Otters aka Roadkill
Tabasco aka Cholula
The team convinces the Mage on the Hill to assist them, though he seems somewhat disgusted by their unique style of banter. However, he swore a pact and must aid when asked, so he will. They also discuss whether to use any other Tarot, and CG pulls out the Queen he was given to summon aid later, if the situation seems desperate enough to pay the currently unknown cost. They take the freshly golem-charged van with 2 Mule drones and the crew all loaded up down to Belle Isle for the ritual/ambush. Unable to reach The Detective, who’s off checking up on contacts, they leave without them.
Upon arriving, they coordinate with the ritualists, who are actively working, and pick spots to set themselves and their allies up for the ambush. They put Myrryr on surveillance on the far eastern point, to watch for what they consider an unlikely approach over the water. The post the Mage on the Hill atop the SE building, CG on the central north building, Creep on the edge of the ritual to the west in hiding, Otters in the smuggling compartment in the van, harwired in, with the Mules within short distance antenna range, and Dig and Cholula atop the central ritual building, the highest point.
They assign the Windsor crew to the north edge of the bridge from mainland Detroit, but tell them to come up behind anyone who comes over it for a pincer. They have Rains and the Skins wait inside the ritual effect area as a reserve to mask their auras, but tell them to keep an eye towards the southern bridge towards Windsor. Then, they wait, with some bird control and flashlight signals planned with comms all fucky as they are.
Shortly thereafter, the Windsor crew reports two buses seemingly running on magic stuffed with Shadow zombies coming from the north bridge, while the Mage on the Hill reports a mass of ghouls with a strange astral signature coming from the south bridge. Creep jumps on the lead Shadow bus and shoots the driver through the windshield, while CG instructs his spirits to use their accident powers on those inside. The Windsor crew engages the second bus in a firefight, pulling it off the attack.
Rains and crew rush out to fight the ghoul swarm, pulling about half of them off, while Otters begins firing between van and Mules into their midst, dropping many but not slowing them at all- they seem to be moving unnaturally, both in terms of their speed and the way they move- it almost looks like the murmurations of a flock of birds. Otters, as an animal enthusiast, makes note to pay attention to this as the fight continues, and incorporates into her targeting solutions as best she can.
Cholula blasts off a fire arrow at the first zombie bus as Creep finishes off the driver and dives off. The bus careens into one of the buildings and a bunch of zombies tumble out, some lighting themselves on fire on the way, though not seeming to particularly care. Otters manages to cut a chunk of them down with auto-fire before the ghoul mob swarms the van, doing a surprising amount of damage. CG activates the Queen card, and flaming sword manifest, with a voice saying that it will protect him.
Creep gets up behind the zombies and flamethrows a few more, before the remaining 5 surround and nearly kill him. Thinking him dead, they carve some strange marks into his skin before rejoining the fight. Meanwhile, the Mage on the Hill has reported that he cannot sense their scout to the east (Myrryr) and fears an attack, and CG heads out to check on her, coming under nearly fatal attack from the FTD vampire leader amidst his customary bat swarm. Dig blasts the bats with a huge spell as a spirit appears and takes control of the flaming swords and starts clearing out the wounded bats.
With the vampire now exposed, Dig and CG’s spirits start targeting it as CG reloads to wood rounds in his shotgun. Unfortunately the Shadow Succubus has used all this chaos to sneak up to the ritual building and gets Cholula to shoot at Dig, narrowly missing due to Dig’s defensive spells. The Mage on the Hill starts levitating over to help and then goes astral to fight the spirit, doing some massive damage before getting one-hit killed and falling to the ground, where his corpse bursts apart. The Succubus then races over and seems to destroy the Tarot spirit, which has badly wounded the vampire.
Dig’s spirit goes astral to defend him and is also quickly torn apart by the returning Succubus. The vampire makes a diving attack directly at CG but misses, clumsily, just as Cholula nails him with an arrow, causing him to crash to the ground, where CG finishes him off with wood rounds, halting his regeneration. As he desicates before him, 3 Tarot cards fall from his pocket- some of the ones the team was missing from the recovery at the Shadow farm! CG pockets them for now and rushes back to defend Otters and the van from the swarming ghouls and zombies, who have almost destroyed while Otters continues chewing through their numbers.
Clinically, Otters is interested to see that the ghouls seem to act more and more feral the less of them that there are, and wonders how this all interacts with the hive mind rumors. But also she is a little concerned about getting peeled out of the smuggling compartment and eaten. With CG distracted, both of his spirits are killed by the Shadow Succubus, who then turns to the ritual building. Luckily their allies seem to be holding to the west, as no further ghouls or zombies have joined the main fight.
The Succubus sinks one it’s shadowy hands into the center of the ritual circle and sends forth a terrible pulse of entropic energy, killing nearly half the ritualists and wounding the rest. Cholula races downstairs and tries to bite it in the astral, just missing, as Dig pummels it with an overcast spell. The Succubus does another negative energy pulse, and seems to be trying to corrupt the ritual itself. This also kills the remaining ritualists besides Jaga and Walker in the Ways, who along with Dig barely survive.
Cholula pulls out all the stops, and calling on his newly enhanced spirit connection manages to land a powerful blow on the spirit, disapparating it back from whence it came. Outside, CG and Otters mop up the last of the ghouls and zombies shortly afterwards, with the van barely surviving. The cloaked Mules proved invaluable though, and Otters is excited about making good use of 3 intersecting fields of fire. They head out to check on allies, and find nearly dead Creep, luckily stabilized by his trauma patch. Cholula manages to save Dig’s life with another trauma patch, though as Jaga and WitW check the other ritualists none of the rest are as lucky- all appear drained of life and unrecoverable.
The Windsor crew, though badly battered, seem to have all survived from good use of tactics and massive expenditure of ammo and spell-power. Luckily none of the ghouls or zombies brought ranged weapons. Rains and the Skins did not fair as well, losing 3/4 of their number, especially since Rains explains that the hive mind has some sort of hypnotic or seductive quality by which they managed to entrance a portion of his crew, who turned on the others. It was a real bloodbath and he had to resort to indiscriminate explosives, but managed to hold back the additional ghoul tide.
They find Myrryr drowned to death in a few inches of water, presumably the work of the Succubus planning to leave a useful host body for another zombie. Those who are survived are grateful to the team for ending this threat and preventing the corruption of the ritual, but the price was high. Patricia Loveland gets back in touch afterwards, recognizing the team’s skill, utility, and sincerity, though still not trusting or communicating with Cholula.
Hearing the night’s report on Radio Free Detroit after they limp back to the safehouse in the damaged van and patch Creep up back to consciousness, they find out that TM’s are waking back up and complaining of headaches, mood swings, and forced Subermersion into the Resonance Realms. This reminds them of the terrifying thing Rains mentioned- those of his crew who were turned by the feral ghoul hivemind started muttering about something “deep… underneath… rising”.
They report Myrryr’s death into Smoach, who seems to retreat into his Bug City survivor PTSD-protective space, and vows never to let anyone get close to him again, while he plans to dedicate himself to hunting FTD and other nefarious forces in her memory. The next morning, the Tarot sword, whose ephemeral flame had gone out when the Succubus slew the spirit wiedling it, starts flaming again, and CG hears the voice say that he is once again under it’s protection, still unsure of what the cost will be….
Creep tries again to convince everyone to stop doing jobs to help people and try to get paid, so they start looking over their jobs list for good opportunities of what to do next.