First there was the drive by Humvee, north up the coastal road. That ended at a large camp where Aurore was transferred to a chopper for the last leg to Cabot Cove. At least the helicopter ride was a lot less bumpy for her than for the others; no attacks by flying demon imps. The final destination is the town of Cabot Cove (http://fallcoast.net/wiki/Cabot_Cove). A town that is covered by a thick fog where only a couple of tall buildings poke up from the blanket.
The fog is either the cover for a demonic invasion or a side effect of it, for the town of Cabot Cove is no more. The citizens possessed by demons or hiding in the upper stories of a number of buildings around the city. The City Hall, next to the wharfs, is free of fog and is now the forward operations post of the Hunter response. Here, military vehicles idle, soldiers defend barricades facing the wall of fog, snipers take up positions on the rooftop, a hive of activity.
As soon as the helicopter lands, Aurore is met by the familiar face of Brigitte. "They said they were shipping the brains in" she smiles softly before gesturing for Aurore to follow her into the building. The rooms are filled with monitors and more soldiers, their instruments peering into the fog slightly better than their eyes can. Brigitte leads Aurore downwards, into the basement of the building. It seems this is where those who are trying to discover the reason behind the assault, and more importantly, how to stop it, are gathering.
A man in his forties, white beard, safari suit, stands as Aurore is led in. "Ah, Ms Abernathy, so glad you could make it. Safe trip?" He holds out his hand. "I am Doctor Peregrine Arbogast but call me Perry. I'm in charge of the researchers. Care for a tea or coffee?"
Aurore might not be able to do much with military hardware in most circumstances... but she could certainly assist her own safety and help out her pilots by spending ten minutes warding the chopper. Though her mystical defences were far from perfect, though should still provide the vehicle with a substantial boost to its survival chances should it come under attack again in the near future.
Disembarking, she waves cheerily to the flight crew, before grinning (rather nervously) at Brigitte. She tags along behind the taller woman, and blinks in mild surprise to find herself encountering someone so thoroughly *civilian* in appearance. His hand is accepted, and warmly shaken. "I took the precaution of bolstering the helicopter's defences. It's not permanent but might help. And we didn't see any sign of trouble. But... coffee would be very welcome, thank you."
"Ah...a warding! Perfect. Yes. That would help indeed" Perry grins happily before remembering the coffee. "Yes, coffee. In the current situation, I hope you don't expect too much quality." He heads over to a pot of coffee brewing on a side table. "You should probably ward this place too. Yes...yes...that would be a good idea. Do you know what's going on? Dimensional crack. Hell portal...maybe. The first reports were from very frightened civilians so can't really use their descriptions as gospel. But our dimensional monitors aren't reading any big holes at the moment. A couple of cracks but nothing responsible for all this." A pause. "Milk and sugar?"
"Just milk, please," Aurore says. "And... my wardings are short-term. If I can ward against some specific entity - say, all the 'imps' are direct manifestations of the will of something greater, and I can ward against it and its power - then I can provide a slightly stronger ward, that should last for a week. My, ahh, general-purpose ones are a little weaker, and only last for a day. But I can ward a smallish building, or a fair-sized section of a larger one. Or a vehicle. It is somewhat taxing, and not a terribly swift process, but it has its uses. But, umm, no. I can't claim to really know what's going on here."
"No one can...at the moment. But that is why we are here. To figure it all out, before we all get cast into Hell." Perry hands over the coffee. "Come have a look at the map." He wanders over to the table and the map sprawled over it. There have been some marks made on it. Even some attempts to draw designs using locations that could be helpful. "We weren't aware of any cult activity here before the fog arrived. So what else could it be? Natural crack...or supernatural. Something else?"
"I don't suppose that any vessels docked recently, with unusual cargoes aboard?", Aurore asks wryly. "That would be traditional. Whether it's fishermen bringing up something unexpected in their nets, or a stray delivery from overseas...." She sighs, shaking her head as she peers worriedly at the map. "Has a... focal point for it been identified? Do we know if there is 'just' the one, or if multiple rifts or holes have opened? Do they *stay* open? Are we seeing things breaking through at different points over time?"
"Oh...fishermen. Yes...I like it. We should look into that" Perry nods enthusiastically. "I mean, we are in Maine, who knows what is under the sea around here. The best we can work out from the reports is that it started around Winslow Street. Could have been the museum...which would make sense if there is something old in there. But why now?" He thinks on this for a few moments before resuming his conversation. "They're not open now so they don't stay open. We're hoping that we don't get a big one. All the people that have been taken in this town would make quite the sacrifice."
Aurore winces, then nods. "Unless it's a *small* museum, Warding the entire thing - so that we could investigate it in detail with less risk of being disturbed - is probably beyond me. Well, unless I erect multiple Wards to cover different areas - but that more I have to raise, the less likely it is I can repeat it even for one more day thereafter, let alone try to sustain it. Why *now*... an anniversary of a particular event? Some previous defence on a cursed item wearing off? A curator or burglar opening something they shouldn't? There are, unfortunately, all too many options for quite how someone might trigger this. It *usually* seems to be more to do with ineptitude or stupidity than pre-planned malice, but that last is certainly a risk we have to bear in mind...."
"Unfortunately, the museum is deep in the fog. I don't think we'll be traipsing up there to check it out anytime soon...not without a full military escort at least" Perry pouts. "The possessed seem to react to sound so we couldn't really drive up there, and Lord knows what else is lurking in that fog. Patrols have encountered demons...and there is evidence of things even larger." A sigh as he nods. "Yes, stupidity is the number one cause of many problems."
Aurore runs a hand over her hair, frowning pensively at the map. "Well... I can ward a vehicle. But that doesn't make it immune to having things fired or thrown at it. The perimeter of the Ward is what they struggle to breach: so they can get as far as making contact with it. So we *might* be able to get there, depending upon quite how they attack. Unfortunately, I'd then need *at least* ten minutes more to ward another location, and protection while I did so. Damn. Ahhh... hrrm. Okay. Are we still in the 'identifying what's out there' stage? Or have we got any good leads on sites to investigate, that we might actually be able to get to without an army?"
"We're just working on what information we can get back from the patrols and the encounters with what is in the fog. Otherwise just general musings on what could be afoot" Perry replies with a shrug. "There are a couple of captured possessed in the room next door being exorcised...that hasn't gone very well. So, for now, study and think."
Aurore winces, then nods. "Again, I could quite possibly assist with an exorcism, by warding the area around the subject. It suppresses and weakens the power of any, ahh, ephemeral entity caught within the area. It sounds as if that might be one route towards trying to get us more information, if we can find out what a victim remembers once they are exorcised or separate an occupying entity from its host so that it can be questioned independently."
"We already have the Malleus and the Long Night arguing over the proper procedure to exorcise. Not sure they'd be excited to have you do your thing as well" Perry laughs. "But, hey it's our job to be intelligent. Come on, let's get to work."