Repo Mage

01NOV15

The End of the Beginning...

Sunday

Everyone starts to wake up at the Dreven’s. Mark and Jacob start talking about getting with the rest of the group, knowing that everyone needs to know what’s going on with Shelly, and that they’ll need help to fix the situation. Teresa walks in, and without slowing grabs Mark and drags him outside, where she promptly punches him in the chest.

She’s furious, and so is Mark at the moment. He sits her down and has her explain herself. After hearing last night from Ashley what happened yesterday, she is furious that she’s the only one of the group that isn’t getting any training or knowledge of what’s what. As she puts it, “What would’ve happened if Ash and I had been here by ourselves when Shelly showed up?” She is determined to learn anything and everything she can from whoever will teach her. Mark tells her that she needs to talk to her father first, and she agrees, but with the proclamation that she will not let it stop her if he says no. She has a rare moment of vulnerability, explaining that she’s so upset because of everyone, Ashley at least was supposed to be her safe place, the one person that didn’t have to deal with the life-threatening world her father had to, or that wouldn’t leave her like her mother. She wants to be able to help and protect her friend.

They head back inside to finish breakfast. Other than some confusion from the boys over the hickie on Ashley’s neck – which Teresa defuses by threatening the boys not to say anything about it through her death glares – breakfast goes quickly. Mark texts Harry and tells him to have everyone at Nighthawks for a powwow. With everything going on, no one remembers that today is Mark’s birthday, not even him.

Mark, Ashley and Jacob head to Nighthawks. They find Harry, Xander, Pale, Dylan, and Loomis waiting for them. Mark and Jacob explain the events of the night before. Loomis starts helping wait tables, even though Murphy tells him that he does not work there. He is also forbidden to talk in front of Teresa due to his talking about nipple clamps, etc.

Raizo Midori, who has come to New Avalon with the Three Destinies in their service, is driven to Nighthawks by Fong. Midori is part of a ninja clan that has pledged service to the Destinies, and work to protect them and do their bidding. They are aware of a Lost Destiny here in the city, and have tasked Midori with finding and aiding her. Tony Lao suggests that he work with the group, as they know the area and he believes they are already in the service of the Lost Destiny.

Fong drops Midori off, who introduces himself to the group. He goes over his clan, why he is here and what he brings to the table. The group splits up. Mark, Ashley and Midori are going to find Cross and Veronica. Harry, Loomis, Jacob, Xander, Pale and Dylan are headed to Madison’s to try and crime-scene investigate.

Mark gets in the area of Cross’s, but suddenly realizes that he cannot remember where she lives, and neither can anyone else in the car. Mark even calls Harry and the others, but none of them can remember her address either. Mark tries a surveillance spell to get a bird’s eye view of the area, but can see a large section of the city in the area is blurry and out of focus and unviewable. They decide to meet the others at Madison’s.

Madison’s still has a police presence. Zara is waiting for them, Gideon is waiting to talk to Harry (also wants to talk to Mark). Zara brings Harry and Dylan up to see Gideon while the rest start to look around and loiter. Dylan is wearing a CSI jacket that Harry had gotten him. Gideon reads Harry the riot act, warning him that he’s got people looking for Shelly. Harry maintains that Shelly is innocent, and Gideon basically states that they’d better find proof of that – good and real proof – before his people find her. He also states that the group is not on the friendly list, that they don’t trust them at all since it was Shelly.

The other group shows up about the same time as Harry and Dylan get back downstairs from Gideon’s office. They start to move around and investigate the scene. Loomis, Mark and Ashley start working a ritual to reach out to any ghosts or spirits that are in the house to question them. Harry helps Dylan photograph the scene, using both normal and spirit photography. Midori uses his Mystic Warrior powers to try and attune himself to the psychic imprint of the scene, hoping to find clues that way. Jacob and Zara start going through the place, attempting to see if it was perhaps a distraction, and if anything is missing or stolen. Xander and Pale are loitering and providing basic security to the group.

Midori notices family pictures around the house, and realizes that the Lost Destiny lives here. He recognizes her from the mental images that the Three Destinies had provided him with. He looks around, easily following the fight in his mind’s eye. He can tell that it was a succubus that was fighting here, and he can feel where someone else teleported the succubus into the house, and then where it was teleported out as well. There is also something else here in the mansion that feels like a Destiny. It feels as though part of her is still here, perhaps a missing part that is why she is a Lost Destiny, unsure of herself and with no memories.

Loomis walks into the foyer with his doctor’s bag of goodies. He pulls out a Yoo-hoo, an old fashioned clothespin which he places on his nose, and then a dogeared, ancient looking book. He pours the Yoo-hoo out, creating a circle around himself. He begins to read – in a nasally voice – from a marked passage: “’About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him-and I didn’t know how potent that part might be-that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.’ The Gospel according to Stephenie Meyer.” He turns to Mark and Ashley. “See, the thing about ghosts is, they don’t feel anything, they have no emotions anymore. So you have to hit them with something terribly bad, so they can feel something and feel attracted to what makes them feel horrible. So what could be worse than reading them Twilight?”

Loomis is attacked by the massive ritual wards that have been placed upon the mansion, fighting against his ritual. He takes the feedback from the counterattack, protecting Mark and Ashley from it. Knowing that the rituals would prevent the normal hauntings, Loomis starts to twist his spell, looking instead for the spirits of the newly fallen. They fight the ritual wards, first Loomis then Mark taking the feedback, both protecting Ashley – though she ends up pouring a lot of power into the spell. Finally they break the ritual wards, causing them to fall. The restless spirits of the newly dead swarm around them, and Loomis questions them. They find out that most – if not all – of the security that died were recent hires or recent moves from other departments and jobs. All were either sick, dying, heavily in debt, etc. All of them were given a rather large life insurance policy in the contract to work security that Halloween night. The ghosts also saw ‘something’ reach through the ether and pull the succubus – no one is thinking of it as Shelly – out of the house, teleporting it somewhere else.

Jacob and Zara don’t find anything stolen or missing. Everything looks like a simple assault by someone teleporting the succubus in and then out again, and the only ones she followed were Cross and Veronica. Jacob does notice that Sister – the Black Coat bodyguard – is back at the mansion and guarding Madison’s room. Jacob sneaks away from his guard and tries to parkour his way up to Madison’s balcony, only to be caught easily – scary for him as that usually doesn’t happen – by Sister. He makes some excuses, and heads back downstairs to Zara quickly.

Harry and Dylan take plenty of photographs, and manage to go around to find out what is on the other side of the thich security door that stopped the succubus. It leads to a garage, and it seems a car is missing. They check some security footage, and it does appear as though someone – possibly Fetch – drove Cross and Veronica out and away from the mansion.

The group heads back to Nighthawks to discuss everything they found, unwilling to talk around the mansion with all the ears. In fact, they stop to check their cars for bugs – all except Zara, who has already disabled all of the ones on hers. They find a multitude of them, both listener and tracker bugs.

At Nighthawks, they ask Murphy again if Shelly will be safe here. He promises it’s neutral territory, and she is. He warns Murphy that people are going to come looking for her. Harry tries to talk to her for a bit, but she’s not very talkative.

They sit and start going over things. Skanks shows up, having seen the private ABP go out on Shelly across the S.O.R.T. network. He sticks around to see if he can help at all.

Teresa shows up as well. Jacob hears Ashley call her ‘Peaches’ and starts to make fun of her nickname. She has a private conversation with her father, echoing the one with Mark she had. She wants training, from anyone and everyone who will offer any. Her father agrees with her, and promises to bring her to the shooting range soon and to pick out something for her birthday. (Teresa is now a Sidekick)

Dylan plans to get with Harry after his talk to go and find the ‘stolen’ car from Madison’s. Zara has been looking into it, and sees that not only was it not reported missing from the mansion, but it’s back there now.

Xander, Pale and Zara head to Queen Hospital to check on the status of Madison. There, they run into Moreau, dressed as a doctor. Xander approaches him, and he remarks that he’s ‘here to check up on someone’ and that ‘maybe your boss isn’t what you think, eh?’ He heads outside, and Xander goes back to find that Zara says that Madison’s private physicians showed up and transferred her out. Xander calls and relays all of this to Harry.

Before the call, they are discussing different ways of finding Cross’s address again. Harry goes looks at his GPS, and he finds a blank entry that he thinks should be it. Midori uses his Mystic Warrior abilities, and the address appears for him. When he tries to tell it to the others, they don’t hear it, they only hear Charlie Brown parent noises. It’s determined that him, Dylan and Jacob will go and try to check up on Cross and Veronica to make sure that they are OK.

Harry hangs up with Xander, and decides to head to the hospital to try and see if he can get any information or surveillance video. Skanks leaves too, calling Ivy to see if she can get any info from the hospital while he heads home.

Mark and Loomis head down to the basement to question Shelly, leaving Ashley and Teresa upstairs under the watchful eye of Sheila. Shelly is still under the blanket, her back to the door. They get close to the Devil’s Trap, and Shelly blurs she moves so quickly, standing as close as she can to it. She’s full succubus, the wards gone from her, transformed to a level she’s never been before. She taunts Loomis and Mark. Loomis gets as close to the Devil Trap as he can, holding pearl nipple clamps in his hands. He starts to hold them out, and then says, “Oh wait, these are for me.” He unbuttons his shirt and puts them on, then starts singing “You’ve lost that loving feeling” while beginning to cast his ritual.

The succubus starts to react. Angrily, she reaches out to the bonds that she has between Mark. He manages to fight it off at the last second, but it is a near thing. Loomis continues casting his spell, with the succubus trying it’s best to fight against it. Suddenly Ashley walks in, Teresa trying to pull her back. She tosses a salt shaker at the Trap, and it breaks, the salt breaking the lines of the trap. The succubus swings at Mark, but he manages to roll with it and doesn’t get hurt to badly. The succubus tells Loomis she’ll be seeing him, and stalks past the two girls. Teresa manages to hold Ashley back from following her, barely. Mark picks her up and uses the large industrial sink and some cold water to snap her out of it.

They head upstairs, and Mark calls and asks Jen to stop by with all of his notes on succubi, and all of the files that Zara brought him. Loomis leaves, some kind of idea going on in his head. In going through his old notes after she drops them off, he finds where a succubus can create a bond with someone by feeding off them deeply, by draining a sliver of their soul into itself. It causes an infection that will fester for a few days, slowly getting stronger. Eventually the person fed on in such a way will start dreaming of the succubus, to the point where exhaustion overtakes them. Soon after it will take them over, and they will become a thrall of the succubus. It was that bond that the succubus called on in order to momentarily take over Mark and Ashley both. He finds a few ways to hopefully break the bond, but none he’s particularly happy with.

Midori, Dylan and Jacob find Cross’s building. Unfortunately they don’t know where in the tower she lives, but Midori can vaguely feel the Destiny, so they use that to triangulate their location. He has to keep fighting to keep Dylan and Jacob on task, as they constantly have their minds wander off. Jacob keeps wanting to go off and try the Tiki Bar on the roof of the place. Midori realizes they’re on the 13th floor, which the elevator refuses to go to. They go to 12 and walk up.

They find the floor abandoned, under renovations that obviously were never finished and forgotten about. They follow extension cords and rough feelings to one end of the building, when suddenly the lights go out and they are attacked!

Attacked by a naked Cross armed with her goblin daggers. She dances through the center of them, but they all manage – somehow – to avoid the deadly blades. Dylan calls out to her, getting her to recognize it’s him and asking her to stop. She does recognize them, but still a little panicky, goes to move back to where she came from. Dylan gets in the way and catches one of her blades, not a deep cut, but an unpleasant one all the same. He uses the contact to grab her, and again pleads for her to calm down and talk.

Which does the trick. She pulls away and apologizes for attacking, but considering Shelly was the last one to attack them, she’s taking no chances. Especially with the unknown man – Midori – with them. They discuss what and who he is, and that he is here to defend Destinies – Stars – and thus protect Veronica. They tell her what happened to Shelly, and that they’re working to figure things out, and that they are safe for the moment since Shelly is contained.

Cross walks them back to her room. She wants to stop Roni before she gets too far away, having decided to somewhat trust them. Once inside she drops her knives, and grabs a long shirt to slip into before disappearing into a hole in the wall. The guys take some time to look around the rather barren room, not having too long to wait before Cross reappears. Roni is not with her, she trusts them only so far, afterall. Midori heals Dylan with his healing spirit bound to him, which Dylan and Jacob are both jealous of.

Dylan makes sure that the two of them are ok, and once again goes over everything that’s been happening. Seeing how Midori was able to get through the spell she had bought so easily, she makes plans with Dylan to move Veronica out of here. She plans for them to go to Legal Tender, and Dylan agrees to go set up enough payment for a week or so. He also plans on getting a room there next to theirs, just in case he needs a safehouse as well. With the plan in place, Cross agrees to text when they get there safely. (Lasting Impression) Midori is impressed with his impression of Cross, of her focus and dedication to keeping Veronica safe, and feels a kindred spirit there. They leave, once again apologizing for coming in at an… awkward time.

Harry arrives at the hospital, and immediately notices Moreau sitting out in a car surveiling the place, keeping an eye on the door and Xander’s car. He heads inside and meets up with Xander, Pale and Zara. They go over what they found with him, and he plans to once again go get the surveillance footage to help them. Before he can, he’s paged over the intercom to a courtesy phone. Calling the number, he hears Ivy on the other line asking them to come up to a lounge on the third floor. Once there she hands over copies of the transfer papers, the best she could get her hands on. Zara confirms that the signatures look legit, and Harry goes gets the surveillance footage to get as best a view of them leaving as he can.

On the way out, Harry makes a decision. He had already given back Moreau his MP7 smg that he had stolen from him the night of Veronica’s rescue, now he decides to make a slightly larger peace gesture. He heads out to his car and grabs the duffle with Moreau’s grenade launcher and grenades, walks them over to Moreau and hands them over. He also asks that Moreau pass along some thanks to Rasmussin for helping the kids get out of the dance. Moreau is surprised at the gesture, and mentions “I guess I owe Rasmussin some money now.”

They all get back together at Nighthawks. Mark tells them that Shelly escaped, Dylan quickly tries calling Cross to warn her, but she doesn’t answer. He also tells everyone about the bond that the succubus has with him and Ashley, and for them to keep an eye on the two of them if they start doing anything weird, and sets up to use the saferoom downstairs if that happens with Murphy. Dylan gets a text through to Cross saying that Shelly is out there, and not to go anywhere near Mark or Ashley. She agrees, and says they’re at Legal Tender safe.

Mark finds Nicholas Gaines’s name in Madison’s list of personnel files that Zara gave him, and anger overtakes him. It has a recent timestamp, showing it was modified recently. He believes that she’s working with Nicholas, and had gotten the succubus’s name from him, thereby allowing her to summon it. He also – reluctantly – states that she helped him 16 years ago to ward Shelly, so that the succubus couldn’t control her. Having both the knowledge of the wards and the knowledge of the name – if she truly had it – would give her complete control over Shelly.

Harry has a brainwave (Idea!) to use traffic cameras to track down where Madison’s medical convoy went after it left the hospital. He’s going to grab Xander, Pale and Zara and get their help to do it. While talking things out, Midori mentions having felt something at Madison’s that felt like a piece of Veronica. Mark suddenly remembers (Fork: Idea!) when he looked upon the glass that Madison had him recover that whatever it was knocked him out, and that there was bright light and the feeling of falling. They believe that’s the lost piece of her, and that it might be stored in Madison’s room, where the Black Coat was guarding.

Zara gets with Jacob before leaving with Harry to give him some tips on getting past Madison’s security. Mark wants him to sneak into the house and get the full file on Nicholas Gaines. She gives him a Company USB drive, and wishes him luck.

Mark, Dylan and Midori head to Chinatown, to ask the Destinies for help in breaking the bonds between them and the succubus. The Destinies agree to an audience, but refuse to help. They state that if Mark and Ashley are to be guardians of Veronica, they must prove their worth. Midori tries every argument, but they refuse – for now – to help.

Harry and Zara get to the police station that has connections to the proper traffic cams. He has Xander and Pale in a car traversing the path that the convoy took. He figures between his tactical thinking, Zara’s knowledge of Madison’s properties, and Xander and Pale’s tracking instincts that they should be able to figure out the path that the convoy took before someone notices them appropriating the camera feed. It takes a little time but they do exactly that, at one point even realizing that off camera a decoy convoy also started moving down a false path. They find the building, a small biotech research office that Madison owns, and Xander notices both the SUV’s and a ton of concealed and undercover guards watching the place. He loiters for a while before heading back.

At Madison’s, Jacob sneaks into the compound. He easily bypasses all the security and gets up to Madison’s office. He breaks into the desk to get the spare security key Zara told him would be there, and uses it to bypass and unlock the machine. With his limited computer skills and the Company USB that Zara loaned him, he manages to pull off the encrypted file of Nicholas Gaines. He attempts to grab a few other files, but hears movement outside and shuts it down and bolts before he can be detected.

He goes to sneak onto Madison’s balcony again, and is again intercepted by the Black Coat, although he manages to hide before she sees him. He spends time feinting and maneauvering, before finally using his telekinesis to break in a window downstairs as a distraction. He quickly hurries into the bedroom, and his thieving skills let him find the hidden wall safe quickly. But with no time to open it quietly, he instead uses his telekinesis to rip it out of the wall. It slams into the door, barricading it from opening. He peels it open, and finds inside the wooden box he’s now stolen for a third time. A sword cuts through the door, and without looking back he runs and jumps off the balcony. He uses his TK to cushion his fall, and leaves as quickly as he can.

Everyone gets back to Nighthawks again. Jacob gives Mark the USB drive with the file, and Zara suggests a meeting with Agent Moore. She thinks that Mark might be able to talk her into hacking the nearly unhackable encryption, even though it will bring forward the ties between Zara and the group to Agent Moore. She feels it’s an acceptable risk, as Moore is the most sympathetic of the group of agents.

Madison calls Zara. She’s circling the wagons, having had the report of her house being broken into and the safe being opened. Zara tells everyone, and asks Jacob what he did. He pulls the box with the glass out, and gives a brief rundown of his adventure. Harry puts it best, “So you stole the box the same way you did last time, using your powers to rip open the safe. No, no way she could mistake it for someone else, now could she?” The group prepares to split up and go into hiding from Madison’s warpath.

Mark grabs Ashley and leaves. They call home and tell Jen to start packing. Harry and Teresa leave and follow Mark, because Harry is afraid he’s not taking everything seriously enough, but he just isn’t aware of Mark’s plans. Xander and Pale leave to go to the Elysium. Dylan and Midori head to Legal Tender, to drop off the glass piece and to reach a safe ground.

Mark gets home, gets things packed. With his whole family, they start to head over to the Nelson’s, to get them out as well.

Dylan and Midori get to Legal Tender, and Cross lets them into their room. Midori hands over the box to Cross, who opens it. The shard glows and Veronica approaches, slowly reaching out for it. As soon as she touches it, the room is filled with intense light, leaving Dylan and Midori feeling as though they were floating in weightless serenity.

When the light is gone, they find themselves alone in the room. Dylan realizes that his missing leg is back. There is a flash, and Veronica reappears. She says, “You don’t need to be worried about Madison anymore.” There is another flash, and she is gone.

Dylan calls Harry to tell him. He immediately calls Xander to pass by the building that Madison was taken to. He calls everyone else to meet back at Nighthawks to discuss what happened. Mark and Ashley head there, but let the rest of the family and the Nelson’s keep heading out for now.

Back at Nighthawks, they hear back from Xander. The building had been empty. He and Pale broke in and found a bunch of weird science and medical crap, but nothing else. They headed back to Madison’s, only to see the Black Coats leaving the mansion. The bodyguards cut them off, and Sister gets out and walks over. She hands Xander a business card, and says if the group is looking for work, to give it a call. It simply says HOUSE OF FISTS and has a phone number. He questions them about why they are leaving, and they mention that ‘Madison doesn’t need them anymore, and her hands are tied as far as it comes to ya’ll." Xander relays this to Harry.

Dylan explains what happened with Roni, and they realize now that she has her full powers, she must have protected them from Madison. Mark calls Jen and tells her that it’s safe for her and the Nelson’s to head home.

Shelly walks in the door. The succubus is contained, and she’s hesitant as to the reaction. Mark walks up and gives her a hug, happy to see her back to herself – even if it is just for now.

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