The Contingent

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Contingent Version

Continuation of Wayne and Taz chat:

“Ok, so who are we talking about here?”

Mages:

Well, first we’ve got a couple of mages, Whim and Forrest. They can be confusing as hell when you try to talk to them, but they’re honest allies.

Whim is the one I’ve known the longest; she’s one of the kids that got taken and fucked up by Project Chimera, so now she’s got the ability to alter Fate. She’s always been a friend to me, and she’s helped us find out needed information on what the bad guys are doing, but she’s pretty ruthless in her methods. She’s not that choosy about damaging people to achieve her ends. At the same time, when we almost lost Claire to the soul machine, she sensed our attempts to anchor ourselves and gave crucial help. She can help us leverage the odds more to our favor, solidify our senses of destiny. Seems pretty important right now, you know?

Forrest …have you met him? He’s a trip, literally. That flaming interdimensional rock that put us in the astral plane was something he picked up while he was wandering through…places. He’s a mage of mind and space, and has been working with the Empire for longer than he realizes. So, kind of like me. That last part. I don’t usually help people transcend planar boundaries. He smells like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I try not to take deep breaths around him in case I end up in another dimension, to be honest. Really nice guy, good-hearted, wants to do the right thing. Also spaced out from all those drugs, and I’m saying that.

Those are all the mages I know. Both would be super helpful to work with. Problem is, I have no idea how to contact them. Maybe Empire Foundation has a way of reaching Forrest, but Whim comes and goes like her name.

Other Humans:

I don’t know her, but some of the Contingent folks mentioned a woman in New Orleans named Maman Minerva. She’s a member of the Contingent who’s also is a voodoo priestess with some connections to deeper powers. That’s about all I know.. Maybe she could help dealing with the vampires, though, or has insight into the afterlife that can help us deal with what’s coming crashing toward us right now.

So, like I said, Jackson Carver is a giant Sluagh eagle right now and is aware of the heaven.exe trap he had been locked into. I have no idea what to do with that info, but it’s a thing we should be aware of.

The Zookeeper is Proof that humans can be monsters. He’s the psycho collector of supernatural beings out on the west coast. He likes to enslave them and force them, and any nosy humans, to fight for rich assholes in a gladiator style arena. He’s extended his life for hundreds of years somehow, maybe through his buddies The Patron, has a private army, and has some deep connections to dark things. He likes to be amused, much to the suffering of others.

So she’s not technically human, but she’s a good person and her situation isn’t her fault. Lily is a sophisticated AI humanoid who was created as a sex-bot. She’s a friend to the Contingent and very powerful, both physically and in her empathic abilities. She can manipulate minds, so that’s a thing I’m not comfortable with, but I think she’d only do it to help us. Still, being near her drives people crazy and she’s powered by that same strange radiation from beyond Pluto.

Susan Rourke I know, though. She’s uh…she’s…well, let’s see. She’s the Queen of the Hill Valley Faeries, psychic, a little crazy. She likes us a lot, though, since we helped her fulfill her family’s legacy pact with the fae, and she definitely works outside of the box. That can make things a little tricky though, when she goes firing off to deal with things “her way.” She’s inherited magic, but isn’t the most reliable in some ways. When we found her she’d been manipulated and brainwashed into almost killing herself and poisoning everyone in the area, but only with the best intentions. She’s doing much better now, I’ve heard, since she got out of the coma.

Speaking of Fae..

Fae

So…there’s the Dullahan …wait, no, hear me out. She’s theoretically on our side now, or at least she’d devoted to protecting similar things at this point, and she’s true to her nature. Just…yeah, she makes Whim look moderate. Extremely powerful with an intense hatred of the Patron, she directly handles the dead. Again, that would be really helpful with what’s coming, you know? She also has the Sluagh, those psychopomp birds that can cloud the mind and target her victims. Not to mention Tom Scarlet, as scary as fuck Redcap with a really nasty axe and is dedicated to her cause. Downsides: yeah, she’s Unseelie, terrifying, has a whip made out of a spinal cord, and will act according to her nature, even if it doesn’t work out too well for us. As in, she’s ok with murdering people to protect the land and accomplish her mission to protect the land. She’s about as inhuman as you can get, so nothing can be assumed as far as what she’d consider normal and reasonable.

On a slightly less dangerous side, there’s Granger’s ladyfriend, Leanna. Sweet-as-anything Seelie Forrest Nymph. Just don’t, whatever you do, do not flirt with Granger. So, try to control yourself, Wayne. She’s friends with the werewolves out at The Farm, she’s all about protecting nature, and she’s down with the Contingent. She’s the reason we have a portal between the garage in Hill Valley and the Farm in Colorado, so we should definitely talk to her about tapping into those types of fae-human world anchor points. Or maybe Granger should.

Leanna hangs out with another important set of players here. The Werewolves of Colorado dance that line between fae and human, powerful with spiritual magic. Also, they’re a pack of big fucking werewolves. So just powerful all around. And friends with the Contingent. Ed is with them, and I trust Ed even if I don’t know the rest of the pack that well. There’s a potential downside, though. They’re a pack of big fucking werewolves who can go berserk if pushed to their limits and kill everyone/thing near them. They have duties to older forces of the world, though hopefully that will align with what The Contingent is trying to do right now.
Also hanging out with the werewolves is someone I haven’t seen in a long time: The Sphinx! She was a captive of The Zookeeper that we rescued a while back, so she owes us a favor. She’s got ancient powers and knowledge of the mysteries of the world. Also, she’s lioneish. Lionesque. Lion-like. She’s got leonine abilities. I like her a lot. But she does like to eat people.

Speaking of the world’s mysteries:

The Undead:

I don’t have a lot of love for vampires of any type, especially after Vampire Jack, but if there was any group that we might be able to work with, it’s the Boo Hags of South Carolina. They’re scary looking as fuck…basically like someone skinned them alive, and they do feed on people. They don’t necessarily like it, though, like many other vampires, but they’ll do it if it’s inconvenient not to. They are part of African-American southern history and have a great hatred for white slavers like the Carfaxes. One helped us get into the Carfax mansion, past all its defenses, so they’re good at disappearing and keeping people hidden. They’re strong and they have some sense of community. Probably the most likely to be willing to work with us and give us more insight in dealing with the dangers coming to us re: the underworld. Still, shady as hell. No pun intended. Well…no. Not intended.

So yeah, the Carfaxes. Main vampire clan in South Carolina. FUCK THEM. Patriarch Alexander Carfax is an undead piece of shit that not only contributed to centuries of slavery, lynchings, and Jim Crow oppression to keep a convenient feeder population of victims, he tried to syphon powers from the soul cache at the dam in Hill Valley to bolster his own abilities and “storm heaven while the angels were away and take God’s place.” He directly worked with The Patron. He’s got no problem with destroying the sun, shock and surprise, but he doesn’t want to get caught in the mess that’s coming, either. He’s a nasty shapeshifter, can do blood magic, and has deep political and economic connections. We may have to factor him in, even if we don’t want to. Also has a love of music. Asshole played the harpsichord and monologued at us when we thought we’d had caught him unawares. He’d mesmerized us just so he could posture at us like a douchebag. Kept his heart in the harpsichord and ripped off his own hands so they could keep playing while he was kicking our asses. Probably doesn’t love us much after we fucked up his heart with an explosive, though. Bombs seem to fix a lot of things. Huh.

This last one I haven’t met yet, but some other members mentioned Diana Bettincourt: the Vampire Queen of New Orleans. From what I hear, she’s got minions both in that city and Baltimore and has some pretty strong political connections. She hunts other vampires, not sure why, and likes to talk. She was a part of Project Chimera and associated with the Patron. She put out the drug that had the Patron’s nanytes in it…you know, the one that gave people tha three-eyed symbol. I got that shit branded onto a rib bone after breathing in some weird mold recently. She’s also a manipulative fucking vampire.

Super Other Being:

Blackstar Angel. Holy shit, guys. Nuclear Option sounds like an understatement here.

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Plans
A chat recorded between Wayne Hodges and Tazendra Crow

Tazendra Crow: “Wayne? Wayne! It’s good to see you, old friend. You smell kinda different.”

Wayne Hodges: “That doesn’t surprise me in the least.”

T: “Josie. How is she?”

W: “There’s a reason I’m here, ready to fuck up some supernatural shit. Pardon my French.”

T: “I don’t think that was French?”

W: “It’s just a saying, Taz.”

T: “Oh. Look, if we survive this, will you help me see her?”

W: “I’ll do my best, Taz, but I can’t promise anything. So, what’s the plan?”

T: “It’s sort of a multi-step thing. Kind of complicated and I forget the moving parts sometimes, but it’s basically this:

“These beings that want to crash our world with underworld, releasing all those souls through this door they created in the collective consciousness. These assholes who are trying to use us for their vengeance and power mongering while claiming it’s for our own good. They consider themselves superior to humans, using us – our souls, our minds - as batteries, tools, whatever, while believing that we in our inherent inferiority aren’t going to be able to do anything about it. But they made a huge mistake. They showed us that we have enormous capacity for power and – I think, at least - protection.

“So we’d be using everything that makes humans, well, human, that angels and demons don’t have or value like we do. Free will, love, adaptation, community, the ability to come together and become more than what we’d be alone. They used us, but they showed us how much power we truly have, and we can turn that against them like they wouldn’t believe. We also have our innovation and resourcefulness. We’re hunters because we can come up with things like ethereal rounds and fae bombs. Our ability to craft what we need to deal with the world is one of our great strengths. We are our own resource, and we should have the ability to tap into ourselves to defend our home, with a few key differences. First, we only take willing outpourings, and second, we can work alongside others, all as equals.”

W: “Ok…what do you mean by others?”

T: “Other beings. The fae, the werewolves, maybe some vampires. Beings that may have a reason to love this world, or at least not want to see it get overloaded and crashed like this.”

W: “Vampires? Seriously, Taz? What the he…”

T: “I know, but there are some that…they have reason to be who they are, and they have some sort of moral code. Look, we need to just look at all the possibilities and work from there. We’ve been learning about these beings and their motives for a long time. At the least, it’s good to know who to look out for. I’ll never work alongside the Carfaxes if I can help it, but I want people to know who they are in case they decide to step in as players again.”

W: “Ok, hit me.”

T: “No, not just yet. I need to try to talk this out of my head. This plan. These plans. They’re already in motion with Dr. Skaar’s announcement and news of Ed resurfacing, spreading the word. They and Gina have their own work cut out for them, though, so this part is on us, cuz they’re doing. . . ”

W: “Taz, focus! What is it?”

T: “Thanks, Wayne. It’s just been…it’s been something. Ok. What if we took willing expressions of collective consciousness that exist throughout the world and used it to power some kind of global protection against that opening door? I mean, we’re working toward that already with the global effort to let people know about The Contingent and how we’re trying to save the world. So we’re hopefully going to have a freaking ton of people focusing on our band to give us a boost against the Patrons. But that’s not gonna get everyone involved, and I’d bet that there’s gonna be more than a little fear mixed in with the hope. We need to diversify, Wayne.

“So, add to all that Buddhist monks seeking compassion and healing for the world; nuns in convents praying for the sick, dying, and alone that have nobody else; or fuck, anyone who’s praying, meditating, or consciously working toward the protection, healing, and well-being of others. They’re sending out massive amounts of energy into the world through those actions, and if we can focus it into a true protective barrier against this attack, we could anchor life and the land the way we anchored ourselves in Hill Valley to save Claire’s astral projection of her soul…sorry, what? Oh, she’s a reporter that joined the Contingent recently – from getting pulled into the machinery of the dam.

“Uh, yeah…the machinery is a long story. Basically, it stripped souls that were bound to the land of their very natures, and then stored the blanks. It was all sorts of fucked up, trust me. By the way, the soul of Jackson Carver is a giant Sluagh now. Just a head’s up in case you see an angry spirit eagle around.”

“What was I talking about? Anyway, it will be in line with what these people are fighting for, too, whether they’re consciously aware of it or not. It’s the anti-Patron lens. We also have a priest that’s been through hell with us who might also be able to help rally spiritual leaders in some way.

W: “So how do we do this?

T: “Not alone, and not through brutality. No, it’s got to be through connection and common ground between beings. Many of the fae and the werewolves have a love for both their world and this land, even if they are at odds with us in other ways. They have anchors and connections all over the world. The werewolves can help as liaisons between humanity and fae, able to channel that consciousness through the links between realms to create that protective barrier all over the world. You’ve got high influence with the Union, so you’d know better than I who or what the possibilities are with them. The hobo network may also be able to help with this linking, as many of them are able to hop barriers and spread throughout the land through unconventional paths.

“Vampires are trickier, because most of the ones we know have no love for humanity or anything other than their own power and advancement. But, there are the Boo Hags. Not exactly good guys, but they would definitely have an issue with supposed superior beings using and throwing away ’lesser people‘ with their grand plans. I know that The Patron’s drug in New Orleans did some serious damage to the vampire community down there, too, from what I heard. Maybe they’d be onboard with helping us. In any case, creatures like that straddle the line between life and death already. They may be able to help in some way.”

W: “So, we’re using the powers of our minds to protect the world? Through what type of focus?”

T: “Right now, we’re looking at two major things: like I said, the fae-connections between this world and theirs, as pathways to channel the energy all over the world, and to bounce it off one of Empire’s satellites, maybe more. One of them I was working on to detect the people whose souls were still tied to bodies that should’ve died in Hill Valley after we shut down that dam machinery. I did a couple things with the hedge thorn to it, so it may have some connection to the fae anchor points. Or it could crash the fae plane into ours, or something.”

W: “…”

T: “I don’t think that’ll happen. But, I mean, if we have to have a world try to occupy ours at the same time, would you prefer fae or afterlife?”

W: “Let’s just…I’m not even going to answer that question, Taz.”

T: “Huh? Oh, ok. It might be interesting to have unicorns running around. I may have drawn up some mech-armor specs…”

W: “Spearing people to death with their horns?”

T: “…”

W: “Taz.”

T: “Yeah, ok, not the best idea. So here’s the next part. We’ve got the global mind creating that layer of protection, right? We can also use the power of our global heart to take action: push back against that door and lock it, then take or destroy the key.”

W: “Ok, so how’s this part going down? Have you found a global heart in your wanderings?”

T: “No, I don’t think so. Not this time.”

W: “I’m just going to let that one go for now.”

T: “What, did I say something? Huh. Anyway, Yeah, we have a global heart in a way: music. We have music all over the world. Every musician playing from their heart to add beauty to the world; every wedding celebration of love; and every moment where people use rhythm and melody to celebrate what makes us cherish our world; that’s our power. We use that to drive the door shut against the Underworld.”

W: “We throw music at it? Just play a happy song and make everything right? Have you been smoking something?”

T: “Yes. Well, I mean, technically, it was ingesting an extra-planar living rock that was on fire at the time. Which brings me to Forrest.”

W: “Ok…”

T: “So music is fundamentally just a vibration with soul. A tuning fork has the ability to turn vibration into a more focused, purer wave of power. We need to be able to take that force into the astral plane and turn it into something pure and powerful enough to push that door closed. Once the door is closed, we need to be able to either remove or destroy the key in the door, but let’s put a pin in that right now. Two things I can think of that are far reaching, associated with spiritual/astral planes, and respond to vibrations are crystals and water. Seems like the places we’re going to be to make our stands – San Francisco, New Orleans, and DC – are all near a major source of water. There are also several caverns with crystal formations, not as nearby, but close to each site.

“So two possibilities: using some crystal or crystals naturally existing in the earth as a cosmic tuning fork, sending a strong enough vibration to slam the door shut, or energizing water to do something similar. Most caverns are connected to water, so if we wanted to use underground crystals as that link between the expression of music and rhythm and the water itself, that could work, too. I have a very strong feeling that Forrest is into surfing planar vibrations on multiple levels. If our oceans and waterways could be used to channel these vibrations, similar to how the thoughts of people are going to be channeled through the anchor points, it’s possible that Forrest and other supernatural beings help take the energy simultaneously being created in the astral plane and basically launch it toward the door? Sort of like a massive astral waterspout that totally doesn’t sound super crazy, thank you very much. This would also involve Whim working to keep probabilities aligned to prevent us doing horrific damage. And we’d have the barrier we’d previously created to help mitigate damage, anyway.

“Now, the last thing: the key. Thanks to this guy Jack’s awesome parkour, we have half of it. What I’m going to suggest is way outside my wheelhouse, but I think I have the basic ideas down. We need to get some of our best scientists and occultists, maybe crafters, too, to study its properties. One idea that an electron or atom can be in two places at once, so what affects it in one place will affect it in the other. I have no idea if or how that’s true, but I have a feeling mages and dreamtime people can step in with their ideas. The other thought is the medieval concept of sympathetic magic, or even weapon-salves, which involve the belief that treating the weapon can cure the wound. I’m basically wondering if there’s a way to control or destroy the part of the key in the lock through the half that we have. It obviously has to have more going on with it than its physical form. But that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

“Another possibility would be to “magnetize” it in some metaphysical way that it pulls the other one out and back to the half we’ve got, but I’m not a fan of this because of the risk of ours actually getting pulled to the half in the door,instead, if we fail. We might be able to create a type of astral magnet that doesn’t involve our part of the key, if we can get enough info about it, though.”

W: “Sweet Jesus, Taz. This is a lot to take in.”

T: “I know. And there are a lot of gaps in my mem…in my knowledge that, if we do this, we’re going to have to work together to fill out. But that’s where I’m not as worried. We have our innovation and resourcefulness. We’re hunters because we can come up with things like ethereal rounds and fae bombs. We can come up, between all of us, with what we need. I don’t have any doubt of that. If you’re ok with it, I’m going to share this recording on a safe channel with the rest of the Contingent”

W: “No problem. You know, you sound different. Is something going on with you?”

T: “I’m more focused than I’ve been in a long time, Wayne. But yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m still me.”

W: “Ok. Just…I see what you’re saying. Be careful, anyway, ok?”

(Careful Taz! you could hurt someone!)

“What?”

“Nothing.”

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Notes from the Road
Found along NYC/Raleigh/New Orleans routes

Dozens seen on bulletin boards in migrant services centers, translated from Spanish:

Brothers and sisters, keep your eyes open, because dark times are coming. The stories and legends of our childhoods are rising up and we are caught in the middle. Some are friendly, some are not. Do your best to learn: ally yourselves with those who work alongside humanity to defend us all from those who wish harm to humanity and its allies. Your brothers and sisters in the Contingent stand with you; we are your teachers, your mail carriers, your trash collectors, your police, your doctors, and more. Learn, prepare yourselves, and don’t stand alone. We are here and we are with you.

[[Dr. Skaar—The More You Know | http://www.EmpireFoundation.org/disclosure]]

http://www.E-GaDS.net/datadump

- – - – - – - – - -

Dozens seen on bulletin boards in county jails, bail bondsman offices, and county courthouse holding rooms:

Boys and girls, you’ve seen things moving in the shadows, skittering in alleys, melting into the cracks in the pavement. Things that don’t make sense, things that just can’t exist. You’re not wrong; they’re there. They’re real. Some of them are friendly, some of them aren’t. It’s time for you to learn the difference…because real soon, it could mean life or death. Time’s tickin’ away, kids. And not just because the cops caught you this time. The Contingent exists for times like these, and we are with you. Don’t face the darkness alone. Be informed, be ready, know who your friends are. Might be surprised at who turns out to have your back.

[[Dr. Skaar—The More You Know | http://www.EmpireFoundation.org/disclosure]]

http://www.E-GaDS.net/datadump

- – - – - – - – - -

One envelope, addressed to Fr. Balfour and taped to a confessional at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Atlanta, GA:

Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It’s been a long time since my last confession. So long, I can’t remember when the last one was. A lot has happened since then. Some of it, I won’t confess because I don’t believe it could ever be a sin, regardless of what the Church teaches. But the rest…oh, Father, the rest. I’ve caused physical harm countless times, in defense of myself and others. I don’t think I’ve ever actually killed a person, but I’ve certainly had the chance to stop others and not done so, which is the same, I suppose. I’ve stolen. Cars, weapons, stuff. I’ve taken the Lord’s name in vain more often than I’ve spoken my own. And we won’t even try to sum up the individual counts of fornication. Really, let’s not.

I drugged my girl and left her in the back seat of the car while our friends and I did a job. For her safety, and ours. It was a shitty thing to do, but it was safer for everybody. It really was. She was freaking out, and she would have given us all away. Doesn’t mean I felt good about it.

Also, I’m questioning the nature of God these days. Hard. I’ve seen the Angels, Father, and the Demons, too. The wheels of eyes, and haloes of fire, and wings of blades: they’re real, and they treat us like pawns in their power games. I can’t allow myself to believe that the God I was taught about as a girl would allow that. Was that God a lie?

Anyway, Father, I’ve got a lot to atone for, and probably not a lot of time left in which to atone for it. So any prayers you could offer for me are appreciated. I’m sorry I couldn’t be here on the right day to do this in person. I’ll just keep praying as I do, and hope to find atonement through action.

The end might be coming sooner than you think, Father. Be careful who you pray to, and for what. Open your eyes to what’s going on in the world. We’re almost out of time.

EMJJ

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New Room Discovered in Winchester Mansion

Calliope at ASI sends this article through to the Contingent.
newspaper.jpg

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Knowing is Half the Battle

The high tinny sound of old country music filled the dingy bar. No one seemed to pay much attention to the aging jukebox in the corner, minus the drunk next to it humming along to whichever song of heartbreak and loneliness it played. Above it stood the Union emblem burned into wooden planks, covered nearly entirely in photos of those lost to the vigil.

The rest of the bar’s patrons certainly were of a type: roughneck. These were men and women who made a living by sweat and pain; the sorts that built this great nation and were generally invisible to the rest of it.

A man and woman stood behind the wraparound bar in the center of the room, clearly related. They moved with easy comfort from years of the trade, a well-orchestrated system of bottles, glasses, and just the right word or look at the right time to help those not lost in their cups. Above them hung a series of party lights from the back-stock cabinetry, burned out long ago.

A welcoming smell of grilled food floated in the air, barely covering the smell of cigarette smoke outlawed years ago. It was late afternoon; neon light from the sign outside declaring “Johnnie and Connie’s” floated in between the old wooden blinds with the sun’s dying rays.

The sound of wood creaking and cracking cut through the music as the door to the bar shifted in the frame, the light of the East Texas sun through the small window in the door going dark as small thorny vines crept around the frame. With a sound like a splintering frame, the door opened the wrong direction, revealing a narrow path through an overgrown forest, and a wall of a man with strongly Nordic features and blond hair pulled into a ponytail. The room fell silent as Dain’s penetrating eyes swept from side to side, looking for threats. ‘Predator’ radiated from him, and no one dared to move.

“Room’s clear,” he called out, stepping out of the doorway and to the left. Several of the burned-out bulbs in the party lights flared red as he entered the room.

Moonlight flooded in, along with the smell of flowers and spring. The party lights continued to twinkle red and then green as three additional figured crossed the threshold: a Latina in road leathers carrying an assault rifle, a tiny pale-skinned girl with technicolor hair, and Ed McLaughlin.

Ed’s appearance broke the spell of silence. Suddenly the room filled with whispers and mumblings, shock and disbelief on many of their faces. “Holy shit, it’s you,” exclaimed Johnnie. “We heard rumors you were out of the game.”

Leanna closed the door gently, patting it like an old friend as the vine retreated from around the door and the sun began to shine through the window once more. Dain and Victoria stalked through the room, closing blinds and peering out at the cars in the lot.

“I thought so too,” Ed replied, taking Johnnie’s extended hand in a warm handshake. “But you saw Skaar on TV. You know he’s telling the truth. You can feel it. Something bad is on the horizon and we can’t wait for it to get here.”

Connie sat down the glass he’d been cleaning. “So what do we do? I mean, that sounds great on a billboard, but what do we actually do?”

“I know what we do!” came the drunken exclamation from someone at the bar. “We pop us some freaks! Don’t matter which ones, fangers, furries, dandelion eaters, whatever. Plug ’em all and let God sort it out.”

A low growl, more felt than heard, rumbled from Dain. Ed, hackles raised, pinned Dain in place with a glance that said Let me handle this.

“And just what good do you think will come from fighting each other?” Ed thundered in reply. “You think they’re not just as fucked as you are if this goes down? No one wins, everyone loses. That’s what happens if we all start fighting each other. This is not our way!”

Ed slammed his hand on the bar to punctuate his point. Mumbles of agreement spread throughout the bar. Running his hand through his hair, Ed composed himself. It would be so easy to let the anger win, Ed thought. Always right there, just under the surface…

Ed pulled a brown folder from his jacket pocket and dropped it on the bar. “This is a list of Gestalt sites in the region.” he said, jabbing his finger onto the folder. “They’re in the thick of whatever’s going on and we need to shut them down. Show everyone that we can make a difference. Right now, there’s a lot of fear out there and not much hope. It’s time to change that.”

Victoria had paid little attention to the room’s antics, regularly peeking through the blinds into the parking lot. Something caught her attention. “Ed, we have to leave — now,” she said, forceful and stern.

Ed sighed. “There is never enough time. I’m sorry for what comes next,” he said.

Dain placed a hand on Ed’s shoulder and steered him back towards the entrance, barking a command behind him. “Leanna, the door.”

She nodded before kneeling down and whispering into the lock. Standing, she pushed it open the wrong way with the sound of cracking wood, revealing a moon-lit pasture choked with nettles instead of the sunny parking lot. Victoria was the first through, rifle at the ready, followed quickly by Dain and Ed. Leanna gave the room a wide smile. “You can do this—I just know you can,” she said, pushing the door shut.

Moments later, the same door swung inward, hitting the bell at the threshold. The bell’s tone seemed to break the moment, bring things back to the now. In came a trio of men, clearly not the type to spend their time in out-of-the-way dive bars. Everything about them screamed “cop”, from the mirrored shades to the arrogant swagger in their walk. The leader walked directly to bar while the others fanned out throughout the room. “We’re looking for someone,” he announced, pulling a photo from his breast-pocket. “Ed McLaughlin. Answer all of our questions and there won’t be any trouble.”

Johnnie glanced just above the newcomer at the string of party lights now burning bright blue. Other bulbs came to life as the other two men neared the bar. To one side, Connie reached between the ice chest and liquor rail to pull a sawed-off shotgun from its holster.

“Lock the doors,” Johnnie called out to his patrons, then turned to address the newcomers directly. “You boys just found a whole heap of trouble.”

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Dr. Skaar--The More You Know

As various primetime television channels fade to commercial, the first ad opens up on Dr. Skaar leaning against his desk. The classic oak furniture and masculine earth tones of his decor give a warm, comfortable feel to his office. Off to the side, something that is just out of focus is thrashing in a cage. Skaar looks at the camera and gives a small smile before he starts speaking.

“Good evening, or whatever time it is when you’re watching this on YouTube. As you are no doubt aware, I am Dr. Skaar. Several years ago, I founded the Empire Foundation on three simple ideals: pursuit of pure science unfettered by orthodoxy, ethical transparency, and the protection of humanity.

“You have no doubt heard some pretty wild rumors recently. Even more, you feel something. Something ineffable has changed. It’s like you just noticed a door in your house for the first time that you never knew was there, and something on the other side is jiggling the handle. I am here to tell you that it’s real. All of it. There are monsters. They are amongst us, hidden in plain sight. They are our allies, friends, and lovers—some of them helping us throughout the centuries. However, there are many more who view us as nothing more than a lunchable.”

Skaar stands up and walks toward the cage. As he does so the camera pans in on some sort of four legged creature inside. Hard to rationalize, later people would describe it as looking like a hairless grizzly bear, rough grey skin stretched across muscle and bulk. There are too many teeth in a jaw that stretches far too long. Fire licks its nostrils when it exhales. As the CEO approaches, it appraises him with pale blue eyes. They’re almost human looking.

“Over here, we have what is colloquially known as a hellhound.”

The animal growls; small spines can be seen rising from its pallid skin. The two stare each other down for a beat before Skaar continues.

“Ordinarily, the quantum flux of such a creature renders it invisible to the naked eye. Empire Foundation technology has made it possible to see such an abomination.”

Skaar absently taps the cage, causing the beast to lunge, impotently snapping at its containment. With a small sigh, Skaar looks back at the camera.

“This is not why I’m here, though. There is an imminent attack that threatens the lives of millions of us. I am working with a group, the Contingent, to stop it, but we need everyone’s help. To that end, I am publishing online everything we have. Names will be redacted, but all the notes, all the research, all the proof, will be there. Worse, evidence of our government’s collusion is in there. Read about Task Force Valkyrie, Ashford Abbey, and Thurisaz Ventures, and hold your leaders accountable. Gaze at the tangled web that is Gestalt and their many subsidiaries, then clear your medicine cabinet and pantry of their wide influence.

“The Empire Foundation will temporarily offer live tours of our facilities, organized by my assistant Ms. Whitehall. Come to our labs and see the supernatural with your own eyes.

“Good night, and good luck.”

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Our Shot
How To Save The Entire Damn World...

Friends,

I and a few others have been thinking quite a bit about how to un-fuck the world after what happened during our last set of missions to stop the Patron(s).

Not everything about the mission was bad. Specifically, the Patrons showed us something that can most likely help fix all of this: There is a goddamned COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS OF HUMANITY

This isn’t a hair brained theory any more. This isn’t some kooky spiritualist’s ramblings. This is a bonafide fact of the damn universe that everybody witnessed in The Triangle.

And it’s ours.

Not theirs.

So let’s use it.

This is seriously going to take a unified and coordinated effort by every Compact, Ally, Contact and Asset that the Contingent can bring to bare. All our skills. All our resources.

What we do is actually pretty simple. We craft a story about the Contingent. An amazing and epic story that uplifts the spirit and gives you hope when you read it. An amazing and diverse group of people coming together to stem the tide of darkness that threatens to overtake the world. We name names and spare no detail on descriptions of past exploits and greatness. We tell the stories of everyone that has fought and died with the Contingent for the betterment of humanity while everyone slept, oblivious to the unrelenting dangers that threaten our world on a daily basis.

We go public.

And we provide evidence. Years and years of collected and corroborating evidence. Other Hunter organizations can back us up if they want. We hack government databases and provide all the surveillance info we can. We build tech to boost the signal We use every member’s connections and allies to back it all up and help spread the story. We reignite the “Secret Frequency” as the “Overt Frequency” using the satellite the Empire Foundation recently put into orbit and whatever other networks we can hack and use. Bring the dark net into the light. Make this modern epic go viral like nothing has before.

We need all of our available agents and assets to travel to the parts of the world that aren’t connected electronically. They’ve got a month. They can do it. Spreading the story of the Contingent to anyone who will listen. Every corner of the world will know what we’ve tried to keep in the shadows for years.

The story spreads like a virus through music and stories and memes and YouTube and 24 hour news coverage and whatever other vector humanity can think of. A month in the modern world is a damn eternity.

But here’s the kicker. The crux of it all. We have to drive home the fact that in the near future the Contingent will need everyone. And by everyone I mean every single person living on this planet. Men, women, children, Mages, Werewolves, Changelings…whatever. Everyone. They’ll need everyone to think of the names of the members of the contingent and lend them their strength through sheer force of will so that they can save the world one more time. Stop saying “Our thoughts and prayers are with you” and let’s actually do it.

Over 7 billion people thinking at the same time about the same little band of people trying to do good and wishing they would save them one more time when the world is faced with annihilation. 7 billion people focusing their collective consciousness on the Contingent…

And then we save the damn world.

Because I honestly cannot think of a more appropriate way to stop the end of existence than bringing all of humanity into it and putting a stop to all the shadow game bull shit.

-Granger out

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Dear Brother
The Death of Richard Miller, Part II

An older reflection of John appeared upon the screen. Tired rings weighed down his eyes, and his hesitance was plain in his expression. John wasn’t sure if it was the constant traveling or the years in academia that gave him the small shocks of white hair that peppered his beard, but they were certainly new. It’s been over eight years since he last saw Richard, and news of his death still hasn’t quiet settled in. John glanced over the instructions once more; Richard had left instructions to only play the video over the camcorder it was recorded from. A large stack of papers came with it all, all neatly written and detailing a bunch of hoodoo he knew nothing about. Blackstar? The Patron? Keys and Towers? Granted, he knew his brother was a history buff, but this was reading less like a thesis and more like one of those spooky SCP story entries that people write for fun. Or because they were crazy.

John huffed, thumbing the play button.

Greetings John. If you’re listening to this, then it’s likely because I have died one way or another. The how shouldn’t concern you, because quite frankly, there is a lot for you to catch up on, and it’s rather overwhelming, even for myself.

John pinched the bridge of his nose. Seemed like Richard didn’t change much. Asshole…

I wouldn’t normally consider this, but given my current situation, I found it prudent to ensure that whatever I’ve researched, found, or gathered be readily accessible to The Contingent in the event of my demise or if I am compromised.

The Contingent? John canted his head, as he listened to his brother ramble about who they were.

Speaking of which, what is shared here is between you and I. Samantha and Rhys don’t need to catch wind of this. I’d say Rhys was the more responsible brother, but he can barely hold a gun. At least you look like you could handle yourself. You just need to make sure that you keep them safe, keep them uninvolved with whatever these things have in plan for us. I’ve left a few locations listed somewhere that you can drag them off to, hopefully they may workout as a place to hide out, but time will tell, I suppose.

John was already finding it all to be a bit much to take in.

If you decide to get in contact with the Contingent, my first suggestion; don’t trust anyone. Any one of them could be marked like myself. The chances that the enemy has people inside are rather high. If you DO follow up on all this, talk to Virgil, or Eva. You might be able to get a hold of one of them by talking to the proprietor of the Alibi, down in New Orleans. That might be your best lead, aside from digging through my phone if it is recovered. Just be sure it’s something you want to do before you dive in like you always do. You may not recall Six Flags, so let me add that you should be careful in New Orleans, and for God’s sake, try not to end up on a bus full of vampires again. I’m not around to dig you out of trouble a third time, so just be smart, alright?

John watched Richard’s tired face form a small smile.

We’re dysfunctional, but we’re still family. Be safe.

John blinked at the camcorder’s playback screen, still digesting what he had heard. He mumbled the only words he could muster to himself.

“What the hell?”

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The Key That Opens The Before
The Death of Richard Miller

Richard eyed Allie with uncertainty. Her sudden appearance in this hellish maze didn’t make sense, but he was quickly finding that hard to focus on. As Charles leveled his odd weapon at Allie, Richard found himself unable to focus on the conversation at hand. The occasional word of argument would make its way to his ears, drawing his attention briefly, but the door behind the woman raptly held his gaze.

Wayne held him from back, much to Richard’s ire. “Let me go, I am fine!” Richard’s hiss was cut short by the sting of otherworldly energy searing into his flesh. Wayne’s grasp faltered, and the hunter’s scrambled to react. Before them was the Patron is it’s true form, horrible and mechanical, a mess of eyes bearing vile intent. Or at least it seemed that way for a moment. For the briefest of moments, he thought he felt compassion, echoed by a warm voice urging him to the door; to safety.

He complied. The door was shelter from the impending doom, a safe haven from the coming troubles. He wasn’t sure how he knew this, but that didn’t matter. He knew he was right, everything he’s researched pointed to this. The before. This obviously lead to what was before.

“Zhī gi án dă kāi dè goānijàn,” he muttered, watching the chains fall away from the door. He glanced behind him, hesitating briefly as he observed the others. They were delaying the inevitable. He turned back to the door and reached forward, resting his hand upon the door and savoring this triumph of his. Just one step. One step and he’d know the truth. He hesitated once more.

In that moment, the Patron’s whirling form barreled through the door, nearly knocking the man over. Richard was flabbergasted. What had happened? The grasp of finger’s upon his jacket made him aware of the others once more and an alarming sense of dread set in. He cast a maddened glare over his shoulder, seeing who it was that would keep him from the door, his gateway to salvation.

“Let go! Get back!” he cried, slipping an arm free from a sleeve. They were going to get him killed! They would all die out here! Either by fate or luck, he tugged free of his assailant’s hold, lurching towards the door. No more hesitation, this was his chance. With an arm blindly held forward, he followed after the Patron into the doorway.

Almost instantly his mania snapped, leaving in it’s wake an empty void of dread. What did he do? This is all wrong! This isn’t salvation!

This is hell.

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