Dark Minneapolis

Beauty and the Beast

Dark Mpls Log 2012-05-04

The police investigated the “bus accident” outside our office. The lead investigator told us that Det. Fredericks is back on duty and slowly getting back into full duty. Gus needed to think about the implications of an angel trying to kill him and heads out to see his family. Larry heals from his wounds quickly, but he’s starving, so he heads out with his game face on.

Marcus patched up Elias so he wouldn’t die on us, then talked to him. Elias thinks he can convince the Keys that the noble thing to do is to die and disperse the Keys. I try to communicate with the Angel in the circle by playing the Close Encounters communicating with aliens scene. It didn’t work.

Smith showed up. He’s missing an ear. He told us that all of the offices are being attacked one by one. They need Marcus to help fight them.

Olivia came out of the vault. She’s hungry. She has grayish skin, pointy teeth, and little tiny horns on her forehead. She’s really hungry, so I hacked into the city morgue computer and found a John Doe corpse that was finished with the autopsy. I marked it as ready to ship out to a mortuary and printed up van signs and paperwork for Greenway Mortuary so that the guys could pick up the body.

While Steve and Marcus are out getting a body, Olivia got a little too hungry and started after Smith. I got her to stop. Steve, in an inspired bit of patter convinces the guy at the morgue that Greenway is a new company. They brought the body back and Olivia ate about 1/2 of it. How that fit into an 8 year old size body is anybody’s guess.

Arthur Donovan, Leroy Gillman, and four more people showed up at the door. They want Marcus to take on the four apprentices for training. Marcus’s new apprentices: George from Detroit, Laria from Brazil, Olga from Sweden, Febus from Greece. He’s going to be a busy guy.

Marcus gave Elias to the Wizard’s Guild people to take away so we don’t have to worry about him any more. Marcus gave his students my apartment to stay in. He spent the next day training the new students.

About 6 pm, we are sitting around the conference table enjoying an adult beverage when Olivia comes out and apologizes to smith for trying to eat him. She’s learning to talk again, but finding the process long and difficult. She managed to have a conversation about how difficult this process is, but she knows that people have, in the past, lived with the curse without killing people or spreading the zombie plague.

About 9 pm I get an email from Harkow Moving and Storage in Coon Rapids: “Need help. Come loaded. Mary” I sent an email back asking to talk to her. She replied with “Don’t let the Demons hear. Meet me there.” There’s a big complex of self-storage garages. She tells us that there’s some form of energy affecting the lock and key system. There are multiple sources of this energy. She knows that there is a source for this energy in a large storage building, but it’s shielded against angels. I hacked in to find out that the whole building has been rented by CROS. I am able to hack into the security system for the outside doors, so I add a key code for the guys to get in.

There have been shipments to this warehouse of medical supplies and recreational supplies. All the windows have been blacked out. I sent a spider to cut a hole in the window and found that the windows have been boarded up. When I drilled a hole in the board, someone inside was calling out for help. They finally went into the hallway and my spider picked the lock for the stairs. Everyone made their way upstairs and found a small room with four cots, three people, one looks like a drooling vegetable, the other two seem slightly insane. The next room is similar, with two drooling vegetables and two slightly insane people. The next room is actually a balcony overlooking a two story tall work area: it’s a scene from a nightmare. The light is tinged red with a blood-filled hot tub in the middle of the room. There are people hanging from chains over the hot tub with IVs draining blood from their arms into the pool of blood. There seems to be a shimmer coming from the blood flow.

The bad guys immediately spotted Marcus on the balconey. He ran out. My hummingbirds reported that three big gray demons conferred with a hot redhead and then they all headed out of the room. After some panic, Steve went into the room with the blood tub to try to save the people there. The Hot Chick opens the door at one end of the hall, saunters toward Marcus and says “look at you. I could just eat you up.” Marcus gets insanely angry at Smith and tries to kick him down the stairs. Smith managed to dodge.

The three gray demons came up the stairs followed by . . . “I just realized that no one can see it!” says the DM. That doesn’t sound good at all.

Marcus and Smith start wrestling. Steve rescues the guy hanging over the blood tub, then turns into a dog and runs up the stairs. I sent a hummingbird to try to taze the hot chick. Missed. Smith was able to get through to Marcus, who snapped out of it. Smith took out one of the gray demons and got a look at what is behind them: a being 4 times the size of a normal human, gray and misshapen with huge arms that can barely fit in the hallway. It’s practically crawling. The hot chick takes a long look at Smith and induces massive panic in him. Steve the bear is now behind demon Hulk and he takes a bite out of it. He finds out that it smells exactly the same as the hot chick.

I sent a hummingbird in and unerringly zapped the hot chick with the tazer. When she was zapped, the two gray demon jumped. Marcus used the opening to stab her. She’s unhappy. The demon hulk gets it’s bulk turned around to menace Steve. The Hot Chick yells “begone!” and sends a wave of force to squish Marcus. Marcus dodges, but Smith takes it full on. It has no effect on him. When Marcus tries to banish her, nothing happens but she laughs at him and says “Mom says Hi, by the way. We’re not through with her yet.”

Marcus tries to drag Smith down the stairs while Alpha Dog shot Hot Chick in the chest with a shotgun shell. It’s power seemed to dissipate some before hitting her, but it did stagger her and put her off her game. She backed off and sent the two gray demons after Alpha dog, who took some damage, but took out the thug with a shotgun slug.

Steve managed to find a sledge hammer in the main room and used it to knock a hole in the hot tub. Hot chick is on the balcony and says “My sister will take care of you!” (ta dum!) to Steve. That apparently turns Steve on big time. He’s smitten.

Alpha Dog manages to dodge down the stairs and runs for it. Steve flies up to the Hot Chick and tries for second base, but she grabs his hand and looks deeply into his eyes. Whatever he saw there shocked Steve out of his hormonal haze and he turns to a bear and tries to whack her. He missed.

Marcus, running in to save Steve, runs straight into a gray thug. He touches it with a rune and it poofs out of existence. My hummingbird shoots Hot Chick in the neck with a tranq dart, but she still doesn’t go down. She’s one tough mother. Steve takes a bite, trying to take her face off. She blasts him from both hands, hammering him from two directions. That had to hurt.

Marcus and Smith rush onto the balcony and Smith misses with a roundhouse kick, just as she breaks free, yells “Sister!” and throws a smoke bomb to the ground. Everything is obscured in the smoke. Steve the bear misses while a tranq dart hits her. She’s getting a ride from Hulk down from the balcony, which I can see on IR.

We all managed to get out of the building, including Hulk carrying Hot Chick. As soon as they leave the building, Mary says “now I’ve got you!” and runs after Hulk. She shoots Hulk in the back with white fire, taking it down, then concentrates white fire on it until it’s burned to a crisp.

Hot Chick is semi-conscious at best.

Angel on my shoulder

10 February 2012
A day and a half have passed since the attack at the mansion. Gus’s sister has not mentally recovered. She seems to be fine physically, but is catatonic. As soon as Gus comes to the Lair for the first time, he sees Larry, yells “Vampire,” grabs a conference chair and starts heading for Larry. Larry does some kind of mental mumbo-jumbo, but it doesn’t do any good. The others try to stop Gus while I wheel into the vault to get out of the way. We had a discussion about whether vampires are demons and other lore.

We spent a long time trying to figure out a plan to break into the isolated lab.

A few days later, as I’m at the Greenway Lair building a shaped bomb, Sloan, Arthur Donovan, and a woman show up at the Warehouse District Lair. They want to be tattooed with Marcus’s anti-demon rune. Apparently key members of the San Francisco office and several offices have been taken over by demons, and the organization needs to have Marcus tattoo people regularly. Sloan mentioned that San Francisco and New Orleans are off-line.

Sloan sets me up with military grade encryption so that we can talk to him privately. I gave him an earpiece.

On Sunday night, I called the front door guards and sent them to a conference room while spoofing the cameras. I routed them to an empty office that abuts the secret lab area. Meanwhile, I lured the two guards to another conference room with the excuse that there’s a bird loose there. Smith, Gus, and Larry lurked in that conference room with tasers while Steve fluttered around as a bird. One of the guards went down easy, the other took some damage before going down. The third guard sent into the room turned out to be a demon who sent a wave of force that knocked Gus and Steve the bird flying across the room. Larry showed off some new moves by slamming the guy into the wall with his mind, leaving a guy shaped impression in the wall. After a while, the guard was able to break free from Larry’s mental hold enough to punch at Gus and Smith, but they beat him down until Smith snapped his neck with a roundhouse kick. Marcus arrived and pulled out his sword and chopped off the head of the dead guy. The other three guards went down much smoother.

Finally we had the bomb set up and all of the guards dispatched. The guys moved into another room and set off the explosive. The bomb didn’t break all the way through, so Gus grabbed the sledgehammer and started whacking through the second layer of cinderblock. The room on the other side of the hole is a cube farm. I lose control of my hummingbirds as soon as they go into the area. Marcus says to the hummingbirds “we’re here to save you!” The hummingbirds start off toword the other side of the building as lights turn on in a path that way. They pass through a lab with monkeys, another lab with a human body being vivisected and into a lab with lots of computers. There’s a black sphere embedded in a wall of computers and another one on a table. The sphere on the table is plugged into several computers, and is the one that is trying to block me. Marcus starts unplugging the computers hooked up to the sphere on the table and a speaker started babbling in a familiar artificial voice “you did this to me! I hate you! You’ll all die!” Marcus finished unplugging the sphere and the interference cleared up on the network in the lab area.

I started IMing with Olivia. There was sudden interference in the room, that suddenly clears and a bright light appears that says in garbled Latin: “Action is triggered. he has called happens to us. But look for the keys. We terminate here.” The ball of light leaves the room and heads out through the hole that we made. As soon as the ball of light got to the lobby, it ran into a demon SWAT team consisting of a few demons, a bunch of gray demons, and two Raytheon exoskeletons. The white light and the demon squad immediately start fighting.

There’s a cage in the corner with four zombies chained to a wall saying “hungry” in creepy zombie voices. Gus says “is this a mercy killing situation?” Marcus says "this is a “burn it to the ground situation.” So they find a janitors closet, splash the zombies with caustic fluids, and light it on fire. The team blew a hole in the back wall of the lab while I drove the van around to pick them up. Marcus picked up the Coreman sphere on the way out. We all converged back at the Warehouse District Lair where I started working on an interface for Olivia. As soon as I got her hooked up to a computer, she began to expand to take over all computing power available to her.

Marcus took the Coreman sphere to the Greenway lair, he cut it open, and out popped a brain that had been suspended in a wire cage. As soon as it hit the floor, the brain stem started growing and a skull started growing over the brain. Marcus dropped it in the barrel of acid that he had standing by there.

Itchy heard us debriefing, and revealed that the white ball of light is an “angel.” He showed us a couple of symbols that could contain an angel and another that could protect us. I asked Olivia to do a search on the symbols. Apparently the only places that these have been found before are in ancient tombs and crypts in Europe.

The next morning, theres a knock on the door. It’s a 63 year old mechanic from N. Minneapolis whose wife died a couple of months ago and whose kids are out of town. He says through the intercom that he needs help and heard that we could help him. As the guys ask who he is and what he wants, he says “right, I’ll need to take care of this.” He blew the front doors off of the building, calmly walked to the stairs and ripped the lock right out of the door, walked down the stairs and said “which of you are the keys? You will be terminated.” It tells us that an automatic termination order was issued when the four keys came in proximity so that the keys would disperse.

Marcus handed the guy a rune of banish outsider and then invoked it as soon as the old guy picked it up. There was a brief moment where the old guy was leaning against the wall saying “where am I?” before Marcus was shoved back forcefully, smacked by a force. The anti-angel rune drawn on the wall is now smoking. Gus pulled out an assault weapon and fired full auto at him, the bullets seemed to turn to smoke before hitting the guy, but they did seem to stagger him a bit. The rest of the team shoots him, whacks him, and otherwise tries to get him while he punches telekinetically at Gus, leaving a dent in the wall. The only thing that seems to actually hurt him is Marcus’s sword, which draws blood when he blocks the thrust. The angel says “this is not acceptable” and melts Marcus’s sword with a beam of light. Steve in Bear form tries to shove the conference table at him, but he dodges. Larry tries to pin him against the wall telekinetically, but he pushes back against against Larry, slamming him into the wall.

Marcus gets hit in the side of the head, thrown across the room unconscious. Steve the bear grabs the guys wounded arm and rips it off at the elbow. Smith kicked the old guy in the stomach, taking him out as a bright light rose up the stairwell.

Introduction to Gus

21 Jan 2012

Marcus used “speak with dead” to talk to the corpses that were buried under Larry’s bed in the Greenway Lair. They both remember being out at a bar when they met a tall compelling man that they decided to go back to his place with. The description doesn’t match Larry. I also couldn’t find anything in the surveillance logs, which is suspicious. Somehow someone deposited bodies in our lair without us knowing anything about it. We discussed what to do with the bodies. Eventually we settled on renting a van with a fake ID and hauling the bodies to the river.

Marcus figured out how to apply tattoos that will prevent possession by demons. He also found the sister of one of the victims of the Deja Vu massacre from way back when we first started as a team who has been investigating the real events that night. She’s driven to find out about demons. Marcus offered her a position as his apprentice, which she accepted. Eerily, she’s the woman that we met in the first adventure who got cut in half (go back and read the log from that adventure).

I managed to break in to BAE systems personnel files and other business files. There doesn’t seem to be any network connection into their research arm, I can’t even find a firewall to try to break in to.

Gus is home when he’s visited by Achbishop Neinstedt of St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese. The church got a request for an exorcism, the priest who went there called in about 6 hours ago and reported that he’s in over his head.

I got a call from Sloan. The Morningstar foundation is trying to maintain a good relationship with the Archdiocese. He got a request for help with an exorcism gone bad at the Savage Mansion on Lake Calhoun. Our top priority is to save Elizabeth and Donald, the kids of the family.

Gus arrived at the house, he knows where the hide-a-key is, so he heads in. He hears his sister call from the Great Room. When he gets there, first thing he sees is Donald on the floor across the room. The priest has been hung from the wall across from the windows, he’s been flayed alive. Elizabeth is drawing a runes in blood on the floor in the middle of the room. She says, “You are the champion, we’ve been looking for you for a long time.” Three large black dogs with red eyes and three hulking gray demons enter the room.

We arrive just as Gus flies out a window into the front yard. We all run in while a hummingbird flies in through the broken window to reconnoiter the area. I tried to warn the guys that it is an ambush, but it’s too late for Marcus, who ran in too impetuously and got cut off by the Demon Dogs lying in wait. He got badly mauled while missing the demon with his rune. Steve charged in at full speed, turning into a bear in mid stride, biting the neck of a demon dog and flinging it across the room, dead. It turns back to a young man in mid-flight.

Two of the big gray demons attacked Marcus, knocking him to the ground. Between the mauling that he took earlier, and the whacking from the big gray demon, he’s barely hanging on to consciousness. Gus ran in with two guns blazing and shot both of the gray demons beating on Marcus. Smith ran in and tried to shoot the bucket of blood, but missed.

Marcus managed to shake it off, reaching up from the ground and touching one of the gray demons with a rune. It poofs out of existence. My tank missed it’s shot. Gus shot both directions at once, shooting the dog that had attacked him and the gray demon. He shot the demon-dog in the back of the head, and it turned into a mid-twenties girl. Smith managed to shoot the bucket of blood with his shotgun, fountaining blood over half the room. Marcus stabbed a gray demon right in the chest, did a dramatic twirl twisting the blade in the demon’s chest. I sent the hummingbird right into the back of Elizabeth to taze her. It hit, but she didn’t go down (I may need to up the power of my tazers), instead she sent a wave of force at Smith, who did a dramatic bullet-time dodge. (Hmm, a guy named Smith who can dodge that fast) Gus ran in to punch Elizabeth in the face, but it barely seemed to register, even when Smith kicked her in the gut.

Marcus slashed the last shifter, opening a huge gash in its side. Larry the bear reached into that wound, ripping out the guts of the young woman left lying on the floor. Gus and Smith are fighting Elizabeth, pounding on her while she gives as good as she gets, but eventually she gets knocked to the ground by Steve the demon-dog. When I tried shooting her with a tranq dart, it seemed to curve around her. She yelled “Get away from me!” and sent a wave of force in all directions that everyone managed to stand against except Steve the dog. Gus elbow smashed her in the back. Marcus threw a tazer to Gus, who missed the catch. Smith ran over and pulled the curtains from the window. I sent another hummingbird in to taze her.

As Gus bent down to retrieve the Tazer from the ground, Elizabeth whacked him in the side of the head. He responds with the tazer. Smith tried to tackle her and tangle her in the curtain, but missed and managed to tangle himself in the curtain. Steve turned back to human form, pulled out his tazer, and took her out.

Marcus headed out to the van while the other guys are cleaning up the room. A stretch limo pulled up just as he’s getting to the van. Arthur Donovan gets out of the limo and says that he needs to talk to us right now. Marcus asked for healing, Arthur pulled a Harry Potter wand out and partially healed Marcus.

After loading the bodies in the van, everyone climbed into the limo with Donovan. There’s a woman in the limo, mid-fifties. I recognize her as Linda Hudson, CEO of BAE Industries. My head explodes. She tells us that she is part of the advance group of demons, but she doesn’t want the other demons to break out, because she likes her life here as it is. The keys to the lock holding back the demons are living people. There are four keys, and since each is a living thing, they have to decide of their own free will to open the lock. The keys were not quite compatible with human physiology, and they each created a different type of human hybrid creature: zombies, shifters, vampires. The fourth key created the Champion of the powers. The keys right now are Steve, Larry, and Gus. BAE has been experimenting with using human brains as processing by infecting them with the zombie virus. The only brain that hasn’t gone insane is Olivia, and she’s now the Zombie Key. Her brain is still functioning at the center of a complex computer system in BAE Systems. Linda Hudson wants us to prevent opening the door for the demons, and she’s willing to help us on the sly by giving us a thumb drive with plans for the BAE research facility in Wayzata. If she ever sees us again, she will do everything she can to kill us.

The guys take Elizabeth back to the lair, Gus pushes over his Harley to scratch it up and look like he was in an accident. He and Steve go to the hospital. Gus got treatment for his brother, while Steve walked into the blood lab (lead by me in the hospital’s network opening doors, etc). I printed the proper paperwork for him to transport 6 pints of blood out of the hospital to the printer in the blood lab. He walked out, showing the paperwork to a doctor who tried to stop him, then took a cab back to the Lair. We used the recordings from the previous time we did this ritual (guided by Itchy). At the height of the ritual, a red glow surrounded Marcus.

We called Morningstar and Gus called the Archbishop for advice on getting rid of the bodies. We decided to make a sign for “Greenway Cleaners” to put on a rental van, pull that up to the house and load them in. They took the bodies downriver from the Twin Cities to dumped them.

We all went to Dennys to talk about what we’ve learned and what happened. Gus decided to join us for now.

The next day, Susan the apprentice walks in for her daily Rune lesson and sees Gus. She briefly seems to recognize him, but apparently doesn’t.

Ghost Story

The city is still reeling from the terrible outbreak of “flu” in Eagan. It made national news. Larry got a call from Michael Graves to tell him that Nordling is in town to administer his punishment for dusting those vampires in the alley. He was taken to the basement of the Bloomington Ave house, chained to a wall opposite a bleeding man, and then turned on a sun lamp, causing him intense pain, but not strong enough to kill him.

Meanwhile, back at the Lair, Marge called to tell us that a 911 call saying “Tell Morningstar that Larry’s going to need help” came in, so Steve and Marcus took the van to Bloomington Ave in front of the house. After about 1/2 an hour, Nordling came in to make sure Larry understood what the fight is about. He said that if the demons break out of prison, all vampires would become mortal. There are keys, and . . .

Suddenly the Renfields with Nordling got black eyes and one of them dusted Nordling with a wooden stake. The Renfields let Larry go, one of them killed himself and the other ran upstairs yelling that Larry killed Nordling. Steve and Marcus (who know what’s going on because Larry was wearing a comm unit) ran into the house from the van, Marcus yelling “Demons!” while Steve is in bear form. Larry slammed the door shut and tried to blockade it to prevent the vampires coming down the stairs. Steve tore the air return vent from the wall and then turned into a ferret to scurry into the air ducts while Larry ripped the boards off the basement window and Marcus fended off the vampire and Renfields in the living room.

Marcus shoved his “Touch of Ra” into the vampire who just grabbed him and triggered it (think sunlight laser). Steve made it to the basement through the air ducts and shut the door behind the vampires and Renfields who piled in to the room that Larry just exited through the window. I had Big Dog outside the basement window shoot the Vampire attempting to climb out after Larry. In the big tangle of Vampire and Marcus in the living room, the demon-infested Renfield managed to shoot Freddie the vampire and dust it. Larry managed to tackle the Renfield with the automatic weapon, while Marcus tried to tackle the demon-infested one. The demon-infested Renfield suddenly killed himself and the black smoke rose through the ceiling. Larry managed to subdue the Renfield in the living room and zip tie his hands.

Larry tried calling Michael Graves, who is now locked in the basement with all of the other vampires and Renfields. They are convinced that Larry is heretical and evil. I guess they won’t be helping us any time soon.

We went to Denny’s to recuperate.

A couple of days later, Steve is running an errand when a young woman, Margery Williams, came to the office. She works at the Wabasha caves and is convinced that the caves are haunted. Margery has seen a scruffy man in a overalls who appears out of nowhere, tells her to “go away” then disappears. Some of her co-workers have seen a girl who says “make it stop.” She told her pastor at CROS, who suggested that she see us. Also, a security guard was found dead. According to police reports, he was hanging from a hook in the ceiling with his throat cut and ritualistic drawings in the blood on the floor.

The team headed to the caves after hours. They checked around and found the delivery entrance. The door is set into the natural sandstone walls, so there are imperfections that the guys are able to enlarge big enough to send the Steve the ferret into. When they pull the van into the cave and get out, Larry and Steve both smell fresh blood. They found a natural cave with police tape around it. In the middle is hanging Margery upside down with her throat cut. Marcus took out his camera to take pictures of the runes on the floor when suddenly a middle-aged man in dirty dungarees appeared and yelled “you don’t belong here! Get out!” and pushed at them with apparent telekinetic force.

I called Det. Fredericks, but he’s apparently had a psychotic break or nervous breakdown and is on medical leave. His nurse won’t let me talk to him, and when I told her it was Dodger she hung up on me. I ended up calling 911
(apparently from a phone booth) and reporting the murder.

A sixteen year old girl in an old-fashioned nightshirt appeared to Marcus and pleaded “make it stop.” Marcus fired questions at her, but she didn’t respond. Steve smelled ozone. The guys decide to leave before the cops arrive until tomorrow when they can come back with more arcane detection gear.

Meanwhile, I did some research. Quinten Foster, a 1940s maintenance worker at the Wabasha Caves was a Satanist who beat two men to death with a fire poker after hanging a woman from her heels and draining her blood out. The police killed him on the spot. The young woman was Eleanor Emerson, and the two men were Emory and Frederick Hastings. Quinten was buried in an unmarked grave in the courthouse yard. The graves in that yard were later moved to Emmanual Cemetery in Inver Grove Heights. Eleanor and the brothers were buried in the Riverview Cemetery.

That night, we went back to the caves. There are police in a van staking out the front doors. As we were talking about what to do, the police in the van burst out and ran into the caves. Someone on the inside had called for backup. Marcus, Steve, and Larry in dog form rush in after them. They are freaking out the cops by bickering about how to help, when Eleanor appears and says “Make it stop!” The cops freak out and shoot right through Eleanor. Quinten appeared, yelled “get out!” and knocked Marcus and one of the cops across the room. The cop was knocked out. The other two cops start dragging the knocked out one out and made Marcus and Larry go with them. Marcus and Larry gave the cops an incredible amount of crap while not actually resisting arrest. Marcus dropped a darkness rune and he and Steve scarpered.

Marcus talked to the last living relatives of the two brothers and of Eleanor. They also went to Riverview Cemetery and found nothing unusual. They then went to Emmanuel Cemetery and checked out the unmarked graves. Nothing unusual there.

Apparently, the way to get rid of ghosts is to salt their bones and then burn them. So that night, Larry, Steve, and Marcus go out to Riverview Cemetery to get rid of those ghosts.

Meanwhile, back at the Lair, three black vans pull up and out jumps a bunch of men, the power armor that attacked me in the past, and a bunch of hummingbird drones. I tasked Itchy with glitching the power armor if it made it to the main room of the lair. When he yelled that he needs blood, I told him that he could get blood from the men upstairs. I then went into the vault/panic room and locked myself in. There were lots of screams, terrible rending noises, etc.

When the guys got back, they found the elevator completely torn apart, Mary sobbing in the cage, and me still safe in the vault. Itchy is worn out and needs rest.

Steve and I went back to the Greenway Lair. Steve showed me that there are two bodies buried in Larry’s underground chamber there. We called Marcus, who will try to speak with dead to find out what happened to them.

Submitted by Dodger.

PS: Overall, I think that “they” are out to get me. It’s not paranoia if you’ve been targeted 3 times by nasty black helicopter types and spooky power armor.

Zombies are popular now, too.


Mr. Smith from the Home office came to check up on us. He warned us about a zombie outbreak in Eagan.

He told us some background about zombies. They are dead and magically animated by a virus. If you get bitten, you could get infected. If you are infected, you get flu-like symptoms that are very contagious and if you die you will become a zombie. Apparently, there was a big outbreak in Cleveland in the 60s. There are also zombie masters who are hard to tell apart from normal people.

Larry, Steve, Marcus, and Smith piled in the van to make a Home Depot run. They got a chainsaw, axes, a propane torch, respirator masks and plastic body suits. At Walmart they bought shotguns, 2 gas cans, mason jars rags, and gas. I investigated while they shopped: a police call came in that someone was trying to break into the house, when the cops arrived two of them were eaten and the third is hiding out in his car. While the guys were driving down 35E, more cops arrived and killed one of the zombies, but there are now 4 cops down and another 2 in their cars and 2 active zombies. The cops are mobilizing the SWAT team.

The guys pull up and Marcus and Steve jump out of the car in their plastic painter’s gear with respirators on, Larry is in his full-sun protection outfit with a chainsaw, and Smith relaxes against the side of the van. Marcus immediately slices the head off a 13-year-old boy (who happens to be a zombie) and nonchalantly flicks the blood from the end of his sword. Larry engages a middle-aged woman with his chainsaw and takes off her arm. Steve blew her head off with a shotgun, splattering blood everywhere over the cop cars.

Smith convinced the cops to get out of the car. Marcus told them we are from the CDC. We called Sloan, who this once actually answered the phone when I called. He said that the real CDC is on the way, they are clued in and will take care of it when they get here.

The zombies were from the house across the street, a mom and two kids. The father of the family is Glen Redfern, a senior researcher at BAE systems. Marcus, Larry and Steve went to investigate the house across the street. The house is a little messy and obviously was where people were ill. I broke into the BAE payroll systems and found out that Glen had called in sick for two days, but returned today.

While checking the other houses on the block, Marcus found out that there are several people sick in the neighborhood who have fallen ill since the Thanksgiving Fair. In one particular house, he found that the mom has been sick for a day.

Glen Redfern arrived, asking about his family. When I used an IR lens, I realized that he’s ambient temperature. Smith totally screwed up when trying to calm him down and he freaked out. He suddenly raised his arms above his head and the team heard screams from several houses. Suddenly zombies started coming from houses all around the neighborhood. Steve and Larry were canvassing the neighborhood and are several houses away. They start running back to the van to get shotguns while I fire up Big Dog.

After a short, confused Meelee, Redfern ran down the block to join 5 zombies while a zombie each take on Smith and Marcus. 7 more zombies are incoming, and I can see probably 20 more in the neighborhood. There are a bunch coming into the 4 block area that the SWAT team cordoned off.

Sloan called to yell about alarms going off everywhere. There are now at least 30 zombies moving in. I had Big Dog jump onto Redfern, put his shotgun to Redfern’s head and fire while the rest of the crew jumped into the van and started making molotov cocktails.

I hacked On Star and opened a nearby SUV for the two cops to take refuge. Marcus drove right over Redfern, who is growing back his head, while Smith dumped gas through the floor hatch on him, then hit it with the propane torch. The zombies are now all in a group and are working together to try to knock over the van. When Redfern goes up in flames, the zombies all piled on him and put the flames out with their bodies. Larry made molotov cocktails and handed them to Steve who threw them on the big pile of zombies around Redfern. Eventually, the giant hog-pile of zombies burned up.

An hour later, the CDC and National Guard arrived. They put everyone in quarantine, tested them all for the virus, and confiscated all our stuff. The guys were stuck in quarantine for 3 days. David, the head of the CROS church in White Bear Lake, showed up and tried to sow discord by talking to Steve.

A bigger Picture

2 weeks have passed. We investigated the Vampire house from several weeks ago. The house has been sold recently at a loss. We investigated the owner, called him on his mobile phone, and found out that he seems to be someplace in Minneapolis.

Marge from the 911 center called. There’s a gang breaking into a house at Broadway and 26th. They are wearing “monster costumes.” When we get there, it appears to be a battle between 4 guys with automatic weapons in the house and 5 vampires with their game faces on fighting 2 humans and a bunch of demons in the yard. There are some cops hiding out in their cars. The humans fighting the vampires seem to be super-human, with some kind of TK ability. We decided to watch the action. At first, the vampires seem to be losing, one of them gets dusted, while two of the renfields are taken out. But then one of the humans gets sucked dry and the other takes several shots to the head. The demons seemed to lose the will to fight when the humans go down. At the end, there’s two vampires and one renfield alive and the last demon goes lumbering, injured, down the street. We follow the demon while leaving surveillance on the house.

The demon goes into an empty house, ripping the door right off. Larry, Steve, and Marcus followed the demon into the house, following the trail of ichor drops that it has left on the floor. When Larry followed it into another room, he didn’t notice it lurking against the wall next to the door. The demon whacked him on the head with it’s great gray ham-fist. Steve the dog slithered in and took a bite out of demon while Larry recovered from getting whacked and Marcus covered the door. It went down with one bite.

Meanwhile, the vampires and renfields efficiently cleaned up the bodies and took them into the house. They started boarding up the windows on the house. Marcus, Steve, and Larry recovered the demonic body from the house that it had fled to, took it back to the vampire house, and tried to give it to them as a “housewarming gift”. Majorca, an eastern European vampire babe that Larry recognized from NY, invited them in and had the body taken away. Apparently, big things are happening in Minneapolis, and Nordling wants a Vampire presence in the area to fight the demons. She delivered an ultimatum to Larry because he was involved in the deaths of two vampires several weeks earlier: “Either leave Minneapolis forever, or apologize and submit to punishment and resume a leadership role in the vampiric hierarchy.” Larry chose to take his punishment.

Michael Graves, Majorca’s “protector” gives us his phone number, so we can stay in contact with the vampires.

Det. Fredericks showed up and asked a bunch of questions about demons. He grilled Marcus about how demons are banished and detected. We showed him some video of fights with demons. Itchy was going nuts in the vault, so I brought him out into the room. He told us that Fredericks was a demon just as Fredericks got into the elevator. I locked him in the elevator while Marcus went upstairs and sent Mary (the receptionist) home and closed the blinds. Fredericks tore through the top of the elevator and started prying open the doors to the lobby. Marcus stabbed through the gap with his katana, but Fredericks was floating in the air across the shaft using some kind of telekinetic power to pry open the doors. His eyes were completely black. After fighting Marcus and Steve (in bear form) for a while, he was doing some serious damage to the two of them. Finally, Marcus used a flash-bang rune that knocked out both demon-Fredericks and himself. Steve zip-tied Fredericks and started carrying him down the stairs, when he woke up and started shooting blasts of telekinetic force while also floating up and away from Steve. As Steve was dragged along on tip-toes, being somehow not affected by the blasts from the demon-Fredericks, Marcus bonked him on the head and Larry leapt up to grapple with him.

All the broken glass in the room began flying around and trying to embed in people. Steve and Larry were getting pretty beaten up when Marcus finally hit him with a tazer and knocked him out. We dragged him downstairs and tossed him into the magic circle. Steve talked to the police and told them about the bomb threat and explosion and the fire investigators looked at crack patterns, scorch marks, etc.

Itchy would only tell us the ritual for banishing the demon if one of us became his official owner. I volunteered. There were several hours of boring mumbo jumbo that included drawing 3 pints of blood from me and Marcus. yuck.

The police and investigators were insisting on getting down the stairs and elevator. Steve called headquarters and talked to Jennifer. They climbed down the elevator shaft and spent time speculating about the blown up roof of the elevator until they got a call telling them to back off.

I made a deal with Itchy that he’d tell us how to keep from getting possessed and in return I would let him out of his ball at least once every two weeks. The first task that I gave him was to nurse Det. Fredericks back to health. He disappeared from the ball, and a red nimbus whisked Fredericks upstairs to my apartment.

The next day, Fredericks woke up. He says he remembers everything and wants to go home.

Elias Cooper showed up. I wouldn’t let him into our lair, so I called Marcus to come and deal with him. Marcus told him to get lost. Elias said that the demons want to destroy all magic. He said that all magic is a side-effect of the wards keeping the demons in their plane. If the demons win, all magic will stop working. He claims that the “angels” and “demons” had a war, the angels won and trapped the demons using super-powerful wards. Marcus told him to get lost, that he doesn’t trust Elias. Elias gave a cryptic warning before leaving.

Just after dark Arthur Donovan and some dude who looks just like Fonzi shows up, he’s Leroy Gillman, a representative of the Mages of the Americas. Arthur will be staying in my apartment for the next two weeks while teaching Marcus magic and learning about runes.

High School Sucks

Marcus refuses to leave the Lair, so we set up an air mattress in a vault for him. A week passes wherein we are resting, recuperating, and installing security for our apartments upstairs.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts calls for Marcus and wants to know when he’s coming back to work. Marcus buys a cow on the internet, then drains it of life force to heal himself. He took the carcass to a rendering plant in South St. Paul.

Several days pass when I got a message from Olivia saying that Coreman is out of control.

Det. Fredericks shows up, he asks us a series of questions relating to what our deal is. After talking, we agree that we can probably work together, and he has a job for us.

Miss Margaret Jones, High School English teacher from Coon Rapids HS is a 50-ish woman. There have been three deaths of cheerleaders, all apparently accidental. First one choked to death, second one caught on fire in the girl’s bathroom, third one fell down the stairs.

We agreed to meet the next morning. I extracted the video recordings from the times of the accidents along with the accident reports and other police reports. I found a police report from 2 weeks ago about a fight on the football field after hours that resulted in multiple
broken ribs and a concussion even though all of the witnesses swore that there was only a shove.

At 7am, Marcus and Steve went to the school and Det. Fredericks introduced them to the Principal, who showed them the scenes of death. We asked to talk to the witnesses and other cheerleaders. We talked to Jeffreys, the maintenance engineer, who showed us the basement. His bunions mysteriously cleared up three weeks ago. He is able to lift a whole stack of chairs that are way too heavy for one guy without even thinking about it.

(We decided that we should get business cards printed. I start setting up Greenway Consulting Group, LLC. Get it registered with the state and order business cards with a phone number and email account.)

Carol (first victim), was dating Kevin, the QB Lisa (second victim) was dating a wrestler Mary (third victim) was dating Jeff, on the football team, but they might have broken up before the accident.

Eliza, was the last girl in the bathroom. I started digging in to her home life, cross referencing the logs from Comcast with the Google search history for the IP addresses that have been assigned to her house. I found that someone in her house did searches for summoning

I dug into the lives and Internet habits of Kevin the QB and Jeffreys the janitor. Nothing unusual.

As Marcus and Steve are driving away from the High School, a dark shadow flits into the front of the van. Suddenly the brakes don’t work and it feels like the wheel is trying to wrest itself from his Marcus’s hands. Marcus manages to keep control and downshift to start to slow down, but then the wheel suddenly turns the other direction, flipping the van onto it’s side and sliding into the shoulder. Marcus had slowed the van down enough so that it didn’t run into anything.

After dealing with the police, Marcus and Steve have the van towed back to the Greenway Lair and rent a minivan to continue the investigation.

When we approached Eliza’s family house, Marcus got a detect magic hit from the house. Steve changed into a bird to fly up on the roof, but instead of his normal raptor appearance, he looks like a large raven with red eyes. He carried a spider drone on to the roof. Eliza is in
her room surfing the Internet.

I started digging into the family more: Eliza’s dad: executive at pharmaceutical company. He’s out of town a lot. Eliza’s mom (Lisa Montgomery): former beauty queen. volunteers a lot (PTA, football boosters, etc.)

I created a chatbot loaded with a linguistic analysis of Emo chat and hooked it up to a fake Facebook profile. I set it to befriend Eliza.

The spider drone snuck in after Eliza went to bed, but as it was sneaking down the hall, the bedroom door opened and Mom screamed and called the dad. I had the spider hide in the linen closet between towels and wait for them to go back to sleep. As the dad was getting
ready to go back to bed, the mom said “check the linen closet” in a very sure voice. Then “look in the towels.” When the spider tried to run up the wall, I lost contact.

The next day, we watched the house until everyone finally left after lunch. Steve in Raven form and one of the spider drones went in through the upstairs window that was open a bit, went down and let Marcus in, and discovered that the basement door was locked.

Steve shifted into dog form and found that this too was larger, black, and with red eyes.

The spider and Steve the dog went down into the basement. As soon as we got to the bottom of the stairs, we saw all of the family room furniture shoved to the walls and a white magic circle in the middle of the floor. Four shadows suddenly appeared flitting around the basement. I
immediately sent the spider drone into the drop ceiling and Steve tried to run up the stairs. Steve tripped over his feet and fell on the floor. The spider managed to escape, but a battering ram shadow hit Steve.

Lisa Montgomery drove back up to the house. She walked into the house surrounded by shifting shadows. She immediately splayed her fingers out and clouds of shadows sprang from her hands. Shadows pummeled all of us, including Big Dog. Marcus threw a stun rune, Steve tried to
tackle her, and I sent a hummingbird drone in to try and taser her. Steve missed, but the wave of blue rays from the stun rune caught both Lisa and Steve at the same moment that the hummingbird hit her. She and Steve go down.

Marcus headed towards her to tie her up, but the door to the basement suddenly flew open, then she rose from the ground and flew down the stairs at running speed. Marcus managed to hit her with a taser hit right to the base of the neck, but she continued down and into the summoning circle. She stood, opened her eyes, and said “I have them. They won’t let you stop me!” We don’t think that Lisa is actually in control of the situation. Maybe there’s something else going on here. . .

Big Dog shot at her with a shotgun blast. The pellets stopped about 3 feet from her and fell to the floor. Meanwhile, both Marcus and Big Dog have been taking a beating from increasingly solid shadows. Marcus managed to leap over the shadows coming at him, and dove at the
magic circle. His sword just nicked the magic circle, breaking it. There’s a great release of energy. The shadows circle faster and faster as Lisa looks confused. Just as they impact with her, they become the black, bald-headed demons that we’ve seen before. They said something in demonic just before they swirled into a tight black ball of blackness that is hard to look at. Then they poofed into nothing, taking Lisa with them.

Marcus started scraping the magic circle off the floor. Steve found a power sander in the garage and they sanded the magic circle out of the floor. Steve says, “Finally we renovate a basement.” We recovered all of our equipment and whatnot, then did our best to disappear.

Marcus did some research and managed to translate Dodger’s recording of what the demons said before they poofed. It was something like “We were hoping for your daughter too, but you still might have one in you.”

Over the next few days, a missing persons report on Lisa is filed. We found out that Lisa had recently converted to CROS. We told Det. Fredericks what happened, but it’s not like he can put “poofed into nothing by demons” in an official report.

Past Chasing You


Three days have passed. Det. Fredericks and Marcus are still in the
hospital. We told the emergency room doctor that a “big black dog”
attacked us, so now a media alert has gone out for such a dog. Also
in the news is that a massacre took place at the “Church of the Return
of Our Savior” or “CROS” in White Bear Lake. David the Progenitor has
been on the news proselytizing.

The rest of us are back at the Greenway Lair resting, recuperating,
and upgrading. We are installing servers, security system,
surveillance cameras, and living space. As soon as I started getting
my equipment set up at the Greenway Lair, we got a video call from
Sloan. He demanded that we sell at least one of the properties and
he’ll let us keep the other place. We agreed to move back to the main
office in the Warehouse district and sell the Richfield Lair.

After 3 days, we are going to visit Marcus and Fredericks at HCMC. My
surveillance picked up someone dressed all in black on the roof near
the hospital taking pictures with a long lens. Steve went to
reconnoiter the man in black as a bird without leaving his clothing
behind. It’s Karl the Vampire Hunter, and he’s packing up shop and
heading out. We had a good visit with Marcus.

Next day about noon we got a call from Marge at the 911 center.
Someone noticed lots of people going into a house and not coming out.
They peeked in a basement window and saw a bunch of coffins guarded by
armed men. Steve went to investigate and through a window saw an
unkempt bedroom with a shoulder holster hanging from a chair. There’s
a big SUV registered to Arthur Jones from W. Texas parked in the back.

While we were screwing up the secret surveillance (4 year old seeing
my drop off a spider and the bad guys shooting it). An alarm comes
from the Greenway Lair. Someone is climbing over the fence. It’s
Karl again. He broke into the Lair. I called over the video
conferencing equipment to talk to him and he revealed that he’s the
one who called 911 and that he has to find out if Larry is “The One.”
Steve managed to get back while Karl was opening the last door into
Larry’s sleeping bunker. Steve and Karl fought, with Karl getting the
better of Larry in human form. Steve turned into a bear, and Karl
used a rope from his utility belt to wrap around Steve’s neck and
almost choked the life from him, knocking him out. I hit him with a
tazer from a hummingbird drone, but it didn’t take him down. He leapt
down the whole and closed the trap-door behind him. Larry and Karl
fought until Karl dropped a flash-bang grenade that apparently shone
with sunlight and blinded Larry. Karl and Larry rolled around on the
floor for a while until Larry knocked Karl out. He then drained Karl completely of blood, killing him.

We had a long conversation about Larry going overboard and killing
Karl. I am freaked out and refuse to be alone with Larry. Steve and
Larry looted Karl’s body. I researched him and got a potential hit
from a 1992 assault arrest. His mom died when he was 10, in 1987,
from causes unknown. After that he’s got a sealed juvenile record for
fights, getting kicked out of school, etc.

About 11 pm, Marcus is resting in a morphine haze when he sees
movement outside the window. He watches for a while, and sees an
articulated finger-like appendage that is scratching a circle in the
window. Marcus called a nurse, and when she came in with an orderly,
it took Marcus a few minutes to realize that the orderly is Roger
Hart! Marcus set off a rune of roiling, smoke-like darkness. He
staggered out and called “fire,” creating a lot of confusion. He made
it down to the lawn before Roger and another “orderly” started moving

Larry and Steve arrived to protect Marcus and I started taking the van
over to pick them up. As soon as the garage door opened, a grenade
sailed into the garage and went off, disabling all non-shielded
electronics at the same moment that bright lights came on around the
yard. I’m screwed.

Larry picked up Marcus and started carrying him at running speed back
to our Lair with Roger and the other “orderly” chasing him. As I turn
around in the van to power up my robots, someone broke a window and
tossed a grenade into the van. I managed to scoop up the grenade and
toss it back out the broken window. There is much coughing and
cursing in the garage. As I boot the robots and smoke starts seeping
into the van, I hear a strange cackling, chuckling sound. I got Big
Dog booted up, and managed to climb on his back. I opened the back
door of the van, jumped out, and ran away down the Greenway riding Big
Dog. The cackling sound is coming from a Raytheon Exoskeleton with a
strange sphere in the torso. It took a swing at me, but missed, and
chased me down the Greenway.

While I’m hanging on to Big Dog for dear life running down the
Greenway toward St. Paul, Steve is in Hawk form above me, diving at a
dragonfly that’s trailing me and presumably leading the Exoskeleton.
Meanwhile, Larry and Marcus managed to lose the “orderlies” and
arrived at the scene to see the place abandoned with the back doors of
the van hanging open and smoke wafting out.

I managed to hang on to Big Dog as it ran through traffic and over the
Sabo Bridge. Steve finally spotted the dragonfly that was chasing me,
dove on it and killed it. I rode on into the night, unable to control
where I’m going without any of my equipment.

Marcus called Sloan and asked for help. Sloan told him to get back to
the Warehouse District Lair and wait for medical attention. As Larry
locked up the Greenway Lair, the lights came on, two dragonflies came
into view, the two “orderlies” appeared at the gate, and the
Exoskeleton clumped up the Greenway. Larry picked Marcus up, ran
around and into the van and crashed out of the yard, being shot at by
the “orderlies.” They come and pick up me and Big Dog after I
disabled it to stop it running. Back in my wheelchair with my
interface computer, goggles, and control gloves working, I don’t think
I’ll be leaving the lair again.

The old familiar lair in the Warehouse district is looking worse for
wear: there are bullet holes in the walls, a smudged magic circle on
the wall, dried blood, and fine gray powder everywhere. Marcus tries
to call Elias to come and heal him, but can’t get in contact.
Eventually Dr. Laura arrives to help. She puts a monitor on him and
tells him if it goes off he should take the antibiotics that she gave
him. We all settled down to catch our breath.

Moving out

Larry distrusted the Morningstar people, and doesn’t like to hang with humans anyway, so he has been absent for several days. As he’s walking through NE, he hears a muffled scream from a dark alleyway between apartment buildings. There are three college girls, two of which are down on the ground and the third is being assaulted by vampires. One of the vampires recognizes Larry. From the discussion, we learned that they are on some kind of mission here. Larry has been assigned to this area by “Nordling,” but hasn’t done anything with it. Steve rolled up on his Vespa of Doom to save the day . . . beep beep!

As the vampires are distracted by Steve and his Vespa of Doom, a figure sneaks up and stakes Kevin the Vamp through the back, but misses vital organs. Karl the Vampire Hunter also manages to fling a cool shiny dagger at Joe the Vamp and kill him, but Kevin was able to grab Karl after some “interaction” with Steve the bear. Frenchy and Larry go at it: there’s kicking, stabbing, strangling, biting and other unpleasantness that should not be named. Steve the bear gives Kevin a good whack, letting Karl escape. In the end, Kevin ran away followed by Karl, Joe and Frenchy were dusted.

Marcus sums up: He’s wanted for murder, someone is trying to kidnap me, the NY vamp ganstas are after Larry, and Steve might be a demon-lover. We need someplace to hole up. We ended up at Larry’s bachelor pad above Minneapolis Casket Co.

Elaine (the shifter) showed up and knocked on the door at the original Lair.

I got an email from Olivia telling me “They are doing it to Coreman. I think he’s insane. They are sending him after Marcus. Be careful.”

We bought a van of the same make and model as Betsy. We switched license plates and vin numbers, then Steve took the generic van to park around the corner from our Lair. Arthur Donovan, the dapper British guy, approached Steve on the street and asked him if he was an acquaintance of Marcus. When asked about Elias Cooper, he said that we are in a great deal of danger. Instead of giving Steve a business card, he gave him a ruby worth a lot of money and says that we can contact him through it. Steve buried the ruby in the park before heading to Larry’s Pad in a roundabout fashion.

The cops showed up to search our Lair and the bait van that we left for them. When a tech touched the magic circle on the wall that Elias drew, it went off and knocked out the video feed. We heard lots of gunfire and screaming before we lost the feed. I sent a copter to watch the building. There was much mayhem, blood, bandaging, etc. The CSI tech who touched the circle is not among those in the parking lot. There is a Missing Persons report out for the Charlie, the CSI tech.

We rented a couple of new safehouses / lairs: One on the greenway, 7000 square feet near Nicollet and Lake with space suitable for a body shop that we can drive the van into. Another 3000 sqft space with multiple garage doors and a yard with privacy fence on Penn Ave just south of the Crosstown. I ordered equipment and materials and charged them to the Morningstar foundation.

Sloan told us that Elias Cooper is from the American Council and hates the Europeans (represented by Arthur Donovan). Marcus met with Arthur Donovan and learned that Elias has been kicked out of the American Council. He’s apparently a Bad Seed. The Europeans would like to study the scrolls and are willing to teach Marcus basic magic stuff. We printed a copy of the demon banishing scroll for them.

Apparently, the Europeans have a rule about not “interfering” with normals, while the Americans think that it’s okay to use their powers to influence mundane events. There was a magic war.

Sloan called and told us to talk to Det. Fredericks. We called him and arranged a meet at Joe’s Garage next to Loring Park. I stayed in the van and blanketed the area with surveillance, Larry and Marcus met up with Fredericks on the patio. Marcus went in to the police station, gave a statement that we were attacked, he fended the attackers off with his sword, and was shot in the chest. Fredericks threw him in a holding cell for the night. He let Marcus go the next morning.

Meanwhile, Steve went to have coffee with Elaine, the shapeshifter. He went back to the shifter house with her and met up with a “Progenitor.” Steve spoke to David, a charming, smooth demon: They just want to come back to Earth and live in peace and harmony like they did before the big war with another outsider race that we might recognize as “angels.” They need blood for their rituals, but they just want to live in peace and harmony forever and ever. Steve decided to stay at the house, they locked him in the bedroom.

Larry and I spent the night at the Greenway Lair.

There is Thyme in the breakfast that they give to Steve. Apparently he loses the ability to shapeshift if he eats Thyme. They show Steve a bunch of pro-Demon, anti-Angel propaganda. They are trying to brainwash him into the cult. Steve agrees to stay a couple more days, and tries to eat around the contaminated steak at dinner. After they lock him in his room again, he tries to shift but can’t quite.

After dark, Larry and Marcus headed in to the house. About 1/4 mile out, they ran into an oversized wolf shifter that didn’t show up on IR. It howled while Marcus and Larry discussed how they were going to prevent it reporting back. Larry kicked it in the head, and Marcus decapitated it. It turned into a 23 year old male human.

When they got to the house, Larry climbed up and pulled the barred windows out of the bedroom wall to let Steve out. As soon as they got back to the ground, 6 people ran out of the house and turned into giant wolf-things. At that moment, a pink ball of fire appeared near us and Det. Fredericks fell out of it cursing. Marcus was badly bitten twice. He was in trouble. Larry killed two with a knife through the base of the skull, Steve broke the neck of an attractive young woman, Marcus gutted another, Fredericks killed Elaine with a bullet to the head, my tank shot the last one in the head.

I called 911 to get medical attention for the badly bleeding Marcus and Fredericks. I started the house on fire as the guys started pitching bodies into the house.



Marcus has a gunshot wound to the chest, and still has a bullet in there. If he goes to the hospital there would be awkward questions. He called headquarters and eventually got a grouchy middle-aged woman named Jennifer who set us up with Dr. Laura, a 60ish ER doc at HCMC. She removed the bullet on our conference table.

I set up an elaborate Skype call to Heartland Investigations and asked for William Mitchell. I broke in to the less-secure systems of Heartland Investigations. They have lots of government contracts. Their parent organization, BAE systems, gets lots of black contracts. I got a call from the city of Mpls 911 system. Marge, a 25 year old butch woman with a tattoo on her left cheek. She told me that a call came in that there is a “monster” living in South Minneapolis at about 45th and Chicago near St. Mary’s Cemetary.

Marcus told the homeowner that he was from a Home Value Interiors and that this home won a $5,000 basement makeover. Steve smelled something bad. I sent a spider drone into the basement and found several dead bodies with a middle-aged woman cutting them up and occasionally taking a bite. They are storing dismembered body parts in a cupbord, not even refrigerating them. An 8 year-old in a frilly pale blue dress is picking pieces of dead body and eating them. From their public records, they are just regular citizens.

We set up a surveillance net. A couple of copters in the air, the spider in the basement for a couple of hours. The “mother and daughter” talk to each other as if they are peers. After dark the “father” went across the street into the graveyard with a shovel. Steve followed in bird form, I followed with a quadricopter, Marcus followed in Marcus form. He started digging up a recent grave. He’s clearly a strong guy with amazing stamina, he’s digging up that grave at amazing speed.

Marcus walked up and said, “Hi, I’d like to help you with your basement.” He told the guy that we know what’s in the basement and the guy shifted into a creature with pointed ears, gray skin, yellow eyes, big teeth, and claws. He let out a loud screech, like a siren, leaped with inhuman speed at Marcus. Marcus dodged out of the way in bullet time and tried to banish it. Nothing happened. I shot it in the head with my tank and took it out.

The other two, called by the siren screech, charged toward us at freight train speed. Steve, in bear form, grappled with the “girl”, really the one with the remains of frilly blue fabric while Marcus and I engaged the other at range. Steve the bear crunched the head of the one that he was engaging while Marcus took the legs off the other with his sword. A phalanx of drones, including several dragonflies, a couple of tanks similar to mine, and a Raytheon Exoskeleton filled with electronics appeared and started charging toward us.

We ran. The remaining ghoul spent some time apparently mourning the other two, then regenerated before going back to the house, turning into human form, and driving off. On reviewing the footage, I saw an old pickup truck belonging to one Elias Cooper from Southern MN stopped at the house immediately after we left. He appeared at The Lair and demanded to talk to Marcus. He says that he’s a representative of the Magic Council and wants to know about Marcus’s demon banishing rune.

We learned that Marcus and his mentor were on an archeological dig when they found two scrolls. One was about rune magic, the other was about summoning demons. Marcus studied the rune scroll, while his mentor studied the demon scroll. His mentor summoned a demon, which killed him mentor. Marcus was able to banish the demon and then covered up the death by starting the building on fire. He took images of both scrolls and then put them in a safe deposit box.

Elias wants both the knowledge on the scroll, and the actual physical scroll. He claims that the scroll itself can give people thaumaturgical powers. Marcus made a deal with Elias to trade an image of the scroll for magical basic training.

The cops showed up and started searching the parking lot. They have a warrant for the arrest of Marcus Anthony for murder of David Corman, a private investigator in the employ of Heartland Investigations.

There was much consternation and discussion. Steve went down and talked to them as a “District Manager” of Morningstar Foundation. He talked to the investigating Detective, Fredericks. He told them that Marcus hasn’t worked at Morningstar for over a week. Someone at a high level has gone over the heads of our contacts in the police department.

Sloan, our boss, has had an aneurysm over the fact that we’ve pissed off someone with power and that we have a prisoner from Heartland Investigations in our basement. He said that we have to keep them out of our basement for 24 hours.

I set up intelligence from a “black site” from the CIA that there is a dirty bomb at the Mall of America. I then set up a chain of communication through the Dept of Homeland Security for that intelligence, and set it off so that all of the law enforcement assets of the Twin Cities went to full alert. That was a good distraction. Marcus used a darkness spell to run past the cop guarding the crime scene.

olivia@gmail.com sent me an email: “What am I?”

A dark-haired man in an immaculate suit walked up and talked briefly to the cop, walked in and said in an English accent “I’m representing the Council of Mages.”


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