotten about him. But for just a moment something flitted across his mind, and that thought is Cavalier's lawful prey. The kerambit knife he's holding close against his forearm leaves a soft silver trail in the air, but only for a second, as Awakened Will leaves its mark on the Fallen World.
The Guardian’s eyes narrow, focusing in on the truck that the people are being lugged out of. She reaches up to carefully remove the loaned pair of sunglasses that Avi had loaned her for the drive, folds them up and slips that hand into the inside of her suit jacket. She must have found a home for them, since the hand comes back, well, empty. Steely blue eyes focus in on the truck as she continues to observe. As Avi slips away from her and makes his way over toward the truck, she crouches down where she stands. She picks up a handful of loose dirt from the ground, shaking it a bit and allowing it to slowly sift through her fingers. Her eyelids lower, and finally close, but the near ritualistic handling of the dirt continues. She is focusing intently on the truck, and exactly what she might discover were she to make her way into it.
Cavalier finds the guard is quite subdued (in terms of assiduity) by his Mind effect. The older man doesn’t even ponder the younger’s presence, but the words exchanged certain get a couple of thoughts going in his mind. The first is ‘’Fuck Steve and fuck you too.’’ Sort of a bitter thought, but many people are bitter in these times. The second, almost delayed, is double take of hope that Cavalier wasn’t talking about ‘’’that’’’ guy. Someone very specific in that mind. Someone that scares the shit out of him. There’s a face that Avi will remember, and it might be surprising for its youth combined with authority. There’s a name there, too, but it has the same ring that his does. Falcon. White male; early twenties; blue eyes; no hair.
Grace sees herself wait a great deal of time; nearly an hour. After that, she slips into the loading back and discovers all those bodies have been moved through two double doors into the gymnasium. There Grace sees a man with a fade drowning in cogs as and fading from the ground. Her vision ends in a cacophony of bullets heard only by her ears.
Cavalier lurks by the ramp for a moment, his hands going into his satchel to withdraw a roll of duct tape. A few minutes later he's got a healthy strap of it on the back of his burner phone, which he's currently set in Do-Not-Disturb mode. As one of the guards pushes a gurney along Cavalier says aloud -- not to the guard, but just in casual surprise -- "Holy shit, is that Falcon?"
The guard does a double-take, stops pushing the gurney for a moment, and starts looking around furtively for the feared Mister Falcon. Cavalier for his part steps in close, affixes the burner to the underside of the gurney, and steps away.
As the hail of bullets sprays through her, Grace’s blue eyes open wide, quite suddenly as the small handful of dirt, now slowly turning into the grainy texture right before mud, she’d been sifting through idly is dropped suddenly all at one time in a clump. A sharp gasp is emitted, easily drowned by the sound of the rain, crimson lips parting to allow her a quick breath in. Dying never gets easier. She remains in the crouch for several seconds, slowly wiping the filth from her fingers. The woman glances over to the direction that Avi went, just in time to hear him say something that she can’t quite make out aloud. Rather than try and make her way toward the man, she waits for him to make a loop back to her. She has another idea.
Rather than trying to access the inside of the facility from the inside, which clearly will get her and Avi possibly killed, she could take a significantly simpler path, and move to the building. Getting into a good hidden position beside it would buy her the time and ability to take a look at the facility right through its walls. Just like glass.
As for Cavalier, now that he's collected two pieces of useful intelligence and planted a bug he deems that decent work for five minutes' effort and breaks away to walk back over towards Grace. "Ms. Black," he greets her (because of course they have the monochromatic thing going). Then, more quietly: "Leader's a guy named Falcon. He looks like if Doctor Evil was young, gay, and liked to hit the gym. The 'bodies' aren't dead, and I've got a tracker on them to let us follow the truck. What did you pick up?"
Standing, she looks up at Avi. “Right, they aren’t dead. But I’ve no idea right now exactly what has put them into the state that they are currently in. But I did figure out,” she rubs two fingers together to knock some of the now-drying dirt the rest of the way off, “if we go into that building, it's game over. So I’m going to propose that we take our time and find a safe place on the outside of the building. Maybe that far side,” she gestures with her head, dark, slicked-back hair only made moreso by the rain. “If we get a safe spot, I can clear up that wall and give us a direct view inside. Much better odds for us.” And before Avi can agree or protest, she shrugs the back of her suit jacket further up her neck and begins to try to make her way, unnoticed, toward the building.
"I love this 'let's not be stupid and avoid dying' thing you've got going, Grace," Cavalier quips lightly as he follows side-by-side with Grace to back her play. "Refreshing change from most of the other people I've worked with." His smile is a broad thing, the sort of thing people swear they won't trust but always do. It's a Warlock smile. God damn them all... if He hasn't already.
Turning part of a wall into a two-way glass isn't exactly something many have rote. Grace, appropriately, takes her time and gets it done with a little more patience and care. Three-quarters of a minute later, a patch of the wall about the size of each of their faces--appropriately at their correct and quite different heights--appears like one's face in the mirror as fog is wiped away.
Inside is the Villa St. Rose gymnasium. Only instead of the bleachers being out and people sitting, the room is filled with people in those strange comas. Yet they've seen maybe forty people get wheeled in here (in this timeline), but they are looking at least five times that number. Someone is amassing a huge amount of bodies here, and there they can see--not hear, alas--two guards that are quite different from those on the exterior. One is carrying an MP-15 knockoff. It seems familiar. He keeps his hands off it; wrists resting on the slung weapon as if he expects no trouble. The other seems the stereotypical 'merc' type; tryhard haircut, sunglasses at night (they gotta ruin it for everyone), and three bandoliers of throwing knives all worn like he'd ever live long enough to use them all in a gunfight.
“We’re useless if we’re dead.” Grace just puts it out there like fact, without dramatic pause or effect as she peers inside. Her blue eyes roam the complex, unphased at the facts as they present themselves in time. However, within mere moments, the woman’s quiet tone spreads, almost palpably, into silence. And then she whispers, “Those guards are not just some muscle hired to look dangerous. They walk the walk, plus teeth. Their bodies are packed full of so many cybernetics, a good deal of which I haven’t even seen, that I wouldn’t be surprised if the only human thing about them was, perhaps, their brain. These men are dangerous in ways I can’t describe.”
"Keep this open a moment more," Cavalier states towards Grace even as he keeps his sunglass-visored gaze locked onto one of the goons. There is a Lie here, a foul and reprehensible thing, and he will /exploit it/. As he stares at the mook, Cavalier settles deeper into his role, into his Shadowname: he is the big damn hero, he is the complete asshole. And as he sinks deeper into this Goetic trance, something very much like poetry falls forth from his lips --
"The Harvester of Eyes, that's me And I see all there is to see When I look inside your head Right up front to the back of your skull That's my sign that you are dead My list for you gets checked off as null I'm the Harvester of Eyes."
Mastigos. Whatever Goetic thing he's communing with, whatever awful demon the Harvester of Eyes is, well, never let it be said it doesn't knoow how to make good on its threats. On the Supernal plane, illuminated to the Mage Sight that Grace has, a blaze of silver-blue Supernal fire eats the goon's eyes and takes up residence in the ruined sockets as the Harvester collects the portals to this man's mind. As if in a trance, Cavalier starts to rattle off the goon's thought processes, but filtered through Cavalier's Prime-infused senses that burn away all deceptions -- even the goon's self-deceptions, all the polite lies he tells himself to get through the day.
This ... this is how the Warlocks interrogate. Fear, mortals, and all those blind to the Lie.
As the man speaks, as amusing as it might be, Grace’s expression falls to one of grave concern. Enough that she reaches out to grab the elbow of the Mastigos. She taps it gently, rather than yanking on it. “Stop. Wait. Damnit.” It’s too late to actually stop him at all. She continues to watch through the wall, pulling her hand back to herself. Head turned slightly toward him, she whispers in a near hiss, “Someone is watching them. The second I cast someone knew… You have to stop. We gotta get out of here. Now.”
Right after Grace says what she does, both of the talking cyborgs stop and--as one--turns to look towards the two, well (from their perspective) intruders without seeing them; looking towards the wall that hides them, but it can be unnerving even through a camera to have someone look over when assumed hidden. The man with the rifle that was leaning so lazily? It levels in a blur of motion and fires of a shot that misses Grace's head only because she's 5'4" instead of 6'. If her and Avi were in different places, he might be dead right now.
The man with the knives is pulling one out in each hand even as he runs at incredible--and this is the perspective of the Awakened--speeds; clearly thirty yards in the passage of a second. He isn't running towards them, however. He's running almost directly away from them.
Avi feels an Imago forming inside that is--most certainly--a Mastigos. The same energy that spiked him from the cyborg's trapped mind is there, and it matches the Violent, Oily Resonance that comes off of it. Falcon is here. Falcon is watching.
Grace shakes visibly as she realizes just what is going to happen to them, and then she thrusts her hands together in front of her, closing her eyes. Swift, nearly intelligible words spill from her lips, and then she juts them forward in front of her, in a possibly surprising display of force toward the man that runs like lightning burns up the sky. And he slows. Suddenly, it’s as if something is gripping the man as a whole; an invisible set of fingers plying at his limbs to slow him, affording both Grace and Avi mere moments to escape their perilous situation.
For a moment, Cavalier just ... /grins/. The Mastigos Smile, the glee of a torturer who takes such pride in his work. It's the smile on the lover you're hatefucking when they realize they hate you so much more than you hate them and ergo they win. It's sinuous and sinful and decadent and depraved.
And it's aimed -- in a psychic sense -- right at Falcon. Hatefuck /this/, bay-bee.
"You're so sly," Cavalier whispers in something that's almost respect. Then, abruptly, passionately: "//So am I!//"
And then he turns and commits one more measured insult: he turns and runs like hell alongside Grace. Because to the Mastigos, there's no wound to the ego quite like seeing an inferior take on airs of equality and then get away clean...