It's a crisp winter's evening in Maine and a disparate group of souls are converging on an intersection at the edge of the historical district. Is it purely accidental that many of them are Hunters and that the others have had run-ins with the strange and unusual? Probably not...this /is/ Fallcoast.
The sun has set over an hour ago but the roads are lit by the glow of streetlights just like every other night. A few nearby houses, though this is mostly a retail/business area, have their Christmas lights on. One large house is covered with them. A design that must have taken weeks to work out and shows Santa in his sleigh descending on the roof while the garden is filled with reindeer, elves and a light show that throbs in time with music pumping from garden speakers. The house next door also has Christmas lights...though just enough to spell out 'Ditto'.
A ship's bell can be heard faintly in the air; they are near the ocean after all. There are a few people out and about but it's not panic shopping time yet and most Fallcoastians have yet to set out on their Saturday night mating rituals. So just another chill December night in Fallcoast at a quiet intersection. And then the traffic lights go out.
Clad in a Winter overcoat and boots with comparatively sensible heels, Aurore is currently strolling along with Amanda by her side. Her hair is worn loose, hanging down over the shaven sides of her head for a little extra warmth - and is kept in place with a broad-brimmed hat to match her long coat and jauntily-worn scarf.
A black pickup truck approaches the intersection, Ysa behind the wheel and Evens in the passenger seat, the former driving one-handed as the other is clutching her always-present thermal mug of coffee. "Well. That was a bust," the bounty hunter says. "Guess you gaining experience will have to wait."
Then, the lights go out. Ysa frowns, and pulls the truck over, looking around. It's possible she's paranoid. It really is. She stares at the traffic lights, then the still lit display. "…weird," she says, tone suspicious.
Amanda is wrapped up, mostly, with her coat open enough to some show cleavage off. "Fancy doing something normal? No giant flying birds?" she asks Aurore. "I feel like blowing some steam off."
Evens has the expression of a child on a fishing trip with their parent - all excited and aglow. Whatever failure may have happened certainly hasn't dampened his spirits. The man shrugs, chuckling just a bit. "I am not inexperienced, I assure you." His accent is thick with his French heritage.
As the lights are out - he pauses, glancing around. "Out due to the cold?" He wonders. "The weather is pretty rotten here..."
Max is walking along the road She is wearing what should be a warm jacket. However, the zipper is broken and so she is left shivering with her Scooby Doo! t-shirt on display. At least the girl has gloves. She seems to be fairly used to the cold and other than turning a little pink suffers no obvious ill effects. Yet. The girl adjusts her duffel bag, glances at it - and then is left blinking in the darkness as the light overhead suddenly dies. Blink. Blink. Shiver. Very practical. "...Huh."
A muffled voice from the duffel bag says - Something's coming.
"Well, that's the hope here," Aurore replies to Amanda, flashing a grin at her companion... before frowning slightly and glancing around. "Hrmmm. Odd." She hesitates a moment, cocking her head slightly... before shaking it. Tucking her hands in her coat pockets, she peers around from beneath her hat-brim. "I'm *hoping* that's just an electrical glitch," she says softly. "But this being Fallcoast..."
Ysa frowns, turning the engine off. "It's normal for this part of the country." Her own accent is perhaps a decade and a half faded, but still marks her as hailing from somewhere in Spain. "...I don't like it," she adds. She opens the door and steps out, one hand reaching behind the car seat for the carrying strap on her shotgun, though she doesn't immediately pull it out. Instead, she stands there, the scarred woman scanning the street. Evens' comment? Well. That gets a snort.
Amanda looks round sighing. "If this starts turning to something odd, I'm gonna leave. Quickly," she says. She looks to Aurore and waits for a prognosis of the situation.
The dark-skinned man is actually sporting a thick wool overcoat - nice and warm. Dark leather gloves, even a hand knitted muffler around his neck. Evens hrms, stepping out as well. He's reaching for nothing, one hand resting on the top of the door. "Do you think it is trouble, then?" He says, sounding a bit over-excited at the possibility.
Maxine, on the other hand, looks a little panicked. She glances around slowly, turning her head so that she can scan all of the people present. Wide-eyed look. Blink. That's Aurora. Amanda. And so on and so forth. She clutches her duffel bag a little tighter and holds it against her side as she turns, moving carefully. "Something's trouble," the girl states clearly. "Definitely."
An annoyed driver hits the horn when the traffic lights go out before hitting it again...and again...because it will surely make a difference. Seeing that Ysa has stopped her vehicle, he hits the accelerator and lurches out in front of her and across the intersection. As he does so the streetlights start to blink out, plunging him into darkness and causing him to flick on the high beams.
On the road ahead of the car, suddenly illuminated by the beams, is a line of people marching steadily forward. They are on the small side but they are also wearing armor and once colorful tunics and pantaloons that have been burned and charred. The same can be said for their dark, crinkled skin - they seem to have spent some time in an oven - but they don't look to be in pain. There are about ten of them; four armed with crossbows, four with swords and the other two carrying large bags over their shoulders where the contents seem to be struggling to get out.
The man's car squeals to a halt, turning side on to the oncoming people before the driver gets out and starts hurling abuse. "Get off the fuckin' road, ya weirdos!!" He towers over them so he doesn't seem concerned...or he's drunk. He's not even concerned when one of the charred men raises his loaded crossbow. He's not even concerned when the trigger is pressed and the bolt shoots through the air. And then it's too late for him to be concerned as his throat is pierced and, gurgling on his own blood as it spews out of his mouth, he collapses onto the hood of his car.
With the arrival of the tunic'd group, Amanda makes up her mind. "Ok, I'm out," she says. "Have fun sweetie!" With that, she heads away from the group, towards safety.
Ysa is, herself, dressed darkly. Black pants, black boots. Non-reflective black jacket over thin Kevlar. Evidently, wherever she took Evens before here, it wasn't to go dancing. "I always think there might be trouble," she says, sounding perhaps a tiny bit exasperated. "Please do not squee if it's something from the pits of hell."
Which, predictably, is when things go to hell. "Dios!" The shotgun is whipped out, and she's running, practically diving for the cover of the turned car, though probably only to get a better vantage from which to shoot. It sucks to be right.
Max gives a yelp when the crossbows come out and the murder squad starts advancing on the group. She's got the duffel bag open now... Though why is unclear since, rather than pulling anything out, she's running for the nearest available cover with her hand wedged awkwardly inside. A pink t-shirt falls out of the bag as a result. There are others. That one reads, "You read my t-shirt ... That's enough socialization for today." It is gone, left to be destroyed by the tunic wearing medieval horde. "You weren't kidding about something coming..." Who is Max talking to? Who knows?
Amanda's abrupt departure leaves Aurore rather stunned... and she turns back from blinking at her friend's disappearing back just in time to see the driver's demise. She spends a few moments boggling slack-jawed at *that*... before a modicum of common sense takes over, and she ducks behind the nearest cover, while desperately endeavoring to figure out what on Earth to do. Right now, chasing after Amanda seems like a very good idea.
Well, thankfully there's a truck for cover. Evens does a good job of retrieving a pistol from within his coat and bracing against the vehicle to take aim at the crossbow-wielding lunatics. "Merde..." He says, gasping a bit. "Are these from Hell?" There's a bit of fright mixed in with his lunacy.
The line stops and one of the crossbowmen gestures to a couple of swordsman who nod in response and, taking one of the bagmen with them, head for the door of the brightly lit house - its Christmas decorations still illuminating the darkness. Without even a knock first they kick open the front door and charge inside. Cue some screaming from inside. The remainder of the line resume their march forward, nearing the car and seemingly unaware, or uncaring, of what may be lurking there.
Never having been in this sort of situation before, and with her sole experience of combat being one in which she was trapped inside a moving vehicle, Aurore decides that discretion is the better part of valor and opts to withdraw. At speed. Unfortunately, she's never before tried running up a dark road in a long coat while looking over her shoulder at bow-wielding undead horrors and whatever-they're-doing-inside-that-house and... *thud*.
Maxine is reaching into the duffel bag, back against one of the buildings as she stares out at the crowd of insane monsters encroaching on her poorly thought out hiding spot. She's breathing heavily, plumes of breath like smoke wisping from her mouth and nose. Wide eyes are staring into the darkness. Gloves don't make a for a good grip so she pulls them off with her teeth. The duffel bag is lowered to the ground. And Max withdraws... What looks to be a sword. Slender, three feet in length and sheathed. She tries to draw it. Unfortunately, the zip tie peace bonding is still in place. So now she's scrabbling for a pocket knife and is busy cutting the weapon free.
With this flurry of activity in front of them the swordsmen charge towards the car being used as cover by Ysa and Evens. No noise from their blackened throats emerges through their cracked, split lips but their wild eyes have an implicit sadistic look to them.
From the house emerge the group sent inside. The two swords drip with blood and the bag seems to have an extra movement to it causing one of the swordsmen to hit it with the hilt of his weapon.
"...looks like it!" Ysa calls this, her tone tense. Her shotgun tracks the rushing men, but she can't seem to get a shot off. That they're not human, with all that burnt looking seems a foregone conclusion, at least to Ysa. Once the sword-wielding fellows begin their rush, the scarred Spaniard seems to take it as enough cause. The shotgun lets out an almighty roar as she aims for the fellow in the lead, getting him in the shoulder.
Evens nods, taking up a trained stance near Ysa. "This is amazing!" Lunatic! He trains his weapon on the same one that was blasted in the shoulder by the Spaniard. A deep breath and a squeeze of the trigger. The bullet crashes through the monster's skull, dropping it. "Did you see that!?"
The bowmen raise their crossbows once more, pick out three targets, and shoot! They are horribly accurate. Particularly against poor Aurore whose stumble put her right in one of their sights. But now they place their weapons to point downwards and start to wind them...reloading takes ages.
Aurore screams. Then lets out another gasping shriek as she starts scrambling to her feet - and realises that there's *something sticking out of her back*. A sob escapes her lips, then she hurls herself forwards, up the street, desperately hoping to manage to disappear out of sight of the invading monstrosities before they can hit her again and stop her going anywhere at all.
Maxine screams when crossbow bolts start firing. It's hard watching everything at once. There's not even the full chaos of a battlefield and her head is whipping about until her muscles ache just from tracking everything. Two people flee, one nearly goes down to a bolt in the back. Guns are fired. Bags are squirming... Bags full of... The sword is finally free of its sheath. It appears to be made of bronze, sized for the slightly undersized girl's build. She holds it in both hands as she starts running right at the crossbow wielders. It's about this point that Maxine starts to glow. A warm, indistinct white light, starting from her back and enveloping her. "Aaah...! Die...?" She's not much for dramatic proclamations apparently. But she can hack at a crossbow wielding monster!
The swordsmen leap up onto the car and hack down at the Hunters cowering behind it...cower is their assessment at least. The blades whip down and nick their targets as the charred men grin and glower.
"Shit!" The scarred Spaniard curses as Evens is shot, then slashed at with a sword. Ysa's own attack? It only earns her a grunt. She backpedals enough to give her space enough to shoot, the position of holding the shotgun causing her sleeve to tug back and expose the tattoo of thorns about her right wrist.. which.. shimmers? It's not quite a glow, but it looks luminous suddenly. Then her shotgun is going off again, blasting into the creature that attacked her.
Shot with an arrow? I mean, really. Who does that? That of course, earns a shriek of pain from Evens, having never experienced such a wonderful sensation. Really. Then he's got a sword slashing down at his collarbone. What the hell did he get himself into. The look of excitement is gone, now replaced by fear. Another shot drops the swordswinger, the man clutching at the bolt still in his side.
Task Force Valkyrie had been tracking some of the groups of Petes once they realised that Sint's ship was in the harbor. Ludlow was dispatched to track this particular party and now he has been given the go-ahead to intervene. People are getting hurt...even other Hunters!
Two charred and burned swordsmen are slowly turning into ash near a car that is parked across the street. Evens and Ysa are using the car as cover...or were...but now they are involved in a battle to the death. Max has charged into a group of four crossbowmen who are doing their best to reload while the small woman screeches and screams at them. Another group of three have emerged from a house and carry a bag that seems to struggle in their grasp. Aurore, after getting skewered by a bolt, is running off into the darkness.
The gunfire and other sounds behind her simply provide Aurore with continued impetus to get the heck out of Dodge. She *desperately* wants to stop running and try to do something to stop the bolt in her back from bouncing with every hasty stride... but, quite frankly, putting some more distance between her and the crossbows is even more imperative. Consequently, she completes her disappearing act, heading off up the street in search of first safety, then medical attention.
Colonel Wilde always gives him the most interesting shadowing assignments. But today she's letting him off the leash to do a little more direct action. So he didn't have far to drive to help be part of the cavalry. His Glock is in his hand before he's even out of the vehicle, a tap to the keys on his waist springs the backdoor for Chopper. In the meantime, he's chosen his target. Intel said kids would be targets for kidnapping, sure as hell there's a wriggling bag. He snaps out a shot at the one who has a direct hold on the bag.
"Why am I doing this?" Max isn't quite sure whether or not she asked that aloud or not. That warm, indistinct glow is suffusing her form, like she might have a halogen lamp tucked under the back of her shirt. Meanwhile, the girl is swinging a bronze sword and chopping into a crossbow wielding clockwork tunic'd monster. Max, believe it or not, is not the weirdest thing present in the middle of all of this. She's probably difficult to identify as well amidst the glowing, the fighting and the screaming. Just a small woman with a sword. At least she isn't hostile.
A charred swordsman slashes once more at Evens, hitting the large man again but instead of spurting blood it is Ysa that looks hurt. What strange magic is this!!
The burnt man holding the bag is hit and stumbles slightly before he starts to hobble off down the street while his compatriot turns to glare at Ludlow...and charge towards him!
Ysa winces, just a bit, when the sword comes down on Evens and she starts to bleed instead of his, the wrist tattoo still doing it's shimmery luminosity thing. The arrival of backup, and where his shot goes drags the Knight's attention from her own predicament, and upon spotting a figure hurrying away with a struggling bag, she curses, pivots, takes careful aim and there is another loud sound as the shotgun last takes the fellow down, fortunately missing the precious bundle. "Someone get the.. kid... dog... whatever's in there out!"
There's only one job better for Chopper than riding in the SUV. That is biting the hell out of bad guys or things. The Belgian Malinois tears out of the back door of the SUV and blows by Ludlow's side to leap up and latch a hold of the Bad Thing (tm) bothering Ysa and Evens. Pound for pound these dogs know how to move with their own kinetic energy and the latching on brings the baddie to the ground. Chomp. Grr! Chomp!
Dog? There's a dog? And he got sliced again - but it doesn't hurt. He glares at Ysa for a scant second, returning to wing a bullet off of the man assaulting him with a blade. "Time... to go..." He says, panting - blood spilling freely down his expensive clothing.
The crossbowmen finally have their strings pulled back far enough to click them into place and load another bolt. They raise their weapons...
The former Seal shifts his aim with a quick. "Thank you!" For Ysa for dropping the one that he shot. There's a sharp grunt in satisfaction as Chopper performs as a well-trained War-Dog, err K-9 should. Now for the matter of the Pete charging at him. There's no time for a quip, just barely a 'really?' look at his target before he launches a singer round from his pistol.... which doesn't finish the job. Maybe he should have grabbed the armor SMG from the SUV first? He does take a half moment to look incredulously at his pistol, as if the thing has failed him.
Max seems to be struggling a bit with crossbowmen. She's still a glowy, indistinct bronze sword wielding figure, it's just that the sword isn't doing any real work at this point. Lots of hacking and struggling is involved. As you do.
The charred swordsman on the car wasn't expecting a giant dog to attack him and he is knocked off balance and then to the street. He hacks wildly at the animal but it is no good.
The swordsmen still charges at Ludlow...it's a long way. The bowmen are ready to fill the glowing Max with steel.
"Then go!" Ysa shouts at Evens. Clearly, she has no intention of fleeing the scene. "Get back to the truck!"
Ludlow gets a terse sort of nod, acknowledgement of the thanks, but there's still badness afoot. And those crossbows are ready. "Get the bowmen, dammit, they've reloaded." She pivots, and shoots, and one of the bowmen falls. She's swearing in fluent Spanish, now, her scarred face fierce in its expression.
Without Ludlow calling the command for Chopper to stop, he does what he's trained to do. Bite the hell out of bad people. So the Pete suffers for merely existing at this point as Choppers teeth go to town, finally putting down the asshat. Chopper snarls out a challenge to whatever else may think Ysa, Evens, and Max thinks is a target. Ludlow after all, would call out if he needed Chopper. Right?
Get in the truck?! And leave her there? No self-respecting Hunter would do such a thing! Evens, being at least self-respecting, kicks the downed swordsman with a toe as the canine drops him. Then a shot is fired, clipping one of the bowmen. "You get in the truck!" That's mature.
After such a long reloading period the bowmen hope to make a good shot of it...and they sort of do. Ludlow and Evens got hit...yet Evens doesn't seem bothered. What is up with that guy!
Carla has been dispatched to check out a group of supers prowling the streets. And when she reaches the intersection she finds a battlefield. Bodies on the ground...turning to ash and blowing away with the wind...and various Hunters and token mortal battling with armor clad burned soldiers. Though the burning doesn't seem to bother them much.
"Chopper, der Angriff Bogenschtze!!" Ludlow flings out an arm towards one of the crossbowmen. But he keeps facing the charging swordsman. Time to make this shot-OUCH!! Ludlow groans as a bolt skewers him neatly, but no scream, no curse. The Seal is practicing being stoic and heroic in hopes the Hunters won't be routed. Thankfully there's cavalry for the cavalry. The Glock shifts once more, and barks with the only real authority left in the world.
A bolt is fired in Max's direction by the nearest of her crossbowmen. She turns into it and it skitters off as it passes through that glow surrounding the pink-shirted young woman. Either she's quite lucky or something is interfering. In either case she finally cleaves down into the undead monster with the bronze bladed sword and, blade buried deep into it, kicks the thing to the ground at her feet, defeated. This leaves one angry, slightly bloody Max and three more crossbowmen. The odds are improving.
The swordsman finally reaches Ludlow, swinging his blade to scratch the giant cop even as his own body starts to turn into ash.
The shot aimed at Ysa kind of grazes against her Kevlar and bounces off, but as the arrow aimed at Evens hits home, the scarred woman with the shotgun shouts in pain and staggers. She starts to back off, taking one last bead on a crossbow bearing fellow, even as blood pours from a wound that's opened up on the part of her that corresponds to where Evens was hit. "...I'm out," she says, her complexion gone rather white from blood loss and pain. "Can't take another.. sorry.." At least that shot does seem to have hit the target, and done severe damage despite her own fading strength. Down he goes.
Ah. Finally a command. Other humans to try to protect! Unfortunately, Chopper can only move so fast, so the Crossbows fire before he can lunch up and chomp on a wrist good and hard. It's not a perfect angle though and more of a glancing try than a full on attempt.
Carla drives up in a sleek back corvette. She walks out wearing sunglasses, stockings, and a short black dress. She has a giant black handbag around her shoulder. Carla, upon seeing the carnage widens her eyes. "What the hell is going on? I swear I'm going to have a very stern word with somebody at Human Resources about this." Carla pokes a high tech scope rifle out of the window of her sports car and fires one of her very expensive rounds at the sword guy.
Arrows. Two of them. Stuck in him. This is absurd! Evens has clearly had enough, and he sees that Ysa is already pretty injured. Not that he's in great shape himself. He reaches over, tugging the woman into the truck. "C'mon. Need a doctor." That's pretty damned true for both of them. That, and the truck provides more cover and protection when inside. He climbs in, wincing in pain and tries to fire up the vehicle."
The bowmen are reloading and as they do so they start to move back. Reinforcements have arrived and their priority is to get the bag to the ship. One of them drops his bow to grab the twitching bag.
Growling again as the swordsman closes to try to cleave him in twain Ludlow snaps out. "Ow! Quit it!" His arm with the Glock pulls in tight for CQB style shooting and a single round rings out... and isn't as effective as it should have been. He mumbles something about armory upgrades.
"What the fuck are you things?!" This is being screamed by a mousey girl in a pink shirt who is glowing like a bug zapper. "Put them down!" She slashes off the top of the bag now, interposing herself as best she can between it and the oncoming crossbowmen, "You can't have them."
The blade slices through the frayed material and the bag drops to the ground again...and children spill out onto the grass. Rather confused children, no older than six years old and way more in there than should fit.
Snarl! Chopper isn't playing around. His paws splay out to the widths of his own shoulders to brace. His hind legs sink down low rapidly and he lunches again at the crossbow wielder he's chosen. This time the man’s ass it seems as his jaws don't close hard and fast enough to do much other than distract and cause a little bleeding and discomfort.
Carla shoots swordguy again, grazing it with another expensive bullet and probably wasting good money. She winces at the recoil. She bites her lip. "Aw shit...why won't it die." Stupid field work. Carla still is hesitant to completely out of the very expensive looking car for obvious reasons.
The truck is started, Ysa is stable. He rolls down the window, growling and cursing in French. Evens takes one last shot - the bullet striking the monster at the base of the spine and dropping him. And then, he's driving off. Casual. Drive casual. Find a doctor and get taken care of!
What is left of the charred men...and that is only a couple...run down the street away from the humans. Not because they are frightened but because there is the toll of a bell filling the air. Even the one tussling with Ludlow is no longer interested in the policeman.
"Thaaaaaaaat's not a good sound..." Ludlow quips as he tries to catch his breath. It's amazing what crossbow bolts can do to your stamina. Not to mention what a pain in the side. He finally peers at his wound and blows it off for the moment. He heads towards the freed kids, as if having an arrow in you is normal, showing them his FPD shield. "Hi Kids, I'm Sergeant... never mind that are any of you hurt?"
"Officer? Yeah. We need to - get the kids somewhere. The police station, maybe?" Max is sheathing her sword now that the charred soldiers are running away. She squeaks a little bit. Still glowing gently. Why did she put a flashlight in her shirt anyway? If that's even the cause, of course. "Just - do you have any idea what's going on...?" She takes a deep breath, swallows hard and stows the sword in her bag quietly. "Anyway."
Carla steps out of her car with some kind of medical kit in one hand and her cell in the other. "Just try and get them in a vehicle big enough. I'll take any evidence myself if I can." As Carla steps out she starts to dial a number as she taps her foot as the dial tone rings and the rest of these people try and figure out what to do.
The two in the truck drive off slowly - blood loss and wooziness. It seems Evens and Ysa are not up for pleasantries at this moment, the two shot up, sliced up and generally unhappy about life-choices at the moment.
"Ok kids, let’s get you into that SUV over there." He indicates the department issued/borrowed SUV to the kids and puts on his best smile. "We'll get you back to your parents in no time." Truthfully. He just wishes he knew if Munin doses were safe for kids. It'd be easier to dose them and stick them back into their beds.