Over the weekend the Society started getting reports on strange occurrences in the closed down Eden Nature Park. Something about zombie...animals. A Channel 31 reporter was on site so no doubt there will be news reports any minute now but a group of Hunters have been gathered to check it out before the place is flooded with the stupidly curious; TFV can work on taking care of the reports.
Brigitte is there as the 'muscle'. Clad in biker leathers and with a shotgun resting on one shoulder, she looks over the entrance to the park and into the darkness beyond. There is very little moonlight and a heavy fog is already rising from the wet earth. And it looks like it could rain any minute. The others are here to use their respective skills; the Cheiron scientist, the Zero documentarian and the Loyalist Thaumaturge. "I guess we get in and out before the sun comes up. See if we can get any proof of...whatever it is we need proof of." To the two she knows she adds, "I couldn't find Carla but this is Kian repping the Cheiron." Brigitte makes quick introductions before checking to see whether the gate is locked...nope. "Guess people left in a hurry."
Aurore's also in biker leathers, as her best approximation of combat gear... but she seems to be armed with nothing more than a small backpack, a flashlight, and a basic work-knife. "Can't imagine why," the native says dryly, flashing a wry smile to Brigitte. "As ever, the standard warning: even if I *can* do anything against whatever's in here, I can't do it quickly. But I can act as a rudimentary trouble-detection device, if they're the right or wrong kinds of things. Corpses possessed by spirits or ghosts, I'll be able to sense as they get near. If they're being... telekinetically manipulated by someone using her own will, however, we're out of luck on that front."
Kian gets out his Audi and looks around at the odd area then looks at the dossier he was given then looks around again "Not even finished unpacking yet. I hate zeds. All the goo makes it a bitch to work with and I always gotta buy new shoes." sighing as he doesn’t even look like he’s armed. he doesn’t reach into his car to get a gun, he’s not wearing body armor and instead is wearing some black jeans, a pair of workboots, and a Manchester united jersey. All in all he doesn’t look like a scientist. He looks like he was in a pub when he got called.
Amanda has her usual bag of anti-spoopy-measures loops over one shoulder, and carrying a dual-function camera to document what's going on. "Yeah, this is how zombie outbreaks happen. People leave in a hurry, leave vital doors and gates open and unlocked, then the Zacks get through." Looking to the others, she says, "If things get too bad and we need to run away, try to keep up."
Brigitte swings open one of the mesh fences and warily steps into the park proper. "What if they are not possessed or telekinetically manipulated?" she asks Aurore before looking over at Kian. "You are the scientist, oui? Any theories?" She has a French accent and has spent plenty of time in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Enough time for her to add, "Man U? Really? Did you lose a bet?" She straps a flashlight to her shotgun and flicks it on, the light sweeping the rough trail that passes as a road through the park. A winding road hemmed in by tall trees and bordered by enclosure fences - though some have fallen under the weight of foliage. "Make sure you close the gate behind you then, Amanda" she smiles.
Kian gives Brigitte a bet "Careful there, lass. You can like whatever shit team you like but you don’t fuck with the Mighty Reds." in semi decent humor about it. He pads into his pockets and pulls out a cigarette smoking as they go inside making a mental note to make Brigitte cry later.
"What, he should be supporting Paris Saint-Germain?" Aurore's French pronunciation is smoothly fluent, as she offers Brigitte another grin, flipping her own flashlight into life - but keeping the beam pointed firmly down to illuminate their footing. "And... well. I'll sense ghosts or spirits, unless they've fully bonded with the bodies. If they're *merged* with them, rather than just along for the ride, I should pick them up. Some can actively try to hide, of course, but very few do so when riding a body. If it's anything else using bodies as meat puppets, I probably won't sense it. But if we see some, and they *don't* trigger those particular sensations, then that's some new information for us anyway."
Amanda does go through the gate last, and closes and locks it behind her as best she can. "Every little helps, Aurore," she says to her ass-tastic friend. "Yeah, I'm a big fan of the way the players of that one team do the thing with the ball," she adds, having no clue about football.
Kian snickers at Aurore "Oh I like her, Got some energy." He goes in after the rest of them "This is nice innit? Get called away from a nice drink for a plane like this at night."
"St. Etienne" Brigitte grins at Aurore before shrugging at Kian's threats. She could go on about Man U's recent brilliance but they can talk about that post-mission at the alcohol based debrief. "Okay, so if you don't pick up on anything, Aurore, then it could be a disease? Or it could be a bunch of panicky tourists confusing bad breath for the scent of death. Reminds me of this guy I knew in Somalia..." A fond smile for Amanda's knowledge of football before she is leading the way down the path. There are a number of buggies parked nearby...some spattered in blood...but they'd be too noisy to use and who knows if they'd even start. "It happens a lot, Kian" she sighs about the missing out on drinks. "So you just make up for it when you can."
"Yeah, there are some parasites and diseases that can cause zombie-like conditions, but nothing that causes something to die then start craving brains," Amanda explains. "When something dies, it typically stays dead, unless something supernatural happens."
"Thankfully," Aurore says firmly, peering around. "If we're very lucky, this - whatever it is - will have drawn the interest of some talkative spirits. Unusual, emotion-filled events tend to grab the attention of the spirit world. But I'm not hearing anything chattering away as yet. Nor am I sensing ghosts. But... yeah. I need to work on being able to sense more things, ideally."
"You guys are the clever ones" Brigitte shrugs at Amanda. "So I'm happy to bow to your knowledge but there are more things in Heaven and Hell then...something. As long as I can take it down then I don't care what got it to stand up in the first place." The Frenchwoman has always been blunt. The flashlights continue to light the pitted trail that doesn't seem to have been maintained in a long time. It is quiet. Very quiet. No nocturnal animals can be heard. Only the sound of their feet on the road. The fog curling around their legs as they go deeper into the park along the winding path.
Kian quirks a brow "Oh uh if your gonna do the whole spirit thing you should keep 'em away from me. They don’t like me."
"Is it usually this quiet in here?" Amanda asks, before muttering, "Feel like I'm walking into a horror movie here." She looks round in the night, hoping to see /something/.
"No, it's not normally this quiet," Aurore says ruefully. "I'd expect there to be *some* spirits around, usually... but I rather have the impression there's nothing alive - human or otherwise - to hold their interest. One ghost up ahead, however. If you want me to be able to have a chat, then unless he can manifest I'll need a minute to prepare."
"Ghost?" Brigitte sighs and then nods. "Okay, do what you gotta do, Aurore. Let's see what the ghost knows." She raises her shotgun to sweep her flashlight above the fog that glows silver as it reflects the light. "Are you filming all this, Amanda? Kian, you need to take samples of anything?" And then there is a sound...like a wet mop being dragged across a rough road. A sloppy scraping noise that is approaching them from within the fog.
Kian looks around the place while they walk keeping back now he knows there’s spirits. They don’t bug him but they freak out around him "You know I’ve never been to a nature park before without a churro..." mixing up zoo's and nature parks. And a love of churros.
"Just a sec," Amanda says, setting the camera to record. "Ok, stay out of shot guys," she says before she starts filming the area, especially the fog ahead.
Aurore nods apprehensively, peering futilely in the direction of the sloppy scraping noise. "That doesn't sound good," she mutters - but seems to trust her companions enough to set about attempting to enter a light trance. Fortunately, it seems that whatever she's attempting is *not* one of her lengthier and more formal rituals, instead involving a bit of muttering without any need to sketch out ritual circles or the like.
Brigitte moves to the side of Amanda to keep out of the camera sight but also close enough to watch over her. As Aurore begins her ritual, Brigitte concentrates on the sound that is coming closer and closer...though very slowly. Lighting up the fog in the direction of the noise they can see what looks to be a white shape moving through it like a shark through the water. If the shark was stumbling and crawling. "Any ideas what that is?"
"Ghost were-sharks," Amanda whispers quietly, as she films said ghost were-shark. Beyond that, she shakes her head, having no legit ideas as to what it is.
Kian just hangs back for now looking oddly and rather annoyingly calm for a situation like this. Not that he has a gun, he does look over at the others and asks off handedly "Anyone got any spare artillery?"
For her part, as she warned she would, Aurore continues to mutter and attempt to work her thaumaturgy....
The shape gets closer and closer. It glistens...dew upon what looks to be hairs. It is broad too but not very long. The thing lifts its head - a polar bear. A decaying, rotted polar bear with half eaten intestines hanging from its maw. It is using its long claws to sink into the trail and drag itself towards the quartet. It does not walk on all fours and the reason is because the rear half is only represented by entrails that spill out of torn flesh and drag along behind it. This is what happens after a truck runs over half of it.
Amanda makes a face of disgust at the Polar Bear, and takes a step back, but keeps filming it.
This might be one of the few points in time at which it's advantageous to one's equilibrium to be able to see *intangible* dead things. As Aurore's vision 'clears', she acquires a degree of detachment from the horrors now manifest in the tangible realm - with her sight overlaid with Twilight, the mangled polar bear is somewhat blurred, the details harder to make out. And what she *can* see of it gives her precious little desire to discern more.
"Bear's not the ghost," Aurore provides, a little hoarsely, as she backs up a few steps. "There's a witness to what happened here, on the dead side of things. Looks thoroughly confused. And as if he got caught in a stampede. But I've no idea what's animating the bear."
Kian quirks a brow at that thing "If it’s not a ghost or a spirit it’s probably some kind of paracreature parasite. I’ve seen these before. The trick is headshots or fire. And if you see anything that looks like a bee don’t get stung by it." ...dead rising for the win?
"A bee?" Brigitte doesn't get science. "Headshots I understand though. At least this thing isn't moving very quick. Who needs pieces?" She walks towards the bear, shotgun aimed at its head with every step. It does not roar. It doesn't even seem to notice her until she has the muzzle on the creature's forehead. The shotgun roars and the head spatters over the road. The half-body (minus head) crawls forward another 'step' before tottering over onto the ground. "Okay...take what you need" she smiles to the others. "Can you talk to the ghost?" she asks Aurore, "Certainly help with what..." The tops of the trees around them start to shake. Dark shapes leap from branch to branch. Reflective dead eyes staring down at them.
Shaking her head slightly in hope of clearing the after-effects of the shotgun's report, Aurore does her best to ignore the horrific mess of the polar bear's remains, she cautiously moves towards the ghost - attempting to catch his attention, so that she can find out whether he's nothing but an echoed reflection, or if he actually possesses awareness and the capacity for conversation. Then she realises that much of the blurry background up above seems to be in motion in the physical side of things. "Do we need to get out of here?"
Kian tries to get behind someone else so he doesn’t get any red on him "Piece as in bear piece or piece as in shooter? Because if there’s more of those I could use a gun."
"Bear piece" Brigitte replies while staring up at the eyes. "Amanda...grab your camera and get out of here...but keep filming." She reaches under her jacket and pulls a pistol from a shoulder holster that she tosses over to Kian. "Try not to shoot yourself" she whispers.
The ghost is suddenly aware of Aurore's presence and peers at her. "I got run over..." he whimpers, "By a rhino!" Above them, dropping from branch to branch, are small monkeys - dead ones.
Kian actually catches the thing with relative ease and checks the safety and the slide to make sure its in good order. He doesn’t hold it like an amateur "Babe that only happened once." clearly joking.
"If you're to run lab tests or anything, I'd grab a few hunks right now," Aurore directs to her living-side companions, before refocusing upon the ghost. "I am so sorry. If you go to the gates of the park, I'll talk to you there, and I can try to help you. But we need to get out of here at the moment. It's dangerous, as you found out. But I'll try to help, I promise."
"Grab what you're grabbing but we really need to move" Brigitte urges the others as the first monkeys hit the ground...and promptly disappear under the fog. The creatures are silent but the scraping of their claws on the ground can be barely heard above the Hunter's breathing.
The ghost nods to Aurore. "Yeah...okay..." And then promptly starts walking in the wrong direction.
Kian takes out one of those thick biohazard sample bags from his pocket and uses it to collect some brain really carefully before heading over to Aurore while making sure none of the goop got on his hands. The whole time he keeps the gun low and to his side.
"No! Follow us, if you can!", Aurore directs to the poor, confused ghost... before jumping in surprise as her blurry physical-side senses inform her that someone's coming close. "Are we ready to go? It'd be good if someone led the way for me. I don't want to take a wrong turn while trying to watch both sides at once."
Kian looks over at her "Honestly how do you expect me to know where to go? I got a sample I'd say we leg it and you call in your cozzer buddies to deal with these things." Clearly misunderstanding the military position of Valkyrie.
"Kian! Lead the way and I'll take the rear" Brigitte tells the other two as monkey tails pop up through the fog around them like periscopes. "I suggest we run as fast as we can."
Kian turns and moves to head out towards the gate then but while he does they might notice something odd, the wind and fog around him gets whipped up and faces keep randomly appearing in the fog. They don’t seem to be hurting him though.
Aurore lets Kian get a few paces of head-start, just to be sure that she doesn't pile into the back of him should he stumble or be slower than expected, then hares off after him. Fortunately, her tweaked perceptions don't interfere with her ability to run, and she's able to pick out the path without difficulty.
Kian moves ahead of them towards the front gate with the gun ready, he doesn’t want to get attacked by zombie monkeys. this isn’t pirates of the Caribbean.
With Amanda far ahead of them, the other three start to sprint back towards the entrance while being pursued by dead monkeys with bodies rotting so badly that they leave bits of them behind. One even has its tail fall off along the way. Thankfully this makes it easier for the group to outrun them...as long as they don't drop out of the trees around them. Thankfully Amanda has the gate open and ready for them.
The ghost however, seems to have wandered off despite Aurore's pleas.
Aurore is more than a little relieved to make it out - and to have had confirmation that the past few months of fitness work have indeed got her into good enough shape that she can easily keep up with at least a couple of her fellow hunters. Once outside, she peers around, searching rather forlornly for any sign of the ghost she spoke to... before sighing, shaking her head, and allowing the layered second sight to drop. "That... was unpleasant. And there is no way that anything should rot so swiftly. Hopefully something can be gleaned from a laboratory analysis."
Kian gets out and looks back "hmm Now I know why Jack Sparrow hated that money..." He looks at his sample and sighs "I hate zombie samples. Never know when your gonna catch me the next day saying 'send more paramedics'"
Aurore snerks, then shakes her head. "Hopefully not. But... there's something going on there. It could potentially be ghostly or spiritual in origin - but it'd have to be something seriously potent to make a long-lasting change in the physical realm. So... hopefully, there's something rather more 'mundane' behind a fast-rotting zombie outbreak... Y'know, sometimes I wonder why I came back to Fallcoast..."
Once Brigitte is through, Amanda slams the gate closed behind them. The monkeys slow and then disperse back into the trees and mist. "I guess something is happening up here" she offers, trying to catch her breath. "I'll leave the analysis to you guys but we might want to organise some surveillance of this place." She glances up and down the fence. "And hope there aren't any holes in the fence."
Kian looks over "Didn’t a four year old recently get into a gorilla habitat? I’m pretty sure zombie monkeys can get out."
"The way those things were disintegrating, I suspect that even a minor obstacle could be a major hindrance," Aurore muses. "But... yeah. Surveillance would definitely be good, alongside the research. But I don't think there's much we can do here tonight. Glad we all got out, and with some evidence."