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.
firstname.lastname@example.org 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.”