The Contingent

A Plagued Journey
Storyteller: Cathy

A Plagued Journey

Hey everyone! I hope you’re getting this. I heard the Frequency is down but Ken said this was still a good way to reach out. Anyways, it’s me… Gina! I finally got a real paying gig for us here in San Francisco. We’re being asked to act as security against the supernatural for this super swanky party on the Queen Mary. It’s docked here in Frisco for some big anniversary celebration. They towed it all the way up here from Long Beach, can you believe it? Now you’re probably wondering what this has to do with The Contingent. Turns out the ship has a sordid past (sort of like yours truly). It’s rumored to be haunted – it was even on that show, Unsolved Mysteries! Remember that show? It used to give my little Tony nightmares! Back to the ship, as it’s traveled north, it’s been stopping in various ports along the coast. Something awful has happened every time it docked. Some guy was mangled to death, another lady was shot, and a kid has gone missing. You know I’m not okay with that! If you’re available to help, meet me at the Musee de Macabre in the Haight.

Hunters

Becca Smith
Charles Powell
Desmond Mallory
Fina Aquinas
Gunther Behringer
Harry McCoy

Important Clues

  • There was a strange mold found on the bell
  • There was a bell from WWII on the ship that could control time. The bell was created by the Nazis.
  • The doctor involved in making the bell used The Patron as his password to store the required xerum to activate the bell
  • Stella’s house has a lot of ancient Roman influences in its architecture and décor.
  • Allie was somehow able to heal Harry and Desmond. After her healing, the three eyed mark appeared on their backs.
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The Light the Dead See
Storyteller: Johnathan

The Light the Dead See

You receive a strange envelope in the mail. Your name and address are written in unsteady handwriting and black ink which seems to have bled a bit before drying. There’s no return address. You open the envelope and three pieces of paper fall out. The first one is the business card from a drive-thru daiquiri bar in New Orleans. Written on the back in the same handwriting as the envelope are the following words, “Y’all better get down here. There some things you need to be fixin. – ”/characters/maman-minerva" class=“wiki-content-link”>MM"

The other two pieces of paper are articles from The Times-Picayune, New Orleans’ local paper. One bears the headline Flu Epidemic Affects City. The article details an unusual strain of the flu that seems to be going around. Patients are lethargic, groggy, and experiencing memory lapses. People from all walks of life have been affected. The word ‘lethargic’ is circled, and scrawled next to it is “Ain’t no flu doing this!”. The second article is about the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans Amusement Park and various reports of strange occurrences there. At the bottom of this article is written “Coming from here. Too many eyes”.

Hunters

Doctor Mallory “Mal” Cunningham
Eva Jimenez
Lisa Morrow
Richard Miller
Wayne Hodges
Xander Court

Important Clues

GesChem and GesCourier

The Hunters discovered the GesChem name on the sealed canisters underneath Six Flags New Orleans. They also discovered paperwork linking shipments coming in and out of New Orleans by a company named GesCourier.

Richard Miller’s vision

Unlike the other Hunters who saw aspects of their own lives while trapped in the House of Truth and Lies, Richard Miller saw 3 scenes that seemed to have nothing to do with his past.

  • The armies of Andrew Jackson attacking New Orleans at the conclusion of the War of 1812 with weapons of fantastical creation.
  • A great stone tower collapsed at the height of the battle, turning completely into dust under cannon onslaught.
  • Modern-day New Orleans covered in mold. The levees are failing and an impossibly black Mississippi River is flooding the city. Richard believes he saw the boat of Charon overturned in the river.

The Device

At the rear of the Krewe of Pan’s theater-lair stood a very out-of-place brushed metal door untouched by the decay that plagued the rest of Six Flags New Orleans. The lock looked of different construction and was opened by an odd rook-shaped key. Behind the door and down a steep staircase stood a cool, sterile space humming with energy holding an odd device, half machine and half distillation equipment. Much like the door, it showed signs of modification afterwards. The Hunters determined the machine was siphoning energy from the Krewe above into sealed canisters. Thanks to Richard Miller’s insight, they were able to dramatically increase this siphoning effect and drain the creatures of all energy (and luckily shut the machine down afterwards).

The Krewe of Pan

The leader of the Krewe, Billie Lambert, ranted about how the Krewe had gone through divine uplifting, a transubstantiation through their sacrifice for Lent that allowed them to feed not on the flesh of “the cattle”, but on their emotions. This seemed to be true, as Mal didn’t notice any long-term health effects to Rene Blanchard from the feeding.

Littered around her throne were the twisted remains of Krewe members who did not survive the process.

Other parts of her rant included calling the Hunters the pawns of the Key and slaves to a dark Patron.

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Over the World's Rim
Storyteller: Justin

Over the World’s Rim

Dark fairies are showing up and murdering people because of it. Psychics feel it thrumming just at the edge of sight, warping their dreams. Spirits of the land whisper the news of it across the hills. Despite this, all we know is some terrible sickness is grinding up this part of the world. However, though we may be blind, we are far from helpless. We’re a crack team of hunters, explorers, and scientists. The Empire Foundation is going to root out this Sickness, find what caused it, and then cure it. If you would like to help, report to Tina Murphy in Hill Valley.

Hunters

Claire Hollingsworth
Darren Knox
Granger Simms
Jack Mills
Tazendra “Taz” Crow
Virgil Half-Dollar

Major Clues

  • A pact exists between the fae, the spirits, and the humans of Hill Valley. As long as the Rourkes exist, the land is nurtured by this. Should the Rourkes die off, the fae will move to take over, directly. Sarah Rourke is the last Rourke.
  • Machines just outside of reality were capturing souls of those associated with Hill Valley that died. Those that it captured were stuffed into a program to think that they were in Heaven as they were slowly devoured.
  • Alexander Carfax, an old vampire, spoke of the Patron moving forward to end the world.
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Memento Mori
Hill Valley, SC

Taz hung up the phone, wincing as she heard the change in Granger’s voice, and stared into the dark, tangled forest just outside the old Rourke Estate. The revulsion that rose up at the thought of running into the redcap Jack Scarlet (no, Jack was the vampire, Tom is the redcap, the blood just smells similar) again broke the spell of fascination that wove itself around her, though, and she shuddered, turning away.

Fresh blood. Old, cold iron. What have I done?

I helped bring back the Dullahan. Susan wouldn’t have made it to the tree, didn’t have the strength to raise her bloody hand to it. What have I done?

What else have I done?

Dr. Mal said she thought she could bring back Susan’s memories, make her right again, make her nobody’s puppet. Dr. Mal is busy right now, saving her, probably trying to calm down Eva, probably trying to forget poisonous fangs buried in her abdomen. Leave her alone for now. (But I can’t I need to know I need to know now how long has it been what was taken from me what have I done what)

Taz turned toward the Camaro, running a hand alongside the freshly repaired door where the four (four?) Triple Threat women had burst out of this forest, intent on Susan’s murder, and slammed into it before unleashing a brutal attack of machine guns, sticks, stones, and coffee. The coffee almost did us in. Too many players, too many questions. Time to take a drive.

**********************************

Ten hours, four hitch-hikers, six roadside repairs of stranded motorists, and four Red Bulls later, Taz dropped through the ceiling panel of the Empire’s newest building into the antechamber of Dr. Skaar’s less publicly known office, waving to the secretary as various laser sights attempted and failed to train on her body. A slight twitch of the shoulders, followed by an dignified but affable nod, were the only reactions from the secretary, but her closed-circuit monitor showed a minor ruckus in one of the rooms on the next floor down.

“Dr. Skaar, Tazendra Crow is here to see you. It also appears the new hire for security failed to read his briefing on Ms. Crow. His supervisor has been informed and it will be noted on his record once he regains consciousness.”

Dr. Skaar, finishing up his notes on the next set of security updates needed, nodded in greeting as Taz entered the room, still dusting off her shoulders while absentmindedly smiling hello. Drinks were offered and poured, and Taz settled down on the floor for a more complete debriefing of the situation in Hill Valley. Skaar listened patiently, but Taz realized that she was veering away from the very reason she’d taken this trip. Focus, girl. This is important. This is sharp fangs in black oil important. Cold iron, fresh blood, gleaming white teeth, floating…”Excellent job, Miss Crow!” What was it? Why did I come up…oh!

Taz pulled a dull metal orb, barely the size of a golf ball and eminently unnoticeable, out of her pocket. A slight tap of her finger sent it into the air, silently drifting toward the man leaning against the edge of his desk. Skaar held out his hand as it came to rest on the tips of his fingers and looked quizzically at his friend. “I was watching one of your interviews and thought you could use this. It’s kind of like a portable green screen, lighting adjuster, and vocal resonator. It’s attuned to your fingerprints now, and as you speak, well…say something dramatic and see what happens.”

Half an hour and several performances later, Taz hauled herself up from the floor and grinned at her…employer? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m employed here.

“I’m real glad you like it, Dr. Skaar. Let me know how it works out with your next interview.”

“Taz, one question. Actually two. Why do you always call me Dr. Skaar? I appreciate the respect, but after working, and fighting, together for so long, you should know you don’t need to be so formal. Just Skaar is fine.”

“I…what? Oh! No, it’s just like what I call Dr. Mal. I mean, the Dr. part just kind of goes with the rest of the name, you know? Kind of an unusual name, though, huh? I mean, Tazendra isn’t exactly common, but I’ve never met anyone name Skaar befo-”

Taz’s words died out as she glanced up, and then around, the office. The executive desk dominating the space was flanked on both sides by a luxurious span of oak bookshelves full of leatherbound tomes, a set of genteelly weathered armchairs, and an array of plaques, awards, and certificates of merit and appreciation, all bearing the name “Dr. Adrian Skaar.” The pause turned into increasingly embarrassed silence as Skaar patiently continued to sip from his glass and realization dawned on Taz’s face.

“Adrian.”

“Yes.”

“…”

“I knew that.”

“Of course”

“So…yeah. Um, Dr. Adria-uh-Skaar-uh, goddammit…”

“Just Skaar is fine if you happen to remember it.”

“Thanks. Guess I better get back to Hill Valley and get things ready for Granger…Granger? Right. Granger”

She was almost at the door when, “Second question: why did you really come up to see me, Taz?”

(What? Why did I? I already said…no. No, I didn’t. And why didn’t I)

“I need help. I want my memories back. This is important. Someone took them from me and I need to know why. Can you help me?”

“Of course.”

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Highway to Hell

Location: Washington, D.C.

Date Range: Weekend of February 25th, 2017

Summary: Team entered underworld and successfully sealed the M Street Bridge. Multiple sources of physical, and video, evidence collected (submitted to all three factions of Contingent). Additionally, two trapped child spirits were freed from the underworld and allowed to move onto their rightful rest.

HIGHEST IMPORTANCE: There is an issue with gates world-wide. Demons are pushing through, it is already happening regularly in Jerusalem. Apparently, Thurisaz, and possibly other foundation/companies like them, are attempting to stop this from happening.*

Reason:
There were reports of the famous M Street Bridge Stagecoach occurring every night. Normally the reports would fall on only full moons.

There were reports of joggers avoiding the area even during the day. A corporate backer of the Contingent (Thurisaz) has asked us to locate a missing contractor (Father Raymond Brest) who had been assisting them with their investigation of the haunting.

Father_Brest.png

Pre-Investigation Work:
Researched the haunting using contacts in the media and online occult community.
Drove to the location to bring all my gear (note: later realized I forgot my lock pick kit)
Contacted locate ASI rep for assistance in finding safe lodgings in the area.

Investigation Day 1 – Friday Apr 24:

Met at Bert’s BBQ per the invitation, investigators included: Becca Smith, Claire Hollingworth, Gunther Behringer, Lisa Morrow, Reyna Parker, and me. We discussed strategies and how we were going to approach the issue. We then split up to follow up on different leads.

I had gone to install the camera at the bridge, having received permits prior. My prior investigation had turned up reports of a Masonic investigation into old stones still incorporated into the bridge, and then a construction company appearing a few weeks later. (Photos of the stones and runes attached, as well as appendix on the construction company that altered the runes)

After I had requested from the permits office information on the company and completed the video work around the park the team gathered to share information.

It was identified by various team members that:

  1. Large excrement (horse sized) that was identified as “kind of canine” was found in the park. Samples were surrendered by the local vet. (Samples sent to all groups)
  2. Confirmation that Jillian Mosaddegh, of Thurisaz, had hired Father Raymond Brest to investigate the DC gate on the M Street bridge and try to stop the failing gate local to her branch office.
    Jillian_Mosaddegh.jpg
    1. She also provided a USB with video of a gate failing in the Jerusalem (See Attachment A)
    2. Offered 250,000 donation to Empire Foundation green efforts if we found what happened to Father Brest and closed the M Street Gate
    3. HIGH IMPORTANCE: Implication is gates are failing world-wide. That M Street Bridge is one of many that her corporation, and possibly others, are trying to fix/seal!!!
  3. Joggers had indeed witnessed the stagecoach near midnight. When it arrived four ghostly figures had boarded, then the coach turned and returned back to mists.
  4. A copy of Father Brest’s book on Masonic Symbolism and different types of gates.
    1. From the book 6 copper coins, appear to be pure and historic in nature. (Photos attached)

That night several of set up camp at the bridge. We saw the stagecoach appear at one end of the bridge and come towards us. As it stopped four ghostly figures appeared from our end of the bridge and started to approach it. That is when Claire, Lisa and I in excitement ran forward. (See video of entire exchange from multiple angles). We essentially “RSVP’d” for the following night, a party of six.

While this is occurring the “gate” end of the bridge had something massive pawing and pushing, trying to get through the barrier between worlds. A feeling of hostile intent was felt emanating from it.

The coach collected its passengers, each paying a copper coin, then turned before racing back down towards the opposite end. Once it reached the gate it disappeared and the night returned to normal.

Verified this was all captured on the cameras and gear present.

Day 2 – Feb 25:

Excited to have this reservation with the ghostly stagecoach we prepared the following day for the approaching midnight.

Multiple people were wearing essentially body cams to document the events. (See various video attachments labeled Night 2)

We rode in the carriage through the gate and into what can be best described a hellish echo of DCs past., Several investigators took samples, covertly, of the coach (Submitted to all three groups) The driver not seem to notice, or care, and did not respond to conversation other to say he would be waiting for us when we were ready to leave. And to ask which direction to go once we reached a crossroads.

At the crossroads we chose to go left, since we were going to attend the party the coach driver mentioned. We arrived at a country manor house with blood red lighting outside and an ominous doorway. Over the door was an arch with various runes, all resembling those that Brest had in his books and those resembling the key symbol of the Patron.

The_Red_House.jpg

Of importance was a slot that appeared to be made like a keyhole at the top of the archway.

We were greeted by a rather gentile man, appeared to be working in a butler’s capacity, and introduced himself as “Cyrus.”

Cyrus_the_Poisoner-Butler.jpg

He mentioned that the master was not currently present, but seemed anxious about the state of his home and the chores remaining before the party guests were to arrive. (See video of the “state of the home”) The house was in utter disrepair, covered in ichor dripping from nearly every surface, with dust and grime on everything else.

We offered to help Cyrus with his work before the other guests arrived. He seemed happy with this and asked us to retrieve a key from the Master’s Study. It was on the third floor, and Cyrus mustn’t go in that room. And, of course as we all tried to make our way there the ghostly realm manor assaulted us in various ways including Fire (Frame of video depicting Becca on fire while Claire takes a picture of Ice in Hell), rattling stairs (a POV shot that makes it obvious someone has fallen), rocking floor boards ( picture of something that resembles the balance bars that rock from American Gladiators or Ninja Warrior), and a door that refused to open.

The door was ultimately forced open and the key Cyrus wanted was found, along with a letter (picture included) that was Cyrus’s confession to hating his master, all of his decadence, and those he associated with. Ultimately that is what let Cyrus to poison his master and those attending a dinner one night.

That is when things got weird for us… for me. I received the key after it was thrown down the stairs, and was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer force of Cyrus’s will and compelled to lock out the guests. Using it on the door, not the archway where the runes was. Realizing that Cyrus was the monster in this den Lisa ran to stop me. We ended up in a struggle on the floor just in front of the doorway. Someone took the key from me, my camera didn’t catch it and I can’t remember.

The guests arrived at that moment, and started in a vengeful manner to drag Cyrus away from us. As his screaming from was pulled from our dogpile he grabbed hold of my arm to try and avoid his fate. (Video attachment does not show this, it shows from camera angles that Cyrus cursed that he would share Cyrus’s fate).

We used the key on the archway and the damaged runes there repaired themselves. As we left, assuming we were done only to be disappointed once we reached the road. There was no coach to be found. We continued till we went to the crossroads. We saw light in the other direction and recalled the words that he would return when we were ready to make the trip home.

Traveling towards the light we found the “Green House,” a verdant and lush place with an attached hot house, and a doorway.

The_Green_House.jpg

Alas, our key didn’t fit. This one was a different shape. There we entered the arboretum, and encountered two children that wanted to play and a large plant in the center. We quickly discovered that we were now locked in, and the plant seemed to be getting some kind of control over Reyna as she was the first to walk over.

We quickly sprang into action, though this seemed to provoke the children. Their peaches turning to organs dripping blood as their faces morphed into something monstrous. The space we were in turned horrid and in bad repair.

It was seen in the center of this giant pitcher plant there was a man.

However, several of us had knives and we worked to cut down the plant at its root. While we did this, and Reyna was under its control, Claire kept the children distracted by talking and playing with them. In fact she was so good with them that they reverted to their child like way and seemed to bond.

While the plant was cut down we were able to pull the man from it and confirm it was the still, barely, living form of Brest. From this point forward we essentially had to carry him out.

It was after we cut down the plant that we found the key and the nursery opened. Using this second key, the one good leaf (see video, entire leaf submitted to ASI) on the runes as the pivot to repair them before departing.

We were to the crossroads again when we saw the ride home off in the distance, waiting for us but not nearing. Unsure we heard stomping and huffing behind us. We saw what could only be described as Cerberus-type hell hound (See picture and video).

Kerby.jpg

It chased us as we tried to make our way to the gate. We ended up outsmarting it though, leading it on a chase through the echoes of DC we found an alley that was too tight for its monstrous form to get through. This gave us just enough time to reach the portal home and escape.

We are now fairly certain based on evidence, follow up, and “gut feeling” that the M Street Bridge is repaired for now.

Father Brest appears to be recovering nicely, Chris (the vet) may be a future resource for us, and my arm is recovering nicely from the demon scratches.

Appendix – Construction Company That Altered the Gate Wards on M Street Bridge
LLC called GesWorks that was formed about six months before the project and dissolved almost immediately afterwards. The address and contact info are a PO box in Red Wing, MN under the name Allan Smithers. From what Harry can discern, Smithers is not a real person at all and the PO box has never been checked since it was first opened.

Video – There is complete video of the entire expedition from multiple angles.
Other Evidence – Demon Dog Excrement, Wood from the Coach

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Duty Calls

“And that is how I single-handedly saved a bus full of small school children.” Granger finished his story and poured the shot of tequila setting it between him and Forsetti.

“Single-handedly? Booooooo!” Leanna shouted in mock disgust at the pun.

Granger sat at the head of the large picnic table, locking eyes with Forsetti, trying his hardest not to laugh at Leana’s protest or show any sign that would give away his bluff. Forsetti returned his gaze and then looked away shaking his head. He pointed at Leana and then Granger still shaking his head.

“He calls bullshit,” the petite stoner girl said smiling a knowing smirk.

“Damnit! That’s three in a row, man! How does he know? Every damn time…” Granger was full of mock fury as he took the shot. “If this keeps up I’m going to be worthless for you guys tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow? No need for a qualifier there, Southpaw.” Dain said to a round of laughter from the rest of the pack. “Besides. You’re a lot of good things, man, but you’re a shit liar.”

“I’m ok with that.” Granger said with a wide grin putting his arm around Leanna.

“I’m gonna go check on Ed. Wrap it up soon, folks. Lots of work tomorrow.” Dain got up and began walking off toward the cabin he and Ed shared.

“Check on,” Simon said, quietly making air quotes.

Dain popped him upside the back of the head. “Turn in, Simon. Before your mouth writes a check your ass can’t cash.”

The rest of the pack snickered as they began cleaning up the bottles and glasses from the night’s fun. That’s how most nights had gone since Granger came to visit. His first vacation since he began working as a contractor for security at Clover Leaf after the events of last year. It was great to get out of town and see Leanna instead of her having to come to him for a change. He loved it here. The fresh air and relative quietness. The steady breeze. The hard work during the day and relaxing nights. Reminded him of growing up on the outer banks.

“You know you could just stay, right?” Leanna said looking up at him as they walked.

“Man I can’t even hide my thoughts, huh?”

She gave him a look that said, “Not on your best day,” and then a hug that said “but that’s what I like about you.”

“Dain’s right. You’re real bad at lying, dude.”

“OK yes. I would love to just stay. For lots of reasons. But I can’t leave my friends to fight the fight alone. There’s big things brewing and people like us are all that stands between that dark tide and innocent people. I can’t back away from that. Not yet.”

“I know. I don’t think I’d like you as much if that weren’t the case.” Her hug tightened.

Granger’s phone rang, filling the otherwise quiet night with the main theme to the game “Robot Unicorn Attack.”

“Really?” Leanna said more at the song than the phone interruption.

Granger gave Leanna a quick kiss on the forehead and then answered the phone.

“Yo, Taz! What’s…” Granger was cut off mid sentence. His face went pale as the moon.
“Yeah…yeah I’ll head back now.” He slowly lowered the phone and looked at the sky lost in thought. His gears already turning. Planning.

“Dude. What’d she say?” Leanna said genuinely worried seeing the look on his face.

“The Dullahan. She’s back. I…I gotta head to Hill Valley.”

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Repeat Mistakes

Mal stumbled out of the cave and ran past Miles, fighting back the urge to vomit. Except there’s nothing left; it’s all on the floor of the cave. She sat down and ran her fingers clinically over her abdomen and lower back, checking for signs of swelling or bruising, but finding nothing. The fact that she found no signs of anything being wrong made her panic even more. She reached into an inside pocket of her med kit and pulled out a burner cell. She waited for it to power up, trying to keep her breathing under control.

She turned away from the Camero, speaking quickly and softly. “Hi Eva, it’s me. I just…can you call me as soon as you get this?” Her voice wavered. “I’ll explain later, but…I almost had to send the email. Just, please, as soon as you’re done…”

“Mal! Let’s go!” called Taz from the driver’s seat.

“I have to go. I love you.” She finished the call and slid the device back into her pocket, noticing that the front of her shirt was covered with blood and vomit. With trembling fingers she unbuttoned it and folded it neatly before sliding it into a larger evidence bag. The tank top underneath also bore some bloodstains, but it couldn’t be helped. She shouldered her kit and got into the backseat of the Camaro just as Taz hit the gas, sending dust spinning out behind them. She fiddled with the hem of the tank, thinking, This is Eva’s. She glanced over at Susan, who seemed to be having a serious conversation with Darren. Later, she thought. Focus. Right now we have a job to do. Let Susan do the ritual without killing herself. We can do this.


Mal watched as a team of nurses and doctors descended on Susan, moving her from the hospital bed to a stretcher that would wheel her out to the waiting helicopter, to take her back to WakeMed. She wanted to yell and scream at them, tell them to wait. They didn’t know about her labs or organ failure. They didn’t know what was done to her mind, how the false memories were implanted. But she remained silent. She had tried that earlier, and she was told that if she didn’t calm down they would remove her from the hospital. So she sat, holding Susan’s hand, and waited until they came for her.

She stood in the doorway as Susan was wheeled away. “I can’t help you right now, but I will find a way. I promise.” Her declaration was drowned out by the sound of a helicopter taking off. She sighed, and moved to grab her kit from the chair when her phone rang. It was an incoming call from Jason Scott. It was pure luck that her assistant Chelsea had found him, in a list of possible Empire Foundation contacts that could help her. There were rumors going around that his research project was not going as well as he had hoped, mostly due to lack of funding. Her offer to divert some of her funding to him, and a promise of a future favor, had opened a lot of doors. She steeled her voice before answering. “Doctor Cunningham.”

“So, I couldn’t get the coroner’s office to release the bodies for us,” Jason said without preamble. “However, they agreed to let us take some samples for additional testing—and maybe, if you play nice, they’ll let you have a look. I can’t guarantee anything, though. I had to pull a lot of strings for this, so you owe me big time.”

While she would have liked to do the autopsies herself, she knew she would have to take what she could get. “Alright. I can work with samples. It’s not ideal, but I’ve worked with much less before.”

“Also, you’re probably aware, but there were multiple explosions at Cloverleaf. Things are kind of hectic here, so don’t count on being able to get lab space. You can either run your samples at the coroner’s office, or get them shipped back to New York.”

She sighed, and made a mental note to call Chelsea. “Okay. Well, thanks again.”

“Sure. Hey, say I wanted to cash in my favor now, would you consider lending me your assistant? Some time away from the big city would do her good.”

Mal’s voice was flat. “No. Absolutely not.”

Jason sighed dramatically. “Oh well, can’t blame me for asking. She’s very persistent, which I appreciate. I’m sure we’ll be in touch soon.”

As soon as she hung up with Jason, her phone rang again, this time from an unknown number.

“Hello?”

“Mal? Oh my God,mami! I was so worried! When you didn’t answer the other phone…I’m so glad to hear your voice. Creía que you were…Are you okay? Where are you? Are you in a hospital?”

Oh god, I didn’t call Eva. Why didn’t I call her? I was busy with Susan trying to keep her stable. But I should have called her right away. That’s what normal people do right? Call their girlfriend first?

“Yes, I’m in the hospital.” As soon as the words escaped, she realized it was the wrong thing to say. “Let me rephrase, I’m physically at the hospital, but I’m not a patient. Eva, calm down, I’m okay.”

“You left me a message, on the emergency phone, que you were going to send THE email, which means que you thought you were going to die. And you just expect me to calm down? No, I won’t fucking calm down. And why the hell would you say that and now all of a sudden you are okay? No, Mal—you don’t go from ‘I’m dying’ to ‘I’m fine’ just like that. Unless…” Mal swore she could hear Eva putting two and two together. “What the fuck did you do?”

“I…” She tried to get her mouth to form the words, but they wouldn’t. She didn’t know how to explain how she felt the snake’s fangs sink into her skin, The burning pain that followed as the poison coursed through her veins. Doubling over and vomiting blood, gobs of it getting stuck in her hair. Looking down in horror to see that her whole abdomen was swollen, and the dark red bruising was spreading way too fast. Trying to turn her focus inward to try to identify exactly what organs were damaged, but not being able to tell, because the only thing her brain could process was pain. The realization that she had fifteen minutes at most before she bled out completely. Struggling to get her phone out of her pocket and open the email app, but the touchscreen wasn’t working because she’d smeared blood all over it. Taz holding the apple out to her, waiting for her permission. Making the decision without knowing the consequences, because she wasn’t ready to die, not yet. Her teeth piercing the ripe flesh of the fruit, and as she swallowed, all of the pain receding.

You almost died again. You keep making the same mistakes, running straight into danger, messing with things you can’t possibly understand. You will never learn, and next time you won’t have anyone there to save you. You are going to rush headlong into death, you foolish, foolish girl.

Eva shouting at her broke her train of thought. “Mal, are you still there? Díme algo, tell me what’s going on. Because I’ve got a million and one things going through my head y no hay nada bueno.”

Mal shuddered as she realized that they had been here once before. They had had this exact same conversation. Still she managed to force the words out. “I didn’t want to die, not like that. What I did…I’ll figure it out, but I didn’t want to die.”

“Hey, hey—Mal. It’s okay. Look, I’m sorry, you just had me so scared. We don’t have to talk now, just tell me what you need.”

Mal wrapped her arms around herself to try to stop shaking. “Can, you come pick me up? I need you here. And…I just want to go home.”

“Yeah, of course, I’m leaving right now. I want you to go someplace safe—go to Granger’s and stay there, okay?”

Now that she knew Eva was coming, all of the tension receded and exhaustion claimed her. “Yeah, okay. I could probably use a nap. And a shower.” She grimaced as she ran her fingers through her blood matted hair. “There is blood…” She stopped short at the pained sound that Eva made. “I’m sorry. I’m fine. I’m grabbing my stuff and going to Granger’s.”

“You better. And stay there, okay? Promise me.”

“I promise.”

Eva paused. “You know I love you, right? I didn’t think I’d get to tell you that again.”

“I know, and I love you too.”

“Okay, well, I’ll see you in a few hours. I’ll get there as soon as I can.”

After she hung up with Eva, she got a text from Chelsea. Courier on its way to the coroner’s office. Get all the samples you need and they’ll make sure everything gets back to the lab.

She paused before sending a quick text back. Thank you. Will see you soon.

She had totally forgotten about the dead members of the Triple Threat. But she needed to look at the bodies and get samples if she was going to make any headway on her other problem. She rubbed at the mark on her palm self-consciously as she made a rough estimate in her head. Getting from New Orleans to Hill Valley probably would take about eight to ten hours, so she could expect Eva in five. It would be cutting it close, but she should be able to get what she needed and make it back to Granger’s in time. She grabbed her med kit and put everything else out of her mind, except what was in front of her.

Okay, what do I need? Blood samples, and bone samples of the one who looked crushed. If I can’t get a look at the body, x-rays might work. Photos too, of any distinct markings. I think I saw a key, and a… She looked down at her palm, which bore the three-eyed marking. We’ll need scrapings of those definetly. It looked like a rash, not as defined as Susan’s. There is something going on here, I just have to find it. I don’t know what these corpses will tell me, but it’s a place to start. Maybe I can get them to release the body—what did Jason say, to play nice?

I don’t play nice. I will get what I came for.
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A key, a bird and other assorted symbols
God preserve us from crazy people

I arrived at the Cloverleaf Compound in Hill Valley, SC with a bit of
trepidation. It was my first mission with The Contingent. Susan Rourke had been stashed in a holding room under the compound having come running in the front a few days earlier yelling about some key and the Patron. When the six
Contingent agents when down to her cell to talk to her. After a crazy
discussion, part of the compound exploded Susan escaped out of a caved in wall. Thomas chased her down and followed her into the woods. She said she
had told us she was following the bird to the twins so she can kill the
snake and free the bear. A few of us got stopped by and had a chat with
Whim, the Fate Mage who tried to play games with us. But we were on a
mission. Susan got to the twins, which turned out to be a waterfall and
started a ritual that opened the wall behind the falls. At that point in
time, Miles, Taz and Mal joined Thomas to go help Susan. During this time Virgil and I had an interesting conversation with Tom Scarlett, the local Red Cap with a scary axe at the foot of a Life Tree on a local estate. Taz et al went into the cave after Susan only to run immediately out being
chased by some huge polluted water snake spirit that tried to kill them. It
about killed and possessed Mal, but Taz fought it off while Susan finished
her ritual killing the snake. Taz et al again piled into her Camaro and
drove down to me Virgil and I. As they got near, a big black Humvee careened out of the trees and tried to T-bone the car. After some wild heroics by
yours truly and Virgil the Hobo King, the crash was almost entirely abated.
But out popped three girls (with ta fourth still in the Humvee) yelling
something about them being the “Triple Threat” and we are about to get “boned.” What the hell is wrong with people these days? I think they need to go to church more. A crazy fight ensues in which I (against my better judgment and nature) attempt to physically assault one of these women and get decked 15ft across the yard, nearly killing me. That wasn’t natural. But Tom Scarlett came when my compatriots called for him and he helped us finish the fight. In the meantime Susan Rourke was injured and managed to get her blood on the tree which surprisingly healed the land of some sort of blight
it was experiencing. So all in all, an interesting experience. God preserve
me if something like that happens again.

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Abyssal Enjoyment as a Predictor of Long Term Surgical Performance: A Case Study
Gunther Behringer Journal Entry

It was the best of times. It was the worse of times…

Overall, I found my time in hell more enjoyable than I would have expected. I’m sure prior consideration would have been of a more thoroughly unpleasant experience, but it had bright points. The coachman was kindly, and the experience of the ride memorable and not unpleasant. The home and the children playing at the greenhouse were the kind of memories ideal childhoods are made of. We saved a priest and two child-spirits. That certainly counts as the best of times.

Children eating hearts. That was the worse of times. Mothers, don’t let your children grow up eating disembodied hearts with their demon fangs. More on that later.

I said “we”- it was a team effort, more than I, or likely any of us, could have achieved alone. Reyna found the key, Lisa pulled Father Raymond out of the plant-beast and Clair convinced the children to help us escape. We saved those we could, sealed the gate… and I lost the key.

I couldn’t focus, because I got to thinking about how the kid’s faces deformed. Did that hurt? Will they remember that happened to them, when they are all grown up and trying to do a transsphenoidal pituitary extraction, and lose their focus mid-procedure?

No, it’s definitely not time to return. Not yet. I need to work on my focus. Maybe medication will help…

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Sapphics
Storyteller: Justin

Sapphics

“Hey there. We’ve got a crazy woman here who I think y’all will be pretty interested in. She came running into the lobby of Cloverleaf HQ hollerin’ about “The Key,” and doomsday, and a few other wild things. Ordinarily, I would have tossed her out, but two things stuck out to me. The first is that this is Susan Rourke and her family goes way back in this town. The second is I read about that key symbol that the Patron uses, and when someone as dark as the Patron is involved, I don’t like to take chances. I can only keep this quiet for so long before authorities start poking their nose, so if you want to know more, you need to come quick.”

- Bob McCain, Head of Security for Cloverleaf Hill Valley

Hunters

Tazendra “Taz” Crow
Virgil Halfdollar
Miles Jaggens
Doctor Mallory “Mal” Cunningham
Xander Court
Darren Knox

Major Clues

Susan Rourke
A troubled woman who underwent unlawful medical experiments. She possesses psychic acuity and fragmented memories of the Patron’s location. Her memories were scrambled to the point of her almost killing herself, however, the players stopped that. Unfortunately, she was caught a hail of machine gun fire from the Triple Threat and fell into a coma.
Project Chimera
Possibly two factions of Project Chimera showed up in response to Susan Rourke arriving: Whim, and the Triple Threat. Whim wanted to guide her away. Triple Threat wanted to eliminate her.
Sickness
The hunters were warned by Rourke that there was a terrible Sickness in Hill Valley that was part of something larger to destroy the world. Rourke and the hunters restored a pact between the faeries and the Rourkes to help the land, but this won’t stop the Sickness directly.
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