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[5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem

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rednblack:
2 DEC, 2074 2206

<<@Team [3L1] GridGuide has us at 17 min. out.  We'll be there in 10.  Lock and load, chummers.>>

The GMC Bulldog tears along east on the 520 with an empty driver's seat.  Stake sits shotgun, with a perfect view of the rain and taillights of the other motorists as the big van passes on the left, then the right, then the right again.  Elijah, it seems, is not one to take traffic laws even as suggestions.  Still, he comes highly recommended, and while his meat body is absent, the rigger has plenty of nuyen staked on this gig.  Near the back door, sitting between Achak and Sister Rebecca, Elijah has a Nissan Roto-drone and a Lockheed Optic-X2, both armed to the chips by the look of things.  A Shin-Hyung ahead of them brakes, hard, and the Bulldog skids to the left, a controlled use of hydro-planing, if there is such a thing, and the Bulldog roars past the smaller sedan.  The Shin-Hyung guns it again, and Stake can barely make out the faces of the driver and rear passenger through the rain-slicked windows.  Elves, and gangers by the look of them, but a brief glance back up at Stake makes them think twice, and the driver peels off to find easier prey.  The car behind them backs off as well, as do two motorcycles to the front.  No doubt about it, these guys are organized, but why risk getting the drek shot out of you when there are plenty of easier targets also making their way to the Barrens on a beautiful Sunday night?

A minute or two passes with only the sound of the van's powerful engine and rain to complement the runners' thoughts.  The lit up AROs on the side of the highway gives way to black as the van passes over from Bellevue to Redmond, and Stake goes through the plan one last time.  If the Yaks who fed them the info were on the up-and-up they can count on at least two vampires, possibly three.  The brood has taken over a six-story apartment complex, with a club on the lower levels.  Upstairs will be the tricky part, but with multiple entrances, and the intel saying that the vampires inhabit a number of the rooms, it should be possible to focus fire and take them down one at a time.  By all accounts, they should be freshly turned.  Living above a club, feasting on low-level corpers and SINless alike, as they make they way through Touristville, sticking together near the top floors of a residence, none of these things point to vampires who have had time to hone their survival skills. 

The other side of the coin, and there's always another side, is that they haven't most likely been able to regulate their hunger yet.  Drunk on their power, these are vampires likely to feed to near bursting, becoming faster or stronger than anything in their path, bending mana to their will, even if they were not awakened before.  Yes, like baby rattlesnakes, they can be agile and vicious, and like baby rattlesnakes, they're best dealt with when young.

Achak gently handles his gunstock club, careful to keep it clear of the drones.  He eyes Sister Rebecca across from him, trying to keep any stench of paternalism out of his expression, but he can't help but wonder if her first run out with this team will be her last, and if so, if it will be his fault that she will end up lying bloodied and lifeless.  No, he won't let that happen again.  This time it will be all business and no pride.  Mentally, Achak goes through the layout again, knowing that he'll probably be taking point, making the way silently so that the rest of the team can follow.

Sister Rebecca is feeling refreshed, though on edge.  A little less than two hours before the first day of Advent is over, and she's spent a good deal of last night and early this morning at the church, preparing for the Midnight Mass, partaking in it, and then spending some of the wee hours of the morning in prayerful reflection.  She's glad for it, and glad for being able to get some sleep, however fitfully, before tonight's business that lies ahead.  Here is the chance to prove herself to Stake.  She wasn't sure if he was a believer or not, but few have been in the business as long as he, and she thinks back to Matthew 7:16 "By their fruits you will recognize them."

Tecumseh:
Achak privately wonders if hunting vampires on a Sunday is a violation of the Sabbath or a way to honor it and keep it holy. But pastors, preachers, and priests work on Sundays, do they not? As do doctors, detectives, and other defenders of the peace and public health. Best not to be too literal about it.

He's feeling confident. A hit in the Barrens means that he can wear his full body armor without drawing the ire of Knight-Errant or corp sec or anyone else in a position to object. He likes the suit for its full chemical seal, not that he's worried about this brood hitting him with Retro, or Rock, or any of the other drugs that more experienced vampires use to immobilize their prey.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me.

He spins the gunstock club like a top, his finger resting lightly on top to keep it upright. Best to keep things quiet, if possible. Hopefully the club won't be crowded on a Sunday night, not that residents of the Barrens have traditional workweeks. Maybe the corporate drones will be at home, at least. Still, no need to go in noisy and cause a stampede. An establishment like this may or may not have adequate emergency exits.

He supposes he'll be climbing the exterior. Hopefully there will be fire escapes to make the ascent easier. He has gecko tape gloves but they're worthless in rain like this.

He feels the DNI connection through his helmet, sees Elijah's updates. He closes his eyes, mentally feeling the presence of Sister Rebecca's magic: herself, her Blade of Gabriel. It is both a comfort and a constraint to have her here. Her gifts were a reassurance, but he would feel responsible for her the entire time. Or perhaps the Lord had allowed the last man, Yohan, to be killed? To humble Achak and to make straight the way for Sister Rebecca. Mysterious ways.

Achak finds himself unconsciously palming a popper of Jazz. A poor habit, one born out of the death of Yohan. Now is not the time. Too early for one, bad for stealth for the other. Good to have it on hand in case the younglings, full of innocent blood and souls, were more formidable than expected, but not necessary just yet. Yet.

Tecumseh:
Achak looks over at Sister Rebecca and considers her situation. He tries to remember his first hunt. It was easy for him - he is well-suited for the work - but better to convey a sense of measured caution rather than unwarranted confidence.

"They look like you and me," he says, breaking the silence. "Sharp incisors but nothing more. You must ready yourself to kill what looks like a man but is not a man. Or perhaps they are men, the descendants of Cain. Fugitives and vagabonds, eternally spilling their brother's blood."

He lets the thought hang. He's guessing that she doesn't need much convincing to kill a vampire, but the distinction is not always so obvious. She should ready herself for the task of stabbing someone that looks, sounds, and feels like a man. Or woman, or child.

"Your vision - the Lord's insight into the hearts of men - will help you. I do not have it, but I have been told that they look like two men combined into one. The soul of the one trapped in the other. They will be dual-natured, and will know when they have been spotted. They can sell their souls - their own and those stolen - for power: to become incredibly fast or strong in a single second. You must always be on your guard. Keep that in front of you" - he indicates the Blade of Gabriel - "and all will be well."

8-bit:

--- Quote from: rednblack on ---<<@Team [3L1] GridGuide has us at 17 min. out.  We'll be there in 10.  Lock and load, chummers.>>
--- End quote ---

Stake manages to be mildly amused as he watches Elijah duck in and out of traffic. He was better than any taxi driver he knew. That was such a long time ago, in a completely different world. He imperceptibly shakes his head to get rid of the thought. He has a plan he needs to make up. He had gone over the general stuff with Achak, and had a short conversation with Elijah and Sister Rebecca, just to find out what they could do, but they still needed a plan. All the magic and technology in the world wouldn't save them without a plan.

He shot a brief glance back at Achak, as he turned to talk to their "magical support". He was worried about her; he knew Elijah was professional, but you never knew with the religious types. It took him a while to get used to Achak, hopefully it would be easier this time. Achak was covered in his body armor, and spinning his club like a dreidle. Definitely not the subtlest attire he could have come with.

Still, there were ways to work around that. Stake silently created a plan in his head, having his commlink inscribe his thoughts. He revised it over and over as the other's talked.

It didn't take long, he had done this many times before. About 5 minutes later, he composes all his thoughts into something understandable and sends out:

<<@Team [Stake] All right, here's the plan folks. It's pretty straightforward, and should be easy to accomplish. The full thing will be attached, but here's what we're doing.

First, we're going to make sure we know where the exits are on the building, and we are going to secure them with 3L1's drones. We don't want the vampires to be able to leave. We'll then clear the basement and first two floors with the help of Sister's spirits. After we have those floors cleared, we'll have the spirits find where in the building the vampires are, so that we don't have to comb each room individually. They may notice the spirits, but by that point they won't have any exits to take advantage of. We can flush them right to us, or if we're lucky, we can just find them and take them down.

Attachment: Plan.ARO>>

He traces the outline of his mask, and then lightly touches the silver ring he wore on his right hand. It was a small habit of his, to hold onto the little that truly remained his own. They brought back memories, so many memories, but he fought them down. He had a job to do.

He called out to the two in the back, "If there's one thing to remember, don't flinch when they attack. Achak is right, they may look like normal people, but they aren't. We'll be sticking together for the most part, but just keep that in mind; it might save your life."

Poindexter:
For the first time she can remember, the short, stocky human known as Sister Rebecca feels nervous before a mission. It's not the fact that she's facing an enemy she's not suited for or prepared against. The lord has given me strength to stand against the wicked in all its forms. It's not that this is the first time she's ever had to keep anyone else safe while on a mission either. She'd been trained for this sort of thing, but as of yet, had not been assigned to perform such a task. She wasn't sure whether that fact had been due to her exceptional skill as a demon hunter or to the jealousy and disdain Marcus felt for her. She always suspected that he only gave her the most dangerous missions in hopes that she would be killed or maimed in some way, but so far, she'd always come back with all her limbs intact; a fact that had always seemed to irk him. No, she had actually felt pretty good about this assignment until just a few hours ago.

"Be certain that no harm befalls the lost brothers on their hunt," he'd said to her during their VR meet early this morning. After that conversation, she'd taken a taxicab straight to the airport and gotten on a plane for Seattle. When a nice towncar came to pick her up from the airport, she'd wondered what sort of "lost brothers" she was dealing with anyway. Marcus had always been stingy with actual explanations for things, so she wasn't terribly surprised to find that they were just a pair of bounty hunters. The leader, an elf named Stake was the single most augmented living thing she'd ever seen. She remembers estimating that he was probably faster than some demons she'd faced. Like most elves she'd met, he had no strong opinion either way on religion, standing in stark contrast to the other member of the team, a human and recent convert named Achak. He was a big guy, with rather attractive and chiseled native american features. So, technically yes, they are lost brothers, just not in the shaved-headed-monestary sort of way Marcus had hinted at. The good lord has seen fit to test me with lesser adversities so that I might overcome the great ones.

After being briefed on the mission specifics back at the groups staging area and informed just how many spirit services would be required, Sister Rebecca balked. She'd need more holy water than she typically carried with her. Luckily, it would be easy to get. After a call, Marcus had put her in touch with a church nearby that could part with some, but for an increased price. The driver Stake had hired for the run tonight gave her a ride to the church where she'd slotted all but her last 10 on their credstick with a smile and a "God bless you." in exchange for two mid-sized vials of holy water. These, plus what I brought with me, ought to be enough. Once back at the staging area, she had excused herself to a private area to summon and bind an Angel of Fire to her for the evening. This is where things started to go bad for her.

The summoning went without a hitch. In short order, a magnificent humanoid wreathed in blue flame and with eyes of thunder hovered in the air before her. "Great Gadreel, singer in the heavenly choir and supporter of all good works!" She spoke to him with her astral voice. "I offer you this holy water in exchange for extensive services this evening, for the minions of Lucifer have dug a deep nest for themselves and the faithful shall need the vigilant light of the Lord if they are to cleanse it in his glorious name." Gadreel gives her a benevolent smile for just a moment before a wave of force erupts from the bottles of holy water, shattering them and sending shards of glass flying in all directions. Rebecca had reacted quickly, covering her face with her hands so as to avoid any serious dmg, but her jacket was a little scruffy looking and her hands were simply covered in blood and small shallow cuts. As she realized what had happened, she started to become upset. Fake holy water? How could Marcus DO that to me? Before her depression can grow any further, Gadreel extends one of his flame wreathed hands down to her, helping her up as she takes it in hers. "Fear not, faithful one," he says to her in a regretful tone. "You were not deceived. The water was not counterfeit; it had merely been improperly stored. That poor impoverished church simply lacks the resources to do so correctly. Perhaps your contribution tonight may help them remedy that. Nevertheless, I shall be with you until the morning, but there shall be no extensive services. Now, go and rest, for tonight shall tax us both."

She'd only had time for one hour of sleep before Stake said they needed to move, so she reclined on an easy chair near a trid projected pool table and was granted one of the most restful single hours of sleep she'd ever had in her life. Not only did she awake fresh and ready to go, feeling at 100% capacity, but she found that the cuts on her hands had been healed as well. She suspected Gadreel but didn't ask.

Five minutes later, she's fully strapped up and buckled into the backseat of 3L1's bulldog next to a pile of heavily armed drones. She's conscious to keep her limbs away from them, just in case they need to launch quickly or something like that. Without a lot of experience with drones, Sister Rebecca isn't quite sure what to expect from them. Better safe than sorry. She keeps both hands on her sheathed sword in front of her, point on the floor or the van and listens as Stake runs down the plan one last time for them. After that, there's a little bit of chatter amongst the team as they tear through the sprawl toward their destination, but she keeps quiet, trying to absorb as much as she can before the time of reckoning is at hand.



--- Quote from: 8-bit on ---"If there's one thing to remember, don't flinch when they attack. Achak is right, they may look like normal people, but they aren't. We'll be sticking together for the most part, but just keep that in mind; it might save your life."

--- End quote ---

She puts her helmet on over her short blonde hair, fires up the trodes in her armorjacket, and turns on all of her wireless gear. She makes eye contact with each member of the team, an expression of calm set on her prominent jawed face.


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