The time has come. After some weeks of surveillance and gathering or resources, the Hunters are heading under the library to clear out the cult that resides there. They /should/ be still there - the people watching wouldn't miss them leaving, right?
The library is under renovations so that will be the cover for the people heading down there in the middle of the night. It may also account for some loud noises but blowing up the whole building or charging around in the open with guns is a NO-NO! It's still a functioning campus.
So what is down there? At least one winged reptile that is probably a recent birth - in other words, small - and at least three armed worshippers of these reptiles. It is a maze of concrete and stone down there. No lights. Dead ends. Angry evil people.
Not being the most combat capable Hunter, Amanda is unsure of what she can contribute, but is there regardless. Bag of anti-occult goodies over her shoulder, Amanda asks her compatriots, "So, what's the plan?"
Beatrix brought herself along to the library. For a tiny thing she seems to fit the 'Muscle' role more often than not. The short little blonde did bring her shotgun and her duffel bag of ammo. There may also be dog treats cause bribing critters can help. A flashlight strapped to the weapon via duct tape. Look to the others she grins. "Well we try and be quiet as much as possible but if we find trouble before we find what we want we just shoot our way through. Hope people think it's a bunch of frat bros playing call of duty too loud in a dorm." she explains.
Aurore's in bike leathers, and for once has come prepared for danger - having swung by the largest Abernathy holding in the area, she has her own pack of esoteric goodies, as well as a boomstick similar to Beatrix's. "Once we're down in the maze, it should be deep enough no one will worry, unless they're *directly* overhead. But this is a death cult keeping man-eating horrors around. I suspect that they've produced more than a few unsettling noises already."
Other Hunters are en route to help out but the trio currently here can secure the entrances at the very least. The same door that the Scooby Duo (+ Brigitte) used on their last recon is still there and still unlocked - it's just a maintenance door after all - and the various plastic sheets around the building that close off the area under repair flap loudly in the chill wind.
The metal door screeches open to reveal the concrete maintenance corridors below the closed library. Eventually they will become stone walls and that is where the danger starts. The lights on the corridor ceilings flicker.
Walking quietly with the others, Amanda gets her camera ready. She wants at least a few photos of the place. "Hopefully big and scary isn't here," she whispers to the others.
"So sweep and clear as the Valkyries like to say!" Beat says with that French accented voice. Double checking her lever-action shotgun. "So shall we. Nice and quiet." she says softly as she lets the smarter girls lead the way since they've been here before.
"I've got a steak - wrapped up in plastic, to try to mute the smell - in case we run into him," Aurore murmurs. "But I have no idea whether it'll work. Or we have time to fumble around with anything like that. Tossing him a hunk of jerky might be more effective. Or maybe he'd be swayed by pizza...." Biting her lip, the eldest of the group still her nervous chatter, before taking a deep breath and venturing in. The shotgun, she cradles in her arms - keeping her hands well away from the trigger, lest her apprehension result in an accident.
And here comes some back-up now! With Amanda watching the escape route, Jack and Jaclyn arrive in the concrete maintenance corridors under the closed library. Aurore is the one who has been here before and is leading the towards the stone-walled old section where the cult lurk with their beasts.
A thin layer of water covers the floor as they advance warily. Lights flicker overhead - not a lot of maintenance of the maintenance corridors it seems. The air is quite chill down here but as they approach the stone section the temperature rises. A humid heat that grows with every step.
Beatrix smiles as the double J comes on down. The small blonde keeping a vanguard well enough she doesn't shoot the two. Still she keeps watch in both directions while making a scrunched up few face at the humidity. She's way too used to it being damn near frozen up above ground.
Aurore raises a hand in greeting to the new arrivals. Clad in worn old bike leathers, with her hair tightly bound back to expose the shaven sides of her head, and a shotgun cradled in her arms, she looks unusually martial... or at least markedly more butch than usual. "Hi. Death cult. Ruthless. The leader's a woman, though at least some of her followers are men. Also a giant carnivorous reptile - at least one, maybe more. Parent had a real taste for human flesh. I can take you to a ritual chamber, and to where we saw the reptile last time. Amanda'll stay on watch at the entrance, to direct any more arrivals."
Jack limps along, following behind Beatrix, holding a dufflebag full of gear over her shoulder. Everything someone needs to wreak havoc on a deathcult... or nearly any other kind of thing that goes bump in the night. "What's the layout? These damn cults like their underground mazes and stuff."
Jaclyn has her gun out and her pack all ready to go, in case of injuries. Hopefully there won't be any but, where there's a psycho, there's bound to be at least a few. The medic takes up the rear, following behind Jack and nodding to Amanda as they move past. "The female of the species..." Jace mumbles after Aurore's done talking. Then there's a slight pause, waiting on a response to Jack's question.
"It's funny how the bad guys are more likely to see to be progressives in this day and age." Beat says with a giggle. "I'm just following Aurore. My first time down these tunnels. I'm just keeping quiet. I also snagged a heap of Rex's treats. We may need them for the smaller critters." the French girl explains.
"I've got a heavily wrapped-up steak in my pack. Along with more usual ritual items. But I'm honestly not sure what might work. And I *hope* we can avoid any of the reptiles at all. The adult's quite capable of taking a grown man for a flight, before turning him into lunch." Aurore's voice is pitched low, grimness colouring its usual warmth. "And I don't know how much is down here, by way of tunnels. We ran away when the lizard found us, last time. It was chained in place, but... had some reach on it. The tunnels definitely predate the cultists coming up here. They're Mexican, in origin. Communicate using Nahuatl, as best I can make out."
Jack sighs and mutters under her breath, "why the fuck does it always have to be dark, damp, smelly tunnels. I swear, one of these days? Some cult is going to get smart and get highrise apartments. Or a penthouse suite." She drops her duffle, lightly, and starts fishing through it. The flavor of pain for this fun? The shotgun. AA12, drum holding shells, spares ready. The duffle goes back over her shoulder and she shakes it to settle the weight, then nods forward. "Who has the most expendable limbs and wants to take point?"
Jaclyn just keeps quiet, content to let everyone else do all the talking. They all sound better than she does anyway. Her cool eyes scan the tunnels, up and down, almost obsessively. "I'll hold the rear." She mumbles to Jack, falling automatically into that position anyway. She doesn't have the superior fire power of the other Hunters, just keeping her Glock at the ready.
The concrete becomes stonework. The flickering lights no longer flicker as they are no longer present. It will be the Hunter's own lights that sweep the humid darkness as they wind their way through what is rapidly becoming a maze. Was it meant to be or is it just 18th century architecture at work?
Then there is the glow of orange ahead. The flicker of a flaming torch lodged in the wall ahead. A T-junction appears. To the right is the light. To the left is darkness...where once lurked a giant reptile the last time Hunters were here. A pungent odour fills the air - animal droppings. It seems to come from the darkness.
"I'm on point for as long as I'm your guide," Aurore replies ruefully. "But we're nearing the end of what I've seen before. And the smell tells you where the critter was, last time." She nods in the relevant direction, just in case anyone's nose-blind. "We only got a little farther, down there, before we spotted people, then the reptile came out to investigate us."
"We did the high rise. Nearly died there too." Beat says at her own expense towards her sister. "Besides, high rises are more corrupt corporations." she points out. The stink of monster poo. That's nasty. Face scrunches up. "I suppose we follow our nose?" she says in a rhymed whisper.
Jack wrinkles her nose at the smell, "called it. dank. smelly." her voice doesn't carry, pitched low enough that it only goes a few feet. Shotgun is leveled and on her shoulder, though she's sweeping carefully to either side as she follows along behind Aurore. "tell me... this beast. are we out to kill it? or stay away from it? Did it look armored?"
Jaclyn also pulls a face at the smell, but like the others, doesn't allow it to deter her from the task at hand. Still maintaining her silence, and keeping her pistol ready, held down toward the ground. One shoulder moves, shifting the weight of her ruck against her back. Her booted feet moving mostly silently against the stone floor, pale eyes peering into shadows as she keeps close to the wall. At the T-junction, she'll hold position a few feet behind the group, waiting to see which direction they'll take.
"I really doubt we could take it down quietly. And it's the people who're the real threat. They brought up the parent; hatched the one we saw from an egg. They'll keep doing it. This is a religious matter, for them," Aurore explains quietly. "Expanding into new areas, away from where people're more likely to identify what's going on. And the Dawnland's too powerful to pass up as a potential site, so... welcome to Fallcoast." As she talks, Aurore switches things around - slinging her shotgun, and delving into her pack to bring out a steak. It's still wrapped up in cling-film, and shouldn't be letting slip any aromas... but it's at least ready to be torn open and tossed as a distraction. "Cultists, last time, were on down there. I can stay here and try to keep watch, and be ready to divert it, if it comes out to play."
With Aurore on watch at the T-junction and ready to take on a giant beast with a wrapped steak, the others head towards the light. The torch is in a stand in the wall just before the corridor opens out into a large room with white plastic covered objects. The chamber is illuminated by a number of torches that give everything a warm orange glow. Water drips from the ceiling. On the far side are more doors leading into darkness and in the center is a pile of plastic sheeting that covers something that could be a dais.
There is no sign of life but someone lit those torches.
Jack takes point, now that Aurore is on guard behind. That shotgun sweeps back and forth, looking for something to inflict horrible death upon. The dais gets a nod, someone will need to check that, while silently she starts examining the other doors.
Beatrix nods her head and steps aside to let her older sister take point while watch everyone's back. "Think with giant reptiles the word Crikey springs to mind. And quiet goes out the window." she says and looks around as she steps into the lit chamber. "I'll take a look at the dais. See what's there." she whispers and heads towards the objective to check it out.
Jaclyn gives a silent nod to Aurore as they leave the T-junction and head toward the chamber. Now, Jaclyn takes position at the entrance to the chamber, finding a spot of shadow to lurk in while the other two Hunters do some snooping around. Her gaze shifts between Jack and Beat, intently observing the open spaces between the pair, and keeping a sharp ear out, trying to listen beyond the dripping and the quiet crackling of the torches.
Beatrix is completely focused on the dais as she lifts up the sheeting to find a poorly put together stage that seems to be made of the wood of old chairs. It rises about three feet up and looks quite unsteady. Scrawled on the wooden surface are Mesoamerican style images of flying reptiles and sacrifices...probably not standard college decoration.
Jack wanders off to the far side of the room, footsteps clicking on the stone floor, to check out the other doors. No lit torches to show what lies down them. At least no smells either.
And that leaves Jaclyn. As she tries to hide in the darkness her eyes wander the room. Everything seems quiet and safe...but then her eyes wander upwards. The ceiling is about twenty feet high here. Their path, particularly when they reach the stone, has been sloping downwards. Above the dais, in the darkness and spread outwards, Jaclyn can see something. A shape. Is that...breathing? The shape shifts and it starts to become clearer for the watching Huntress. It is a rather large reptile...with wings...and a toothy mouth that drips saliva to hit the floor near Beatrix. It's not all water dripping after all.
Cold eyes widen as the beast takes shape in the darkness above them. "Guys! Up!" Is all Jaclyn's rough voice manages to get out, sounding loud in the relative quiet of the chamber. She's not even looking at the other two Hunters, her gun swinging up, the shot exploding sound through the room as she fires upward. Her bullet finding a gory home somewhere inside the creature’s body.
The creature certainly wasn't expecting to be shot. The bullet tears a hole in its torso that causes it to forget about biting off Beatrix's head and instead scramble away on its leathery wings. The pain is intense though and it needs to take out its anger on something...and that would be Jack. It swoops down and rakes her back with claws. Thankfully Jaclyn's warning at least allowed Jack to defend herself.
Beatrix doesn't notice a thing about the creature. The pictograms getting a hmm as she quickly grabs her phone and snaps a few photos with the camera. She might not know about this shit but she can sure as shit pass it to the Knowledge Base. The hot going off at the creature makes her jump as she has her attention taken. "Fuck!" she cries out. The shot gun is aimed as the creature slashes at her sister and the trigger pulled buckshot flying with intent.
Jack swears, loud, when the thing comes down and slashes through her armor. She staggers, but that doesn't stop her. With one fluid motion she slams her shotgun up against the beast and unloads on full burst, blasting fire and death into the monster.
Seeing Jack getting tore up by the beast, Jaclyn goes into medic-mode. She hikes up her ruck and begins moving across the chamber, heading in Jack's direction, intent on checking those nasty wounds.
The bullets and shells tear into the creature from all over and it spins into the air in an angry and pained frenzy. Ignoring Jack and Jaclyn it swoops down on Beatrix, tearing at her body with long, jagged claws.
Beatrix takes another slash. Clothes shred and there's blood oozing from the wounds a she snarls and tries to shove her shotgun into the creature to pull the trigger and get the thing to back off. For all the good it would do up close where it has the advantage.
It may have only been a flesh wound but with all the other flesh and blood it has lost it is enough to send the character spiraling to the ground. It twitches for a moment and is then still.
"Fucking hell!" is Jack's helpful exclamation, holding her wounds. She staggers back against the wall, shotgun still dangling from one hand, waiting upon Jaclyn's attentions to her injuries. She's staring at the dead lizard thing, shuddering, "who the fuck ordered the extra big purse?!"
Beatrix cheers victoriously as she looks down at the creature peppered with oh so much shot. "Don't think I'll be able to get some boots out of this thing now." she says with a giggle. The pain of getting slashed making her wince as she looks over her wounds. "Gonna need a gallon on disinfectant." she says and nibbles her lower lip.
Jaclyn is on hand. For what it's worth, anyway. Since she's closest to Jack, she motions the woman around and after dropping her ruck on the floor and pulling a pair of latex gloves over her regular gloves - in the interests of a semblance of hygiene - she begins to quickly but carefully dress the wounds. Applying a healthy amount of disinfectant and an antibiotic spray, because who knows where those claws have been! Even as she's sorting out Jack, Jace is motioning Beat over.
Jack moves her hands when she gets treated, hissing through clenched teeth. Then she's standing up a little straighter and turning her attention to the halls. Someone must have heard all of that commotion. "I thought this thing was supposed to be down the other way. Keep your eyes moving," she's limping a little more than normal, panting.
Beatrix steps over towards Jaclyn while the medic tends to her sister first. "I am so glad we met you." she says while she winces sympathetically as the disinfectant is applied. It's gonna sting come her turn. "So should we hold here for back up. I imagine we're gonna need help clearing the cultists out if we find more resistance. Figure they know we're here now! Be a good bottleneck." she points out. Even if the place really isn't!
Jaclyn finishes off Jack and turns her attention to Beat. She nods at the blond but remains silent as she gives Beat's wounds the same treatment - just with a fresh pair of gloves. Liberal antiseptic application, followed by antibiotic spray and coverings. "Too many doors." Jace mumbles, packing away all her gear, and re-shouldering the ruck. She checks over her gun and nods back toward the way they came in. "There'd be better, but only if we're sure the way behind is clear."
Jack looks over her shoulder, back towards the exit. "Which way are we going, backing out and retreating, or clearing out this den of nasty and then going out for drinks?" Sure, she's wounded and parts of her are held together with bandaids, but that doesn't mean she's ready to just call it quits.
Footsteps. Approaching in the dark corridors that lead off the chamber. They are running. Multiple. Perhaps three or four pairs but hard to tell with the echoing tunnels.
"Oh yeah, we pissed people off." Beat says as she reloads her shotgun and looks around for some good cover. "Well at least there's no shots coming from Aurore and Amanda so far. We'll probably need to check on them after this." she says and racks a shell before loading the last.
"Falling back to a more defensible position... not retreating." Jaclyn mutters, eying Jack and Beat, "We need cover." With her gear ready to go, the medic heads off across the chamber, moving away from the approaching footsteps, but keeping watchful eyes scanning between all the exits and entrances to the chamber. Her weapon at the ready to hopefully blast away any would be attacker that might be approaching.
It doesn't take long for Jack to size up the situation. She motions to one doorway that she can hear boots coming down and says, "Take that one. both of you. Back's to the wall, use the edges for cover." She moves to her own doorway, braced next to it, peeking around to watch for when boots resolve into people. "I need to get those damn frags, this would be perfect for them right now."
Beat gets into position as Jack directs. The doorway itself used as cover as best she can, setting up so she can better aim and pop to shoot as needed. "I know right. I'd settle for some flashbangs or noise makers. All we got at the moment is potential for bags of flaming poop and I don't thing these guys would stop to stomp it out."
Jaclyn frowns a little at the directive, but does as she's told and moves up to fall in beside Beat on the opposite side of their door. She keeps eyes on Jack's side of the chamber though, that's where the easiest shots will be. Automatically, the medic drops to a knee, making herself a smaller target, hopefully.
The thud of boots comes closer. The wayward beams of flashlights criss-cross in the dark and suddenly they are there. Two armed men in each hallway, running towards the large chamber. They all have pistols in their hands but thankfully are only in robes rather than armour.
Beatrix gets a glimpse of her first cultist down the hall as they come. Leveling her shotgun and popping out from cover to fire her shot at her target. getting back in cover just as quick she racks the next round into its chamber.
Hearing the gunfire nearby, the lead Cultist slows down his approach to where Jack lurks. His compatriot in the other hallway, hit by Beatrix's shotgun blast, reels to the side and attempts to fire back. His bullet glancing harmlessly off the stone wall.
Three, two, one, Jack can hear the boots pounding down the hallway. She swings out, levels the gun to her shoulder and slams the trigger back, filling the air with fire and bladed death. Teeth gritted, trying to ignore the pain from her earlier wounds, it throws her aim off a little. Muttering under her breath, "die... assholes."
The asshole did not quite die...but he's certainly trying to find cover! His associate opens fire on Jack. The bullet sending a chunk of stone to slash open the woman's face.
In the other tunnel, the second Cultist opens fire on Beatrix. The bullet managing to graze her even as she hides in cover.
Jaclyn waits until Beat is back in cover before shifting from her position near the ground, aiming and firing at the cultist that Beat just shot. She gives a grunt of satisfaction, seeing the guy go down like a rock as she shifts back into cover.
Glancing shots are nothing to sneeze at. Just enough of her peeking at the corner even pushing through the stone/brickwork gets a lick of the French girl. "Ow! When Jaclyn drops her first target she takes a breath and pops, taking a shot and levelling it at the second cultist as her weapon echoes down the hall the Cultist came from.
The cultist’s head dissolves into a fountain of blood. There are no cultists threatening Jaclyn and Beatrix anymore. Jack, however, is shot at once more and the bullet slams into her vest. There are still two cultists working their way forward to take her down.
A snarl comes from Jack as she starts getting hit with bullets and stone fragments. She waits for a pause in the shooting and then dashes around the corner. Down to one knee, shotgun to shoulder. A breath in, exhale, and then she unloads the rest of her drum down the hallway. Death, fire and metal, fill the hallway, then she's rolling back to the side again. One of them... well, with that much metal in the air there isn't much left.
The shotgun blasts chunks out of the cultists. One is splattered against the wall while the other is spun about by the impact yet still manages to get a shot off. Another graze of Jack's armour. He staggers over to a wall, taking out a phone.
Seeing as Beat takes out the last of the cultists on their side, Jaclyn starts heading across the chamber in Jack's direction. She watches the other Huntress take down one of her targets, and injure the other. Jace brings up her gun, as the last one standing pulls out his phone, she takes him down too, a satisfying explosion of gunpowder and blood. She barely pauses in her movement, passing Jack and heading straight for her now dead target, obviously intent on something.
Jack drops the drum out of her rifle and slams a new one in its place. Down the hallway is checked, then she sets down her shotgun and brings out the knife. She's bringing something back from this mess, that's for sure. "Lets get what we can and get out of here. Going for his phone, Jaclyn?" Down to one knee she goes, carving out pieces from the lizard. A tooth, one of the eyes, heart, whatever she thinks the people back home will need and want to test or experiment with. All while watching out of the corner of her eye to make sure nothing sneaks up.
Beatrix with the cultists dead she grins victoriously. "How long you think we'll need to keep this up till we bait the big fish?" she asks as she watches Jack get her trophy slash parts. "We need more plastic bags. Could get some of the boys to drag the rest out after?" she suggests to her sister. Jaclyn getting more smiles as well. "You doing okay?"
Jaclyn heads down the passage, giving Jack a brief nodded answer as she passes. The medic snatches up the phone and checks both bodies for anything useful before moving back into the main chamber. She watches Jack carving up the beast and looks over her and Beat, checking for any other major injuries. Glancing over at Beat as the blond addresses her, Jace nods silently. The phone disappears into the ruck and a small silver flask is pulled from a pocket, from which a hefty swig is taken.
After hauling out her trophies Jack gives the beasty a short, sharp kick, then puts a hand over her bandages. "Yeah, I'm okay. Armor caught most the flak." Limping she makes her way back the way they came in, "think there's more of these guys further down there? We might need a tact team to come in and just purge the whole place."
There is not much on the bloodied cultists except a tunic and a loincloth...where that phone came from should probably remain a mystery. He did manage to get it unlocked before being killed so there could be some handy info there.
Beatrix grins as the phone is grabbed. "Something for everyone." she says with a grin. "So shall we keep holding for now? Till more guns and people with less holes comes in." she asks the others. "Or get away from the smell. Damn I am amazed we haven't set the place on fire from the fumes."
"I say we leave for now." Jaclyn replies, and she starts heading back the way they came, falling in behind Jack. "Need to find someone to take the phone off me though. I'm not tech-savvy." Understatement of the century, the medic doesn't even own a smart phone.
"We'll be back, I'm sure. Let’s just hope they can't grow one of those," she nods to the savaged remains of the beast, "overnight. Damn, do I hate cultists." Limping away Jack makes her way down the tunnel to collect their allies. They'll be back. "And next time? grenades. Lots of grenades. Like, Christmas. But bad little boys get grenades instead of coal."