The Contingent

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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A Lens Looking into What?
The Darkness Closes In

For not the first time in the last couple months, I again lie in a hospital bed wondering if I made the wrong choice in joining the Contingent. I got partially frozen on my last mission, with two demons possessing me and trying to come alive in me. This mission I was brought to consciousness after nearly bleeding out after an attack by someone who we thought was our friend, but turned out to be a Demon. I have grow closer to Grainger over the past month or so. He felt guilt about me taking his possession and it almost killing me. He has been helping me through the recovery and we get word that we are to have a mission in Chapel Hill, NC. He still seems to be having some problems with his guilt, I am trying to get him to let go of it, but it is deeply embedded. But, maybe I can convince him to give me his confession, if he can rid himself of this guilt and I can help, maybe it will lend some healing to both of us in our mutual attempts to battle our own guilty conscious. We combined with Taz, Jack, Virgil and Zac for this mission. I love these people, I worked with Virgil and Taz before and I cannot think of better people. Jack is an enigma. He was soulless from his last mission until…SHE…gave him a soul. How does one lose their soul? It is not even their’s to give and God would not relinquish control to another. What is going on? And then there is Zac…God bless him, Lord knows the college students sure did when we showed up at the Morehead Observatory. They acted like it was the second coming of Christ. He is not even a good actor, Antiquarium is one of the worst films I have ever seen. The amount of thought he puts into his films is equal to the amount of thought he puts into the rest of the events in his life, mainly none. His cavalier shoot first, ask questions later attitude nearly killed us this time. God love him, cause I am having some difficulties in that realm. None the less, his pretty face posed as a wonderful distraction at the observatory for me and the rest of the team to sneak into the back rooms. This is where we found…absolutely nothing, zip, zilch, nada. Except for the existence of some weird construction on the observatory itself. Allie came with us to “help.” Which of course was welcome at the time. But after we were zapped from the arcade called Baxter’s to some steam tunnels under the observatory, she showed who she really was. We had found ourselves in this tunnel which oddly enough had offices in it with lots of information concerning the construction on the observatory and other things. In addition we found a computer with the transcript of a conversation held between four entities, one of which turned out to be Allie. All four of which appeared to be Demons, and us having a traitor in our midsts. Cue Zac. While we attempted to talk to Allie and make heads or tails of this information, he shot an arrow at her. Then after she appeared to open a door to some weird place he shot an explosive arrow into the doorway. He hurt everyone, to say both were brash actions, might be an understatement. Allie or whatever her Hellspawn name is led us through this entryway, into what can only be described as maybe a pocket dimension. We were on a platform and in front and below us were ourselves with jacks and cords plugged into our heads, strapped to tables. Of course this is where we find what we were looking for and Allie says she has been keeping “us” until she can convince us of the validity of her actions. In a nutshell, destroy life on Earth by colliding it with the lives in Heaven and Hell at the same time and overloading God with everything that is going on. Thus destroying Him. Cue Zac once again… he shot some weird device we know nothing about out of Allie-Demon’s hands and it led to more pain for us. I feel a little deja vu coming on. Allie turned into some mass of eyeballs that shot lasers and tried to kill us. At this time, the weird lens siphoning energy from the contingent members with the 3 eye symbol on them in the distance seemed slightly less important. Did I also mention that it was sending this energy into the entire populace of the planet? Cause that is what it looked like. After that things got kinda nuts. Virgil sang some song into a Black Sun Diamond and called some Angel of Death down to help. Thats cool, but of course he came to kill everything, so were in the crosshairs as well. After some door opened, and a key appeared, Jack was able to break the key, by nearly sacrificing himself to the action. Zac saved him. I guess all that stunt work can be useful at times. Somehow Allie opened the door back out of the room, from which we dragged our other selves and escaped through the steam tunnels. When the consciousnesses converged from both existences of each person, some were unconscious and close to death. Yours truly amongst them. i don’t really understand what happened as i lay here in reflection. All I know is that, the Lord has put me in a place where I feel I am doing His work, but I will be damned if I am for once not sure if I can do what He is asking.

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Chat Log between the Symbols

⊙: Siblings, our patronage is reaching Phase Two. Our long term nodes along the divine triangle have successfully catalyzed the tri-axis. Homo sapien psycho-genesis has reached critical mass. Active hostile protocols haven’t interceded. The Ka Realization Dampeners are activating and…

ᚦ: Hey asshole, what was that in New Orleans?

♜: Absolute perfection. Everyone and everything is going as I require.

ᚦ: Oh, PLEASE! I’m tired of your shit. The Usturanol interaction basically RUINED my operations at ASI Washington.

♜: All consumers were visually tagged, per agreed protocol. A search-fail by your agents should be concerning, but it is not my failure.

⊙: ᚦ, don’t take your frustration out on everyone else. However, you do raise a good point. ♜, stop sleeping where you’re eating.

ᚦ: For real though, that street meat is starting to get to your brain.

♜: There were some losses of control, but, it’s been within the agreed upon risk parameters.

ᚦ: Has it?

♜: Of course.

❤: It did help in San Francisco. We were able to procure more of what ⊙ wants.

♜: ᚦ, the risk matrix was evident. Baltimore is under your control, now that I’ve removed the greatest risk. In addition, our vampire problems in New Orleans became solutions. I fail to see your issue.

⊙: The issue is that if the Contingent had been any smarter, they would have uncovered our plans and then our entire operation would have been jeopardized. You were lucky that they are all homo sapien fools.

♜: Yes, but that was part of the risk matrix, wasn’t it?

⊙: Well, yes, we did run simulations against them, first. Especially the active hunters.

♜: They rescued me; what further proof could you want that the calculations were accurate?

ᚦ: They located the ectoplasm needed for the Phase One reprogramming, plus they showed me exactly how the Masonic carvings work—they even delivered the instructions. All I had to do was uninstall them and transport them to the mortals’ boneyard. SUCKERS!!

❤: They also gave us the bell. They practically gifted it to us wrapped in a bow.

⊙: It’s unfortunate that you then followed that up by slaughtering their coworkers. I am bothered by how often we resort to murder. It’s inefficient and unkind. Do not forget that they have killed several of our enemies and injured one of our rebellious “allies” this year alone.

♜: Again, part of the risk matrix.

ᚦ: You know, if we play this right, we could probably turn them on Blackstar next.

♜: What are you…?

⊙: Don’t use their names! You know you can’t use names!

♜: Why would you say that?

⊙: Because she’s impulsive and a crazy person.

♜: Switching channels.

<transmissions>

♜: Confirmation, all parties present, no external agents.

⊙: My location in Columbia was destroyed. This is why everyone says you’re a bitch.

ᚦ: Oops! Sorry about that ;D

⊙: “Sorry about that”? It was on purpose.

❤: Children…

⊙: Your lies don’t work on us, ᚦ. We aren’t idiots.

❤: No, we have the Contingent for that. <laughter> I believe we now do what the humans call “a fist bump.”

⊙: I still would like to perform an analysis to make sure that the world will end as expected.

❤: “End of the world” is so grim. I prefer “rebirth.”

ᚦ: A new evolution.

⊙: I am amenable to renaissance.

❤: The Renaissance. Now, that was an age. Art and beauty all around me.

♜: The Renaissance didn’t go well for me. All that freedom doesn’t suit my tastes.

⊙: Back to the issue at hand. Phase One is reaching its apex. Everything has been procured. Once the Door has been created, we can use our Key.

♜: This doesn’t involve the three of us.

⊙: It does. Without Phase One, the conditions wouldn’t arise that even makes Phase Two possible.

♜: I am aware; however, leave Phase Two to us, as we are leaving Phase One to you. Compartmentalizing the details of each Phase was critical to risk reduction.

❤: The ones that were too broken for my workings in San Francisco were sent to you. Have you received them?

⊙: Yes, and their physical condition was better than anticipated.

♜: And I expect you have the applied science from the New Orleans transubstantiation experiment?

⊙: Yes, it’s already running.

❤: Ah, and the rivers?

⊙: The Avernian wellsprings are being diverted as expected. They should be unleashed on schedule.

ᚦ: Once the waters are running again, I’m FINALLY gonna get my boy out of lockup! The party in D.C. is gonna be OFF THE HOOK!!

⊙: Your love triangle is just so creepy.

ᚦ: What love triangle?! There’s no TRIANGLE. There was me, and Samael. Samael picked the wrong side…and I made sure he paid for his lack of vision. Soon, he’ll understand—we’ll reform humanity hand in hand, as it was always meant to be.

⊙: Ugh, you are so…human. It’s disgusting.

❤: Love is love is love.

♜: Well, ᚦ did fall for a reason. As did we all.

<silence>

♜: Moving on, the revisions to the Etemenanki Protocol are nearly ready. The energy is stacked away. We just need to find the right puppet to pull it off.

⊙: Excellent! And your new nation is about to be formed.

❤: Yes. An eruption, one might say.

⊙: Lol

ᚦ: Oh, I already have a spot for my new condo all staked out. You can use it if you want, ♜. Think of it as a timeshare.

⊙: HA, timeshare. I see what you did there.

♜: I’m putting things right, down in the Delta. I won’t have time for Volcano.

⊙: This is where we fundamentally differ. I think people should be free and rise up. You want to replace our Father.

❤: Daddy issues.

♜: “Daddy” didn’t smash you into dust and cast you across the planet. So yes, I have some issues.

❤: No, Daddy just smashed everything I loved into bits.

ᚦ: None of you know issues. My work was everything, literally everything, and it was taken from me.

⊙: I lost my wine glass when I fell…

❤: Aww, I have a vineyard with many wine glasses if you need one.

⊙: Actually, yes! Also, I prefer pinks.

♜: WINE? There’s no wine in the New World. There’s just some horrid thing that grows near the coast. The fact that you could call it wine is beyond me. And of course you like pinks.

ᚦ: That’s why it likes walking around in that hippie-chick meat suit so damn much.

⊙: I don’t always wear my “hippie chick.” I have a lot of identities. I’m not as attached to mine as you are.

ᚦ: Oh, come on. Allie keeps popping up all over the place, and that’s just a coincidence?

⊙: Don’t use names!

♜: Switching channels!

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The Race's Splendor
Storyteller: Justin

The Race’s Splendor

One of the locations pointed out by Rouke is Morehead Observatory in Chapel Hill. This venerable location announced ambitious plans for renovations earlier in the year and has recently reopened for limited shows. However the Contingent hasn’t been able to discover the source of the funding for these renovations or even who performed them. The parallels between this and Flagstaff are unnerving. Let’s all come back from this alive.

Hunters

Tazendra “Taz” Crow
Granger Simms
Xander Court
Jack Mills
Virgil Half-Dollar
Zak Zimmerman

Major Clues

  • Patron is actually four demons
  • Patrons believe that they are overthrowing an oppressive world and freeing everyone, but, most people will die in the process
  • Allie is the Patron of the Eye
  • The Patron of the Eye used the observer effect to still the minds of humanity. Then, it used psychics to gather madness and focus it, creating a door to something else in the mind of humankind, allowing them to believe the world was weirder and darker than they thought. Next, the key was partially put in the door before being broken. The door cracked open.
  • Phase one of the plan of the Patrons to end the world and start it over is complete. Phase two is beginning.
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After Fifty Years
Storyteller: Cathy

After Fifty Years

Susan Rourke believes Dorothea Dix hospital is another key location in The Patron’s apocalyptic plans. Although there are rumors of the hospital’s imminent closing, it still houses a small number of inmates. In fact, traffic cameras show a charter bus in the area recently with California plates unloading new patients. Our preliminary research traces the bus back to GesCharter; yet another mysterious shell corp. The Contingent must found out what The Patron is planning and help the people inside who may be under its control.

Hunters

Charles Powell
Doctor Mallory “Mal” Cunningham
Eva Jimenez
Wayne Hodges
Claire Hollingsworth
Richard Miller

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L'Apres-Midi d'un Faune
Storyteller: Richard

L’Apres-Midi d’un Faune

Rourke marked Duke University as a center of Patron activity. Contingent operatives also identified Duke’s Parapsychology Department as the source of a hack that compromised ASI’s dream lab weeks ago. This hacker may also be responsible for bringing down the Secret Frequency. Your team must infiltrate the West Duke Building, locate and neutralize the rogue hacker’s operations, and gather advance intel for our heavy hitters.

– Elijah Sharpe

Hunters

Fina Aquinas
Harry McCoy
Lisa Morrow
Miles Jaggens
Reyna Parker
Vickie Mack

Major Clues:

  • The Patron is not a single demonic entity as long-suspected, but rather four distinct demons working in concert to bring about the end of the world.
  • One of the Patron Demons, the Eye (using the guises of Allie Espina and Ben Coffin), funded research at Duke’s Rhine Lab to funnel madness from patients at Dix Hospital into Rhine’s telepaths and project it out into all of humanity via the equipment at the Morehead Planetarium. The endgoal was to make humanity capable of believing in their apocalyptic vision—or, as Allie claimed repeatedly, “to free you, both in mind and in soul”.
  • The Observer summoned a horrid entity from beyond this reality to achieve its goals at Duke: a psychic cenobite which used the guise of Dr. Jim Krull to recruit psychics and telepathically flood them with insanity.
  • To bring about this cataclysmic potential, the Eye created a mystical Key from both its own body and the brands of its cultists (including Miles Jaggens) to unlock a great Door which appeared in an extradimensional space inside the lab. Although the hunters destroyed both the Key and the Eye, the other demons—the Heart, the Thorn, and the Tower—claimed that the Door’s mere existence was all that they required in order to move forward with their plan. Furthermore, the hunters learned that the Eye had created a glitch in space-time to repeat these events in three distinct locations so as to multiply its chances of success in case one of its attempts failed (as it did here).
  • Harry McCoy put his video camera up to the keyhole in the Door and saw five rivers—three of water, one of fire, one of blood—flowing together into a great rift of darkness. A cloud of tormented souls rose out of the mist and steam.
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Dam research update
I went through a dimention in a dam with no name

Dam History

I’ve been continuing to research the history of what I’m going to refer to as the Hill Valley dam. The reason I say that is that as strange as this sounds, on every record and drawing I’ve come across, there is some sort of copying error, degradation, or damage that obscures the name. Construction of the dam was completed in 1929 just as the Great Depression was taking hold. There doesn’t seem to be any budget authorization from the South Carolina General Assembly to build the dam. I also can’t find any call or information about the impetus for this dam from within the Department of Natural Resources or the Department of Transportation. It appears it came directly from a small office in the Department of Administration but the funding source for it is unclear. The whole project was planned by a company named Noir Astra and built by other various private contractors. They did not consult with the Army Corp of Engineers as is typical for large water projects of this nature. Noir Astra and every other company that I can track down that was involved in the construction of the dam went under either shortly after the dam was created or in the stock market crash.

Another oddity is that while this was a new dam, a project was undertaken under the WPA (Workers Progress Administration) to “revitalize" the dam. WPA projects were almost exclusively for new infrastructure that was labor intensive. I’m unclear what may have been labor intensive about “revitalizing” a new dam. Also strangely, despite the controversy of the WPA and how projects were selected and money was spent, this dam never showed up on any lists of misappropriated projects that opponents of the WPA objected to.

The Hill Valley dam also underwent another set of renovations and upgrades in 1979, exactly 50 years after the original construction. This time the upgrades were performed by the Department of Transportation but it is unclear who initiated these upgrades. The dam hadn’t been listed in the Department’s previous list of critical infrastructure investment needs in years prior. In 1979 it just appeared on the list and the work was performed. I can’t find any earlier environmental impact studies about the project that are required and typically done years in advance of the project actually starting.

Dam Design

Even more mysterious than the funding and building of the Hill Valley dam is the intent behind it. From looking at insurance flood plain maps and historical records, the Tyger River watershed has no history of serious flooding. From a flood prevention perspective, there is no reason for a dam even to the original specification size, much less the later improvements and upgrades. Agriculturally, along various branches of the Tyger River, there hasn’t been extensive need of water management either. Historically, Hill Valley and the surrounding area hasn’t had any heavy industry. Business have typically chosen to locate closer to Greenville. It wasn’t until Cloverleaf was set up in the 90’s that the area had any industrial base at all, so there was no need for a hydro electric facility of this size.

Now that I’ve ruled out all of the common purposes for building a dam, I’m left with the uncommon. The dam is constructed with multiple sets of wards. My research shows that one set of wards is to prevent ghosts from entering the area. Another set of wards are to prevent death. Looking at the various stages of the dam’s design and subsequent renovation projects, the dam always had a gothic style that is pretty atypical for both the area and the time period for public works. There is definite death symbolism included in the design. However, looking over the plans and the lists of materials used, it wasn’t until the 1979 renovations and upgrades that these were actually completed into what I recognize as modern wards. I can’t completely rule out whether there were mystical effects from the initial design though. The wards now however are degraded and not at the power they were designed with in 1979.

Dam Recent History and Interest to The Contingent
The land around the damn originally belonged to the Rourkes. At some point eminent domain was used by the State of SC and was declared public land and made part of an obscure conservatory program. The Carfax Trust acquired the land in 1992 from the State of SC. We now know that Alexander Carfax is a very powerful vampire. He had some knowledge of what was happening at/in the area of the dam but didn’t know how to access it. Someone within Project Chimera, in 2006, Carfax had Tom and Cloverleaf install security and keep a watch on the dam site. It wasn’t until our team discovered how to access…I don’t know quite what to call it other than “the site”, that Carfax could make his move. When in “the site” there was some somewhat modern equipment that seemed to be from a Project Chimera expedition. I’m unsure if they did not inform Carfax of how to enter, or if there were other factors that he wasn’t ready to launch his plan yet.

The Site

We were able to access what isn’t really the damn, but is in some sort of perpendicular space that is at the same site as the dam. In this other dimensional space, we found a massive device, that was comprised of two giant pillars that had interfaces at the base. The interfaces were VM interfaces with keyboards. Strangely enough we were able to understand the interface and keyboards. Even inside the interface, there was an escape to console such as you even see in some video games. It is truly frightening what could enable this sort of mapping onto our understanding of an intuitive interface. Once we were in the interface, we discovered a computer simulation of “heaven” afterlifes for souls that seemed to somehow be pulled into this device. It appeared to be the souls of those bound to the Hill Valley area. They were each living out an afterlife, unaware that they were actually in a device. The device itself seemed to be breaking down and not completely operating as it should.

This is what my research has turned up so far on the history and construction of the dam. There are other case files that further detail the encounter we had with Carfax and how his minions accessed the device.

- Jack Mills

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There is Always a Place

Chapel Hill, NC has a history of outsiders, weirdos, punks, hippies, actors and miscreants of a particular blend. Lately they’ve been harder to find. Making way for the marriage of new money and old. Developers out to make even the airport coffee Starbucks sells operate under the glamour of being fringe. Now open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Their numbers are still strong 8 blocks west on the other side of the Welcome to Carborro Line. The pioneers among them have gone further south to forge co-ops and communes on the Chatham County line.

However if you know where to look, you can still find the true believers waiting for the call for the great leap forward. They can be seen at the cemetery leaving tulips for Charles Kuralt. They can found trying out half baked monologues to an empty amphitheater in the Forrest theater. They are bumming bus fair for the free transit system in front of the Weaver Street Market. You can find them dancing in the dark when Dex and Sarah are rocking the Cave. Late at night their stomachs are growling in anticipation of the Gambler, served on salvaged plates from the Old Rat by TJ. Until September you might find one or two of them placing final goodbye scratches behind Red and Elmo’s ears at the Bookshop. If you have a broken heart you might even meet one of them serving you a magic martini at the Carolina Coffee House. If you don’t ask her to take out the olives, she might even tell you where to find their real sanctuary, the Undercity.

Once upon a time there were entrances all over town to the Undercity. Now there are two. You can get in at the Midway Barber Shoppe by asking PJ for a damn fine haircut, or you can make your way to the Undercity via Edith taking a shine to you at the Shrunken Head.

The Undercity got its start as a middle finger to the war on drugs in the 1980’s. It was built three stories the DA’s Office in the old Post Office at the line between East and West Franklin Street. The first occupants used it as a 50 yard marijuana farm. Climate controlled, hydraulic pressed doors 15 inches thick weighing in at 3 tons. Power is taken from the city grid, with a backup system tied to the oil back up for the university’s steam tunnel system. The ceiling lights are ultra violet. In 1989 the marijuana plants were cleared out, sheet-rock walls put up and a sprinkler system put in when it became a music venue.

Fate and fortune conspired to have the Undercity outgrown or forgotten about by the time the year 2000 came around. That changed when Edith, from the Sunken Head was painting her back wall to be ready for Halloween in 2004.

Edith, her husband Spaz gathered up like minded friends and turned the Undercity into a secret market. Only two types of currency are accepted PLENTY Dollars, a social experiment in local economic tender, silver, and quid pro quo from vendor to vendor. Edith and Spazz have spent years reproducing old tomes from the UNC-CH Libraries giving walls a Victorian gothic feel. If you spend enough time browsing the collection you’ll notice it is divided into lore, classics, law, and musical compositions. PJ encouraged a local band of Hari Krishnas and Lutherans to run operate a 30 bed free Hostel. Elizabeth Somner, a pastor with the Lutherans handles most of their operations.

Notable traders include a carpenter named Roger Growler Jose Cardenas gives the first option for his eggs and vegetables to the undercity before taking them his store on the city limit line. Sabrina Windshield trades upcycled gear. Mostly junk but people do throw out useful things. Professor Biarack is always looking for hired hands to help with his “science experiments”. What really makes the place come alive though is hearing teenagers practicing music, kids learning to throw hatchets, and an all ages menageries trying to entertain the market with original productions.

Being deep underground you expect it to smell like mold and mildew but you will pleasantly surprised. The undercity smells like sawdust, olive oil, and birch.

The streets may be wilted and full of fresh paint over decay but the Undercity makes this a town with wandering back to now and again.

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Souless
Part 1

Victim 1: 35 year old caucasian male. Third degree burns across the entirety of the torso, but not cause of death. Extreme heat melted the vitreous body, and there are small fractures on the inside of the orbit.

Mal paused, trying to find the best word to describe what she was looking at. The chest was splayed open, but there was not an excessive amount of trauma.

There is no indication of ripping or cutting. She furiously erased the sentence. The thoracic cavity was pulled open perimortem. There are holes, three fourths of an inch in diameter through the skin, muscle and into the costal cartilage of ribs 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9. The shape of the wound indicates a hook was used. The hook went through the cartilage and terminates into the posterior of the bone. The ribs are fractured but not broken.

If pulling their chests open without splintering the bone was their goal, this was a smart way to go about it.

The hearts are missing, but there is not any significant damage to the pleural cavity. No indication of any symbols or rituals.

Mal put down her clipboard and pulled on a pair of gloves, in preparation to start her examination of the abdominal cavity. But something made her stop, and she looked down at the body.

Why am I hesitating? It’s been awhile since I’ve been here, in the lab, doing an actual autopsy. Maybe that’s it? But, identifying what killed people is how I got into hunting in the first place, it should feel good, but it doesn’t. Why? Oh, that’s right, I have no soul.

She shook her head, in an attempt to stop her through process, and out of the corner of her eye she caught a glint of metal, lodged between the transverse colon and the stomach. Well, this must be the wire used to pull the chest apart. She thought. It looks thick enough. As she moved the intestine out of the way to access the stomach, she gasped as she noticed bite marks. But they were nothing like she had ever seen. The flesh was not ripped or torn, like she had seen on the victims of typical shifter attacks. It was almost as if the organ was impaled. The punctures were needle thin, on the medial ends of the stomach. Even just from looking at the distance between the bit marks she knew that whatever creature had attacked him, had the capability to dislocate their jaw. What the hell did this?

She removed the stomach with practiced ease, and placed it on a tray. She retrieved a digital camera from her bag, and started taking pictures from various angles. She wasn’t sure why, but something about it reminded her of a sea creature, but she wasn’t positive. Once she was done she sent a text to Chelsea.

Could you see if Empire has a marine biologist on staff? I’m going to forward you some files.

While she waited for a response she confirmed that there were the same bite marks on the internal organs of the other victims. The ones that were further away from the house did not have the damage to their eyes, and the the burns were less severe. She remembered something that Charles had said, about lights flickering near Stella, and she shivered. Her laptop pinged and she opened the email in her inbox.

From: AmyPerez@empirefoundation.org
To: MalloryCunningham@empirefoundation.org

Doctor Cunningham,

I was really surprised to hear from you! From the photos you sent me I’d say that it looks like the bite of an anglerfish. But a land dwelling anglerfish big enough to attack humans? That’s like MST3K stuff. I hope that helps. Let me know what you find out!

Sincerely,
Amy Perez

A fish shifter? I never even realized that was possible. Someone must know. Mal scrolled through the contacts in her phone, before hitting dial, hoping that the number she had was still active. She sighed in relief when it clicked over to voicemail.

“Hey Ed, it’s Mal. Listen, I have a quick question. Have you ever heard of a shifter that could turn into a fish? Call me as soon as you get this, it’s important.”

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An email From Zak to his Agent
Zak Zimmerman

To: Fred Fulson (ffulson@glamour.kingdom)
From: Zak Zimmerman (truezak@zak.awesome)

Subject: You might have been right about SC!!

Attachment: marvinmillerinvestigations.jpg

Hey Agentman. Do you remember when I played Chris in ‘The Storm Has A Name’?i’ve been thinking a lot (me? I know right!) about the part where the beautiful fortune teller saw his girlfriend’s death, and then he had a dream about it, and then it happened, just like in the dream! thats what happened to me in SC, except you aren’t my girlfriend (unless theres something you want to tell me :)), the fortune teller was actually a guy dressed as the devil, and it was you from the future talkgin to me instead of a dream. I know this all sounds crazy, just think of it as me ‘going hollywood’ and wasting my money. Oh, right, what I’m spending money on, don’t be worried if you see someone tailing you around (unless its a bad guy, then do be worried), I hired a PI (so cool!) to keep an eye on you until I think you are safe.
Be AWESOME!

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