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From the swamp it came....

Who: Delia, ot Spike, Angelus, etc.
Where: New Orleans
When: night time, some time after Mardi Gras

Delia's small bare feet squished through the muddy swampland without a sound. The song of the night, the creatures and the creaking of pines in the breeze, went on undisturbed by her presence as she walked the familiar way to Jones's place. She had a special charm with her, ensure a good breeding season for the gators - a small sack of something that smelled distinctly of blood, lard, and spices. She'd bury it under the bent tree on the north edge of his farm so it'd have plenty of time to work into the earth before spring proper 'came round.

She was nearly there, passing by and through the trees in that peculiar way of shortening she had, when she saw the glimmer of metal in a wrong place. No shiny metal should be here - was too far on to be the ruins of the old rum runner's shack, too close to be Jones's truck or one of his out buildings. Still it glimmered in the moonlight like a beacon, one that caused her to pause and slow her walking, one that gathered her thoughts from travel to prescience and made her aware that all was not as it should be in the swamp.

Humming softly under her breath, the sound like wind through the trees, she started moving closer... and closer still... moving through the shadows as if she was made of shadow herself. Through trees and bushes and bulrushes she moved until she found herself staring up at the massive unnatural thing - a door - glass windows, clearly a vehicle of some sort - but what sort was it? Bigger than Jones's truck, and no flat bed - four tires, so not a boat of any kind, despite the streamlined look.

Cautiously, she lay a bare muddy foot up on the tire, reached for the side mirror to haul herself up... and pressed her face to the glass to peer inside.

And We Learned Fast / To Travel Light...

Who: Marcus McGovern and Erik Van Haus [closed]
Where: New York City Streets.
When: A few weeks ago, Evening
What: Divine Intervention.

He had been in the country for almost a month now...Collapse )

Who: Marcus McGovern and Erik Van Haus [closed]
Where: Essex Mountain Sanatorium Grounds
When: A few weeks shorter than ago, Afternoon
What: Divine Designs.

Essex Mountain Sanatorium stood silent atop the hill overlooking Verona...Collapse )

A day in the life

Who: Open to all who live at and know about the wolf sanctuary
When: Tuesday afternoon
Where: Essex Mountain Sanatorium grounds and buildings
What: Making the world a better place

The pit was eleven feet deep, tall enough for the average person to stay right where the wolves wanted them until it could be determined if they were an invader, or just someone who took a wrong step. There were dozens of these traps all over the two-hundred acres of land, mostly around the perimiter. It would seem easy enough for a pack of wolves to stumble onto these pits, disguised oh so well by the magical skills of the resident mage, but the fall was really the only damage. There were no spikes at the bottom, just a long drop that any werewolf could survive without a problem. On top of that, there was a certain plant growing over each of these traps, a flower that emitted a scent that the wolves did not care for.

Marcus stood at the bottom of one of these pits, feeling along the wall to ensure that it was smooth and well packed so that no one could climb out. In other situations, the worry that the quarry would escape before anyone knew they were there was far from anyone's mind. There were creatures living in the soil who would alert the wolves if any of these traps were triggered. Quite handy.

This was not their only line of defense. The wolves themselves were formiddable, and there were other magical creatures living on these grounds, not to mention a few more booby traps scattered around the various abandoned buildings. It was not perfect, and it wouldn't save them from a full on brute attack, but it was better than nothing. Last defense: tunnels that they were currently excavating and reconstructing.

Friendly voices called overhead and he looked up, shielding his eyes against the low sun. A hand stuck down into the hole and he grasped it. A werewolf in human form can lift up to six or seven hundred pounds using all their effort, so pulling a 160-pound man from a hole was no trouble for Rick, one of the multitude of pack members. Marcus, when he reached the lip of the hole, hoisted himself onto the grass under his own power. He sat for a moment, brushing mud off his hands and looked around.

People were coming and going out of the laundry building, their latest project. The machines inside were antiquated and run down, but maybe they could get them running well enough to have clean clothing again. That would be nice. That wasn't the only thing going, a handfull of wolves were in one of the tunnels digging it out and marking spots where traps and the like may be installed in the near future.

All in all, this little slice of forgotten land was slowly turning into a well-protected sanctuary.

Marcus accepted a hand up from the ground and slid his hands into his pockets. "That one looks good," he said with a nod to this newest pit, "Start getting it covered, I'll have Roni bring Lloyd down this evening to get it covered.

He strode away from the pit to walk across the grounds, nodding his hellos to those coming and going.

Some days this felt mindless, the endless work with no news from the outside world, but it felt good to get your hands dirty and make yourself sore. It really helped him keep his mind off of things and focus on the needs of his people. Sure, he had a bit of cabin fever. Two-hundred acres is all well and good, but he was thirsting for some new scenery. All in good time, though.

The last of the pits inspected, he began his random tour of the compound, pausing here and there to check up on what everyone was up to.

Click click click

Who: Tony OT Friends or people near Olympic Stadium
When: Tuesday afternoon
Where: Olympic Stadium

"... and we're going to have to seal down this area," the agent said to the two people he was talking with, just as Tony pulled up in his jeep. "It's far too dangerous."

"What's going on?" Tony called. "I heard they needed some Friends up here to help with something...?"

The agent's attention turned from the men he was talking to to Tony. "Where's the others?"

"They should be up shortly," Tony replied. "We got the call on lunchtime -- I came directly over."

"Well, that's nice," the agent answered, almost derisively. "We need this area cleared of personnel -- there's a possible threat in the area, and we need some grunts to keep the looky-loos out. That means you."

"Keep them out of the entire stadium area?" Tony inquired, raising an eyebrow. "I don't think they called for a full security detail---"

"You'll be assisting the DHS. Just keep anyone who isn't a DHS person out of the main building, and if they try to force their way in, lock them up. C'mon, Junior, this isn't kindergarten here," the agent sneered. "Get your people in gear and get to work."

Tony sighed and got out of his jeep to start patrolling. Sometimes, keeping the city safe wasn't all it was cracked up to be. He tapped his radio. "Hey, HQ, this is 18741, Tony DeMarco... I'm at Olympic Stadium, and DHS is requesting we keep people out of Olympic Stadium. We're gonna need some more people up here."

Behind him, the agent snagged his two companions and headed for the stadium proper, muttering, "Now we've got the goombas out on patrol, so let's get to work. Where did the clicking start?"

Things by less clever names

Who: Mark OT anyone
Where: Angel's Diner
When: Late night, Monday

"You don't shit where you eat," the saying went, although usually it was used more to warn against inter-office romances than against conducting acts of treason in your own coffeehouses. For Mark, 'you don't shit where you eat' meant that he had been visiting a diner several times this month, cultivating it as a place where it wouldn't seem abnormal for him to be, paying with cash, tipping decently but not fantastically, and never really sticking to the same thing too often. Tonight, his heart was racing, and he was drinking a cup of diner coffee - more out of politeness to the waitstaff than any real desire for their coffee. He'd positioned himself at a booth near the back of the building. There was a hall that led to the restrooms and the fire exit right nearby, and if things went badly, he intended to make use of that exit.

He'd told the waitstaff that his name was Dave over the course of the past month, and occasionally, he'd met with friends of his here - associates who had helped him at Columbia and were still interested in fighting the good fight. Tonight, though, none of those people would be coming here. Instead, he'd put handbills around town here and there in unusual places, hidden in books or newspapers, concealed in sketchpads, or in the restrooms of music venues. The message was simple.

"Who guards against the Guardians? Want to be illuminated? Angel's Diner, March 5, 2009, 8 pm - Ask for Dave"

He had no idea whether he'd get the right crowd or not -- or worse, whether he'd attract the worst sort of attention -- but he was starting to not care. He still couldn't get the image out of his head, and if it progressed much further, he feared he might go mad.

We all make mistakes?

 Who: Brier and her brother (Closed) 
Where: Emmett's apartment, near Columbia 
When: Friday night. 



            A drop of the rainwater fell on the hallway floor as Brier reached a trembling hand out to ring the bell.  Nothing.  She rang it again.  She knocked the door.

            After a few moments the door opened a crack, still chained shut.   Emmett Delman, the second of her four brothers looked out at her with one eye. 

            “What are you doing here?”

            It was hardly the warm greeting she once would have received.  But she was beginning to understand why.   His eyes traveled down to her wet socks and up to her wet hair and her red face and the expression softened.

            She opened her mouth to answer him, and a sob came out. 

            He closed the door and she heard the scraping of the chain as he undid it before he opened it again. 

            He took her by the elbow and pulled her inside. “Ever heard of an umbrella? No, stay there, don’t step on the rug I’ll get towels. “  He ran back a moment later carrying a stack of them. “Get out of that jacket.  I’ll take it to the bathroom.” 

            Brier wiped her dripping hands with the towel she had been handed and put it over her wet hair before reaching up with her trembling hands and unzipping her ski jacket.   A magazine she had tucked inside fell out of the jacket into the puddle on the floor. 

            “What the...” Emmett reached over to pick it up, and found himself staring at a copy of The Luminator.

            He grabbed Brier’s jacket from her hands.  “What the hell are you doing with this?”

            She covered her face. 

            He sighed and put a hand out to pull the hands back down.  “For God’s sake stop that.  Come in. You read this did you? What are you doing carrying it around!? This thing could get you in a lot of trouble.”

            “Is it true?”

            “Truer that whatever shit you were reading before.”  He stopped her before she could go on.  “Get out of that thing.” He indicated her diner uniform.   “There’s pjs in the top drawer.”

            “Emmett, I…”

            “Before you ruin my rug.  Lay it out in the bathtub with your jacket.”

            When she came out he was on the phone.  

            “…I don’t know mom.  She must have been out with her Friend friends after work.  But she’s pretty far gone.  She was singing when she got in.” He put a finger to his lips and motioned for her to sit down.

            “Yeah, Mom.  I’ll send her home in the morning when she sobers up.  No. No it’s no problem.   Yeah I know she is.   Yeah.  Yeah.  Love you too.  Bye.”

            He hung up the phone. 

            “You told them I was drunk?”

            “Well I couldn’t very well call them up and tell them you were stupid.”

            She looked away.

            “So why did you come here?”

            “It’s true, isn’t it?”

            “The magazine? Yeah mostly, probably. “

            “Oh God. “

            “How did you come by this thing?”

            She shook her head. “Someone left it on the seat at the diner.”

            “And you were going to turn it in?”

            “No… just throw it away somewhere else, so no one would get in trouble.”

            “So where did you read it? Did you read it out in the open?” 

           She shook her head.   
            "Well?" He asked, "What did you make of it then?" 

            His little sister sniffled. “Emmett…I only ever thought..”

            “No.  You didn’t think.”  He said.  “You didn’t think at all.”

            “I only wanted to protect people.”

            He snorted.  Then, a brotherly urge overtook him and he handed her a box of tissues, but she had stopped crying.

            “I…hurt people, Emmett.”

            “Yeah.” He agreed. 

“God.  I’m a monster.”

“And whose fault is that?”

She lowered her head to her hands again.  He watched her for a moment, the moved beside her and put one arm around her.  “It’s alright, Bri.  You made a mistake. You made a really colossal mistake.    Tonight you can have your cry.   But what are you going to do about it in the morning? “ He asked.  

She shook her head.  “I don’t know.” She said.  “I really don’t know.” 

Less than public relations

Where: The Requiem
When: Tuesday evening
Who: Martin OT Lucinda

For the most part, the Fifth Column handled their business like any decent secret organizations, with customized 8M encryption protocols, ghost servers, and minimal direct contact. However, there were some things that were better not left to electronic communications where possible - the business of leadership and coordination. For occasions like this, Martin often chose the Requiem as one of the possible meeting locales. Most public venues were heavily monitored, with hidden cameras and transmitters supplementing the many public forms of surveillance available. Movements were tracked by facial recognition software connected to the immense network of cameras throughout the city, coordinated through a bank of supercomputers in the sub-basements of Freedom Tower. In theory, this meant that any criminal, anywhere in the city could be tracked, found, and apprehended -- law enforcement's dream machine. In practice, the Guardians rarely utilized this service for anything but their own needs, due to the sheer impracticality of searching for every common criminal - only those who merited the Guardians' direct intervention were listed and tracked in their system. At the moment, Project Darkling was monopolizing most of the resources of the surveillance network, checking the city for lycanthropes who had been specifically listed in the search but had evaded the overt detain-or-destroy efforts. Still, it was implied that the system was also occasionally utilized to monitor the activities of employees of Freedom Tower, including the Guardians themselves, just to make sure people weren't up to things they shouldn't be.

As such, Martin was generally paranoid about his meeting locations, and tended to deal with his life as though he were under surveillance at every moment -- because there was no real reason to assume he wasn't. Paranoid he might be, but it certainly didn't hurt his survival chances to be cautious. Ostensibly, Guardian hangouts were free of these surveillance methods that were intended purely to capture data about the walking cattle that populated the world, to paraphrase an utterance from a monitoring staff member. In practice, there was really no guarantee that these places were unmonitored, other than the Guardians' word.

There were, however, places in town where the electronic eyes didn't go, either through fortunate accident or deliberate interference. While most of these places were sturdy older buildings or corporate headquarters, The Requiem was one of those rare places that happened to be a social mingling ground, and one that attracted humans, Guardians, and Darklings alike. As such, it was a good place to meet without attracting too much suspicion, as the fact that the place wasn't under constant surveillance was hardly common knowledge.

Lucinda's official job with the Guardians was as GNYC's Director of Media Relations -- her responsibility was to transmit positive information to media outlets, and to generally ensure that the Guardian brand maintained its good name within the community. If there was a community outreach program or a charitable work to be funded, she was the one writing up the proposals and making sure the media crews were on hand to take note of the generosity. This typically put her in competition with the Media Development department (responsible for creating media) and the Marketing department (responsible for advertising), and made her a valuable asset to the Fifth Column. Who better to know what the Guardians were up to than one of the people assigned to explain it to the press?

He'd settled into his traditional seat near the speakers - while it was true that electronic surveillance devices tended to fail in here, and magics and special powers often seemed lessened within the building, a booming beat was generally necessary to prevent eavesdropping from those gifted with more traditional supernatural hearing. Besides, he happened to like the music.

He took a deep drink from his cup and kept careful watch for Lucinda. They had much to discuss.

Speedy Delivery

Who: Marcus and Tamara
When: Afternoon, February 13th, 2012
Where: Tamara's residence

Veronica had been very annoyed when Marcus had insisted he make this trip into the city. He'd been cooped up in that damn hospital for far too long, and he was losing his mind. He needed out. Yes, he would take a backup team of five wolves, who would wait in the blasted van while he went up to the door and delivered the package.

Mapquest was everyone's friend, and they found the place easily enough, using the address scrawled on the neatly wrapped package. Marcus climbed out of the van after telling his backup to wait there for half an hour before calling him, and then they could charge in if things seemed fishy, but Marcus was sure everything was on the level. Mark wouldn't send him to his death. On some level, he actually kinda trusted Mark. Almost.

Up to the door and a push of the button. Let's see if she's home...

Lonesome Day

Who: Mallory and Open
Where: Nondescript Convenience Store, Brooklyn NY
When:Feb, 9th 2012: 1:49am

"Hells brewing, dark suns on the rise
This storm will blow through, by and by
House is on fire, vipers in the grass
Little revenge and this too shall pass
This too shall pass.....
...if I can just get through this Lonesome Day"
-- "Lonesome Day", Bruce Springsteen , The Boss

The old truck's brakes were squeaking. Or maybe that was the ringing in his head. He couldn't be sure any more. He was glad to be in the comforting light of a street lamp. Parked in front of the neon lit windows of a convenience store. Half the letters in the name were out, but it wasn't a 7-11, and it didn't look like it would have much in the way of security. A shot gun behind the counter and mirrors on the walls. At least it wasn't a video camera.

He found himself thinking how to take out the counter clerk, before he realized the reason that wasn't necessary. For the first time since he'd started on this road a life time ago, he wasn't hiding it. He no longer had to live in shadows. They sanctioned what he did now, hell sometimes they even paid for it. It was all the same to him, he was glad that his occupation - obsession - came complete with something resembling a pension plan. It hadn't mattered before, but as he rubbed his tired eyes and felt the growing need for corrective lenses, he was glad it came with a health plan too.

He sat in the truck gathering his thoughts, long enough that Blue grew restless. The old coon hound was looking grayer around the muzzle, but he had to admit so was he. He nodded into the rear view mirror, as if the faithful dog could see and understand him.

He straightened his spine and peeled open the layers of his leather duster, a relic from his former life. He stared at what was underneath, the part where his shirt was tattered and blood was soaking it freely.

"Damn." He cursed. "That's going to scar."

Not that it was the first, in fact his whole torso and even his lower lip, were connected with scars. Most of them received in this life, though there was an appendix scar from his freshman year of high school.

He closed the coat and let out a breath he hadn't thought he was holding. From his head he pulled his hat, battered as he was. He swept a hand absently through his peppering hair, and not for the first time felt age creeping up on him. He glanced into the interior of the hat, staring at the battered photograph tucked in the band.

"Just doesn't get easier, Felina." He sighed and put the hat back on, pushing it snuggly down. No New York wind was going to snatch it from his skull.

One thing about New York it never slept. And in the city that never sleeps, even a worn out Hunter slipped amongst the crowds mostly unnoticed. Silver platted weapons - that never held an edge - were secured against his person. And he left the gun in the cab of the truck as he exited. He reached up and absently scratched behind the ears of the faithful dog in the back. Old Blue was as harried and traveled as he was.

Mallory had announced freely to the world he was here that night. He'd hunted a beast right to the ground, in the West he was known for such things. A dogged determination that simply won out by virtue of his hate out lasting another's will for survival. The animal had had the audacity to beg before he'd slit it's throat. They were growing weak, those damn beasts of hell. They didn't fight back like he remembered, or maybe he was just getting tired.

The bell attached to the door clattered loudly as he stepped into the store. All night convenience stores, stocked with beer, condoms, cigarettes and junk food. In his younger days he might have taken the gun behind the counter, just for kicks. Tonight he ambled past the poor blighted, slacker cashier with a curt nod and made his way straight for the beer.

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