The sky may be clear but there is snow on the ground as a Hunter patrol trudges along a muddy path north of the city. Brittany and Kyani are Valkyrie, carrying enough firepower to flatten a city block - but not allowed to use too much of it around here. With them is Stone - Union man. The TFVers have met Brigitte, another Union, and she knew what she was doing so they assume the same for Sam.
Brittany is in front of the column as they walk through the silent trees. It is cold. It is always cold. Maybe they should ask for a posting to Miami? "Just half a click to go" she whisper-calls back to those behind her.
Stone is used to trudging along. He's trudged along all his life. He's quiet for the moment, not carrying nearly as much firepower as the other two. He left his favorite piece at home, carrying a standard issue Glock 22. His breath is on the air, silent little clouds flowing into nonexistence. He doesn't ask questions, not yet at least, the whispering of Brittany a sure sign they're to keep quiet.
Kyani moves along with Brittany, they did have enough to level a city block but it's a pain in the ass when you’re not allowed to carry all of it. Still he has his favorite DMR and pistol along with his sword. Still it's good to be out hunting and doing the work that they are supposed to be doing. If they could get a posting in Miami, oh he would take it with her. Still moving slow and keeping his rifle up, he gives a quick comm click to acknowledge the distance.
Brittany has her assault rifle in her hands, a bulletproof vest (which serves little use if a werewolf attacks), and forest camo gear. Her dark skin painted with splotches of black to keep her more hidden - it seems she is serious. She holds up a fist to halt them. "Hold here until the other Hunter arrives. Lucy. Then we proceed along the path until we get to an old church. Something might be going on." She nods to Stone. "You look military."
Some ghosts aren't creatures of Twilight at all. Some are memories and the realm they live in are the recesses of one's mind, and Brittany's observation almost takes Stone back there. His head stays in the game, and he just nods a fraction. "Long time ago," he says lowly to Brittany. "I can follow orders if that's what you're worried about." He's dressed differently than usual, wearing a black turtleneck sweater and a motorcycle jacket, his gun worn in a shoulder holster and his badge tucked out of sight.
It doesn't seem like Samara has much weaponry on her, or perhaps any at all. Although she knows how to use a gun, she tends not to carry one on her for whatever reason. Besides, those Valkyrie folk seem like they have enough for the whole group and then some! The young woman is dressed warmly for the cold weather, a dark red peacoat wrapped around her torso, black pants, and matching boots. Hanging from her shoulders is a leather messenger bag with a few supplies in it. Wandering up to the other group, having been told of a patrol going on, she smiles warmly as she approaches. A gloved hand raises to wave and she comes to a stop a few feet in front of them all. "Not too cold of an evening to go hunting," she observes, taking a quick glance around.
Kyani is wearing his camouflage and a vest as well, you wear what you need, still he is in the game, he glances towards Stone watching him for a moment and nods when he hears Stone he was a long time ago. Moving off to the right just a little so that if they were to fire they would have clear firing lines. When the fist comes up he stops in place and crouches down, using the ACOG 4x scope taking in the area moving so that he is able to cover areas the others aren't.
"Orders are one thing, knowing you won't fall apart in a firefight is another" Brittany deadpans to Stone. "Good to have you on board." A nod to the arrival of Samara. "Ms Worthington, pleasure to meet you. Brittany Murphy, just call me Britt. We're checking on a church up ahead. Big wigs thought you may be of some use and I'm not gonna turn it down." She gestures for them all to advance and she resumes lead down the muddy path with snowbanks on either side. The mud sucks at their boots and shoes as they wind their way through the trees. After about ten more minutes, Brittany is signaling them to halt once more and gather on her.
Brittany had nothing to fear there. The falling apart? That came later for the old man. He just watches her for a moment before trudging onward, his eyes taking in the new arrival with a brief sweep of his gaze and a furrow of his brow. "Stone," he introduces himself, but he opts not to ask any questions about why she seems to be unarmed. He halts when ordered to, his gaze already sweeping the area.
Kyani knows about the church and with this patrol, this was going to be a pain in the ass. "Kyani." he says simply, "Or Ky." he says. Granted with this being a hunt they have to be prepared and he moves forward a bit more to keep them covered. When Samara speaks up he glances back to her and gives a nod, "It's cold, but we got work to do." He stops again, "What you see?" he asks as he begins scanning the area.
"Likewise, Britt," Samara responds with a friendly tone and a smile to match. The huntress has been around here and there, so she's probably run into Kyani in the past, even if it's been awhile. A polite nod is given to him. Curiously, she gives a glance over Stone, but turns her attention back to Brittany. "So, have you guys seen anything seen or heard anything out on the streets yet?" she wonders, her brows raising slightly. "Or are we just wandering around to make sure the streets are safe?"
"The streets are some miles back in the city" Brittany says to Samara. "Though there was a report that the Leechers were back in Cathedral Concrete. Something we need to check on before they start up another colony in there. Don't want to lose another Hunter clearing them out once they're established." Ahead of them is a small clearing where stands a semi-ruined church. It was never a large one and it probably hasn't been used in decades. To one side, barely seen among the trees that have invaded the churchyard, is a cemetery. The clear skies let the moon shine down through the trees, causing shadows that seem to flit around the graves.
Standing out in front of the church are the ghosts of around ten people - various ages. They stare outwards.
"...What the Hell," Stone says more to himself than the others, grunting out towards Brittany as they approach the clearing, "Wait. Something's not right here." He doesn't share that he's different with her, that might mean he's on the wrong side, but he can maybe pass it off as something else as he stares towards the church. "I got a bad feeling."
Kyani hears about the Leechers, "Fuck me." he says as he looks around and he already knows what to look for, having dealt with that shit quite a few times already. He sighs and shakes his head, "We better be on point and make sure you are covering one another, these fucks are no joke." he says as he looks to each person than giving a quick nod to Britt.
"Leechers?" At the first word of a possibility for vampires to be thrown into the mix, Samara slowly removes her gloves and stuffs them into her pockets. The exact reason behind such a gesture is unknown for now. Turning her attention over toward Stone, a brow arches and a look of concern crosses her features. "Do you see something out there or just the hairs on the back of your neck are starting to rise?" she questions with a small tilt of her head. Green eyes linger briefly on the older hunter before she looks back toward the ruins of the church and she very carefully starts to make her way in its direction.
The shadows flitting about the graves seem a bit more solid than shadows. Small creatures perhaps.
"Leechers haven't been reported here" Brittany explains, "Just back at Cathedral Concrete." She stands, takes a few steps forward then looks over to the nervous Stone. "Seeing something?" she asks, not one to let a veteran's jitters go unnoticed. Her own eyes scanning the churchyard and the shadows that dance around the graves. "Anyone got eyes on anything?"
As Stone watches, one of the ghosts, a man in his sixties, slowly disappears. His face turning into one of pain. An unheard scream distorting his mouth.
"Call it a sixth sense, kid," Stone mutters to Samara, not quite spoiling his talents. He doesn't even draw his weapon despite himself as he quietly approaches with the rest of the group. He stops abruptly, his hands tightening into fists as he stares towards the church. "People have died here," he says through gritted teeth. "They didn't die well."
Kyani moves into a flanking position of the group, his movements are precise and a small click of his weapon going from safety on to off, "Got movement." he says in a low whisper. His eyes tracking solid shadows, going silent and begins tracking those. The night vision ACOG on his gun helping him see.
As she's seemingly without weapon, Samara places herself somewhere in the middle of the group. "Keep your attention on whatever it is," she states, obviously. Her attention shifts back to Stone, brows furrowing some. "Can you tell how they died?" she wonders, curious how he knows such things but not questioning at the moment. Such inquiries could be saved for a more non-hostile situation!
"They died in the church?" Brittany mumbles under her breath about crazy religious folk before her attention is caught by Kyani's talk of targets. "Movement at the graves. Ky, cover us. We're going for the church. See if there's anything in there. Anyone see anything dangerous in the church...or /feel/ anything dangerous?" Britt is just a soldier, nothing fancy about her. Weapon raised, she starts for the church door across the tangled undergrowth of long untended grounds.
Another ghost flickers out of existence, screaming - though not a sound rises from its distended lips.
They seem to be being consumed.
"...Actually, kid, I don't think it's how they died that matters," Stone mutters while staring at the church. This time, he draws his gun, thumbing the hammer back while assuming a shooter's stance, staring at the church. "Something here is feeding off them."
Kyani swivels easily keeping crouched where he is, "Whatever you're going to do, do it fast, they stopped." his voice is calm and focused. He keeps his gun focused in the area where he saw the movement, his silencer is on his MK 12 MOD 1. He is calm and ready to take care of the problem no more looking to the others and he is utterly quiet.
There isn't a lot of information to go on at the moment, but Samara racks her brain for what they might be dealing with. There's a look of concentration before she blinks a few times as something comes to mind. "I remember coming across some reports that mentioned something of this nature..." She glances over those gathered before her gaze drifts in the general direction that Kyani is looking out in. "'Tall Men' is what they've been called. Creatures of undetermined nature that have been stealing bodies with the aid of smaller creatures. These smaller ones might be the shells of consumed ghosts... That's the theory so far, at least," she offers, slightly pursing her lips.
"O...kay..." is Britt's measured response to Samara's information. "Guess that's why Ms Worthington is here tonight." A deep breath as the Valkyrie aims her weapon at the church. "Sounds like we've got some ghost eating to disrupt. "You need a weapon, Ms Worthington? I've got a spare or..." Before she can finish she is interrupted by the inhuman screams of cowled creatures charging out from within the toppled gravestones. About three feet high, sharp teeth and claws shining in the moonlight, they charge at the group.
Brittany swings her AR-15 towards the first of the creatures that breaks cover. A single shot from her weapon and it slaps the creature right through the forehead, exploding out the back amid a mixture of brain, bone and blood. The thing collapses to the ground.
Kyani, from his covering position, fires at another of the things but this time only wings it. It recoils from the impact before scampering forward once more.
Stone closes ranks. This is rote, almost. Sure, it's not insurgents he's shooting at, but he's been hunting long enough that it doesn't really matter who the enemy is. He lifts his pistol, aims, and fires a shot directly into one's skull.
The offer of a gun? Well, Samara readily accepts it and soon enough there's a firearm in her hands. As she raises it up to take aim it's apparent that, while she's certainly no expert, she does know her way around a gun. The trigger is pulled and she fires off a shot at the one that's already been injured. Better to take on one that has a hole in it already than start fresh on another one!
The three creatures are down and Brittany warily advances towards them. "Any other movement, Ky?" His answer is in the negative. She pulls a flashlight from her webbing and shines it over the graves. Four or five of them have been disinterred. The coffins open and empty. It looks like they were interrupted on the next. "Stone. Ms Worthington. Care to check the church out?"
"And here I was about to ask how we kill the damn things," Stone mentions as he kicks one of the corpses briefly to see if it's still moving, then looking towards the church. "Yeah. Let's. Graveyards are the worst." Too many ghosts.
As she's unsure whether or not they'll run into another dangerous threat before the hunt is over with, Samara decides it's wisest to hold onto the handgun for now. Brittany can get it back later! "If those smaller things were out here, then the Tall Men are probably nearby. And the church seems to be the most likely place they'd be," she replies as her roundabout way of agreeing to go inside. Carefully she starts to step forward toward the church, though making sure not to get too far ahead of the others that are clearly better with their weapons than she is. "Maybe Kyani can do a quick sweep around the perimeter or something?" she suggests, glancing to the group.
Kyani is already onto it. He is prowling the perimeter while Brittany moves to check over the graveyard itself. That leaves Stone and Samara to move through the wall of ghosts standing in front of the church and into the building proper. It is a ruin. The pews long gone. The stone walls collapsed. The altar suffering all kinds of debasement over the years. At the opposite end of the altar, hovering in the air, is a swirling circle of air. Inside that circle is the image of another place. A place where bodies are piled high. Another corpse is on this side of the circle, being lifted into the air by a man who stands at least seven feet tall. He tosses the body into the circle as if it was a feather.
Deciding that talking to it might very well get them killed, Stone tries to make eye-contact with Samara instead, pointing to the creature while it's distracted and then settling both hands on his gun, aiming it at the monster while looking her way, mouthing, 'on three' to her. And when he counts down to it? He tries to catch the thing off-guard, attempting to fire on it right then and there. That is, of co
That is, of course, if they do in fact catch it off-guard.
Samara is standing quietly by Stone, though her attention is on the creature for the moment rather than him. She's studying it and the circle that it's tossing bodies into, a frown slowly forming on her lips. However, even as that frown appears, there's an interested and curious expression that also grows in her eyes. Knowing the need for silence at the moment, she quietly reaches into her bag and pulls out a pen and small flip notepad. A simple note is written and shown to Stone, offering him some information and letting him decide how to proceed with it. 'I believe that's a portal to another world.'
The tall man turns to face the pair watching him. He doesn't expect them but neither is he alarmed - he did hear the shots fired outside after all. "Always too late" he sneers. "I am disappointed that you have ruined our little outing...again. But it will not be the last time we meet." His eyes narrow. "I don't think we've met you two before. No matter. We shall be watching from now on."
Well, that's the sort of thing that has Stone's finger pausing right there on the trigger. He stares down at the notepad and then looks up towards the creature, keeping his gun raised towards it. "...That doesn't sound good. There a way to shut this portal down?" he asks Samara, now that the creature knows that they're there. "...and how do we kill him?"
As soon as the tall 'man' looks in their direction, Samara's gaze remains focused on it. Even as she listens to the other hunter, she watches it. Who knows what it might do. "I think that's a question that I'll have to do some research to find an answer to," she quietly replies to Stone, pursing her lips slightly. "What are we too late for?" she questions of the creature, a brow raising. Apparently, the younger hunter has no problem with talking directly to the monsters. In fact, her tone is kind of polite! She eyes the circle momentarily, curiosity still lingering in her eyes. "Where does that go...?" she can't help but wonder.
"Look at the graveyard. Look at the ghosts around you that are screaming in agony as we give them new homes" the Tall Man gloats before adding, "You /can/ see them all, can't you? Never mind. The point is..." He gestures to the pile of bodies on the other side of the portal. "We have taken our fill for the night. That is why you are late." He takes a deep breath. "Where does it go?" He holds out his hand towards Samara. "It goes home. Care to come with me?"
Stone's lip twitches downwards at the corner, keeping his gun on the Tall Man. He looks over towards Samara, shaking his head at her, his opinion of her going with this thing made quite obvious. He doesn't shoot, though. The portal is making him anxious. If he shoots, what would happen? Would more come? So, for now, he just waits.
There's just a second where Samara /might/ take the offer. It is somewhat appealing, after all, to the side of her that wants more knowledge. But for now, she easily declines. "I wouldn't want to leave my associate here all alone," she replies, placing a polite smile on her lips. The hunter takes a slow step backwards, putting some distance between her and the Tall Man. "I think we'll take our leave now," she states, finally pulling her gaze away to look up at Stone. Because getting the hell out of there for now seemed like the best idea to her.
The Tall Man laughs at Samara's retreat. A chilling laugh devoid of any humor. Suddenly, it ceases. The man glaring at them again with his cold grey eyes. "We shall see you soon" he intones in a cold, gravelly voice before he steps through the portal and it disappears behind him.
Yeah, it seems like a good idea to Stone, too, because he's reached out to open the door and step aside so Samara can step through that 'portal' and not the otherworldly one. "Time to go."
"Threats from otherworldly beings from beyond. That sure was fun," Samara states sarcastically as she quickly makes her way out the opened door. A glance over her shoulder just to make sure that Stone is following and hasn't been grabbed by any lingering Tall Men. As they continue heading out of the church ruins, her mind is already racing a hundred miles a second. "Well, that little encounter gave me a good amount of information to start researching on. Portals, tall men, ghosts..." There's another quick look at the older hunter before she continues talking. "Shouldn't take /too/ long to narrow it down to what these things are. And hopefully a way to defeat them."
"Anything in there?" Brittany asks, shining her flashlight at the chests of the emerging Stone and Samara. "Found some disturbed graves and missing corpses but that's about it. Those little guys were busy. Looked like they dragged the bodies into the church. Were they in there?"