Harmony Craig Bottow
Ivan the Jackle
The team takes a second to collect themselves, and look around the ground floor. Flesh sculpture garden is profoundly offputting to most of the team, although Ivan is somewhat interested, until he recognizes the torso of a centaur as being from a missing Problem Children member. Ivan begins destroying the art on the walls around the ground floor, looking for a secret basement entrance. Remus and April head upstairs to see of they can discover anything. Meanwhile, K heals HCB back to consciousness in the shed out back. They decide to head back to the sewers-abandon the mission since it has gone so off track. HCB exits thru the hole in the fence, K decides to levitate over. They come under fire as soon as they leave the illusion’s radius from windows overhead, as well as goons in cover behind sideways cars at each end of the alley. They try to make for the sewer entrance, but are forced into cover by suppressing fire. K launches fireballs at the cars, reducing them to smoldering wrecks, and they take this opportunity to reenter the fence, and head back for the mansion. They contact the rest of the team to let them know that BS reinforcements have arrived….
Inside, Ivan has destroyed a number of works of horrifying art, and has finally uncovered what looks like a basement door behind a large oil painting of a shadowy figure (presumably LP) surrounded by a number of young males, who all look similar to the boytoy that the team recently ransomed. He can’t find any way to open it. Upstairs, Remus and April enter the right hand side door, and discover the smoking wreckage of a nice four poster bed. There is limbless, charred torso leaning against the wall, Remus turns it over to discover the boytoy’s face staring up at him, intact. They panic, thinking that the cranial bomb somehow didn’t activate-yet there’s a hole blasted in the wall, and the room bears significant evidence of an explosion.
Downstairs, Ivan has set up with the lynx covering the open front door from behind a nearby statue. He notices BS goons beginning to enter thru the front gate of the fence at the head of the yard-the illusion prevents him from seeing out, as it appears LP didn’t like looking at the surrounding neighborhood, and preferred mountain vistas. Ivan opens fire with the lynx, scattering the first wave of attackers, who take cover in the guard booth by the gate, as well as behind the various exotic animal cages in the small zoo set up in the yard. Ivan fires thru the animals to get the guards behind, with mixed successes, but he eventually finishes off the first wave. He lets the rest of the team know that they have company out front as well as out back. He ponders how long it will take his cab to get here on autopilot, and decides that they may need to find a different way out, although he tells the car to get near to the edge of BS turf, in case they need it for extraction.
Upstairs, they exit this room, and Remus tries to kick down the door in the center, at the head of the stairs. It is locked and doesn’t give, and he injures his foot. April decides to blow it with c4. As she’s rigging the charge, Remus barrels thru the other door (on the left), finding it open, and going flying into the room. He lands in a pool of blood and viscera at the top of a drain set in the floor beneath a gore-stained operating table. The room has a series of cameras, torture tools, and simstim rigs with accompanying restraint devices. There is blood spattered over most of the walls and equipment. Remus is readying to leave, when something breaks thru his “hidden” mode comm firewall, and opens a channel. It is Daedelus, requesting that Remus grab a bag which should be nearby-it describes it to Remus, and he locates the bag. Daedelus says it will pay the team well to deliver it, also, it has arranged so that there is a someone in the basement who can aid their escape, if other paths are closed off.
April blows the security door, and sees a security station, two guards, one of which was stunned by the blast. April quickly dispatches him, but takes serious damage from the other guard, who shoots her repeatedly with his sidearm, sending her to the floor in a pool of blood. Remus runs and blows away the still-seated guard, leaving brains splattered all over the cameras and readouts behind him. Remus first aids April back to consciousness, and then begins searching for ways to open the basement door and close the front door.
Downstairs, the second wave has arrived, this time with a rocket launcher in tow. April sets up at the top of the stairs to snipe, and gets the drop on a few goons, as Ivan continues to fire with the lynx, eventually needing to bellycrawl up and replenish it ammo drum. Many more caged exotic animals meet a grisly end. The goon with the rocket launcher dodges out and lobs a rocket directly into the statue the lynx is behind, sending Ivan and the lynx scrambling for cover. The lynx takes serious damage, but covers Ivan, protecting him from harm. Remus has hacked the system and is perusing a diagram of a nearby switchboard, to determine which switches to hit to open and close the doors he wants. He finds the switch to open the door to the basement and does so, and then finds the switch for the front door of the house and sets that to close as well. The door begins to slowly grind shut along a track. Remus turns to exit the control room.
K and HCB have entered the house thru the hole April blasted in the back and join up with the rest of the team, just in time to see a final missile slip between the closing front doors. HCB, feeling lucky, makes an amazing shot and wings the missile, sending it off-course (it was headed for the lynx again) and straight into the upstairs control room-a little bit of bad luck, but still an impressive shot. Remus dives out of the room as the missile approaches, and avoids taking serious damage, but April is unable to move far enough due to being in a sniping position, and is knocked unconscious again by the force of the blast. Remus lands atop her body sliding down the stairs to temporary safety. April is looking really rough by now, but K restores some of her vitality with magical laying on of hands.
The team enters the now-open basement door, and finds it to be an elevator, with no buttons. Remus examines the copied switchboard diagram, and finds the “use elevator switch. He returns to the blasted control room, and begins trying to hardwire a usable fix. HCB and April go to cover the hole in the back wall, as it seems to be the only other entrance. They shoot the top of the head off of the first goon thru, but then are met with noxius smoke grenades launched past his body. They retreat towards the elevator, as Remus sets up the switch-he rewires the circuit, but doesn’t want to hit the switch and get left behind, so he attaches a pullcord, enters the elevator, and yanks. The circuit closes, as do the elevator doors. The team begins its descent.
K decides to astrally project ahead of the group to scout for trouble, and discovers an astral barrier near the bottom of the shaft. Deciding that any alarms which might be triggered have already gone off, he destroys it in astral combat, and the team descends the rest of the shaft in peace. The doors open at the bottom with a loud “ding,” and they exit into a short hallway with a set of swinging doors at the bottom. A small amount of mist or fog of some sort is seeping thru cracks in the doors. They enter, Remus first. He is hacked with a meat cleaver as soon as he crosses the threshold, and turns in shock to see a large fat man in a sleeveless shirt and sweatpants, with long stringy hair and an unkempt goattee. He swings the cleaver again, and Remus dodges out of the way, as the lynx slips past him and prepares to fire. K suggests they don’t shoot, thinking this might be the ally Daedelus spoke of, but Ivan disagrees and opens fire, disembowling the man with a full-auto burst into the gut. He crumbles to the floor moaning and hemorrhaging. HCB executes him with a shot to the head, and tries to record the smell of the moment of his death with his olfactory system.
The team examines the frigid room, and all except Ivan are horrified to see human carcasses in various states of disassembly hanging on meathooks around the room, as well as some choice cuts layed out on a nearby butcher block counter. Ivan, having seen a lot worse in his days as an organlegger, is fairly blase about the whole thing. They decide to leave the room thru the second set of swinging doors at the back. This time April goes first, fueled by her adrenal pump. It is warmer in the next room, and the smell is a great deal worse. April sees 8 persons chained to the floor along the walls at the side. The floor slants towards the center of the room, where the is a grated drain which runs its length. The whole spectrum of bodily excretions is draining down the slanted floor, away from the captives, towards the grate. Many of the chained persons moan in fear, as April looks truly terrifying-covered in both dried and fresh blood, with a variety of bullet holes, scorch marks, and other wounds visible thru her tattered clothing, she also has the wild-eyed look of a heavy stim user, due to her adrenal overdrive.
The rest of the team enter-HCB is overwhelmed by the odors. K sees one legless captive, who he instantly identifies with. They also notice that only 1 of the captives, a bald elf with a large red beard, does not appear afraid of them. They question him, and he introduces himself as Ut-Napishtim, an expert housebreaker and safecracker. He then makes a deal with the team, after they fill him in on the current situation: he can help them escape, in exchange for a few things. He wants to be freed, reacquire all of his gear, and retrieve a small item from the safe in the next room. He says he was hired to retrieve this item by a family who paid it in ransom to the BS in exchange for their kidnapped daughter, and wishes it returned. He was captured while infiltrating the mansion, and is not sure how long he has been here, as he was being tortured in horrible “BTL” simstims for an unclear amount of time, and he obviously hasn’t been able to see the day/night cycles. He says if they would be so kind as to free one of his limbs, he will be able to do the rest. The team agrees to his demands.
He is far more heavily restrained than any of the other captives. Ivan frees one of his arms with his monofil chainsaw, and Ut removes some lockpicks from his beard and quickly makes his way out of the rest of the restraints. He dances a small flourish, and declares himself as “The Escapist”, his performing name, which he says he took from an old book. He proceeds to free the remaining captives. HCB attempts to heal one of the captives, who appears catatonic, but accidentally kills him in the attempt. K heals and levitates the legless man, John Caruthers, as he feels responsible for his well being. There are 5 other hostages remaining, 3 men and 2 women, all human. The walls in the room are covered in sratchmarks, where captives have attempted to record the length of their stays.
Ut leads the team into the next room thru a secure door at the back, which he quickly opens. They enter what appears to be a high-tech lab of some sort-there are a variety of computer systems and vats, as well as a large painting hung on the rear wall, and some supply lockers near the door. Ut opens one, and retrieves his gear, equipping various devices to his bod before donning his full body stealth suit and mask, and equipping his goggles. He rummages in a bag he has with him, and pulls out a variety of complex and arcane looking tools, and then approaches the painting, which swings aside to reveal a long corridor leading to a huge safe. Upon further inspection, this turns out to be a tromp-loeil, providing a false illusion of depth, the safe being much closer, and smaller, than it appears.
The rest of the team, while exploring, has found a medkit, which K keeps, as well as examined the vats. They contain a number of persons in various stages of development, but all sharing a familiar face: that of Eronemus, the boytoy. Apparently LP has really specific taste in men (in a metaphorical sense-his taste for metahuman flesh appears less discriminating). The team is fairly disturbed by this discovery. HCB and Remus provide some assistance to Ut while he hacks the safe, using a multi-digit glove and muttering under his breath. He seems surprised at how quickly it goes, putting it down to good luck. He grabs a small pouch, and checks inside. Satisfied, he tells the team that the rest is theirs, but that they out to hurry, as BS goons will probably find their way down eventually.
Remus checks the safe, and passes Ivan the pistols that Wade requested, as well as grabbing a handful of credsticks and a detachable harddrive. Ivan and Ut then rig up a series of grenades to the clone vats on a pullcord, and exit the room. Ut pulls the cord, and there is a satisfying explosion. He then pulls up a section of the draingrate in the dungeon room, and tells everyone to get ready to jump in. From a few rooms over, the team hears aloud ding which they recognize as the elevator arriving-they didn’t disable it or even try to jam the doors. Whoops. This convinces them that the sewers are a decent option. Ivan commands his car to meet them at a nearby location at the edge of BS turf, and the team begins jumping in, lead by Ut. K and his legless friend float down. As the team lands in the chamber below, they hear gunfire from above, and the two male captives who remained above drop down, trailing blood thru the air, to land with a grotesque splash in the filthpool.
Next up: can they make good their escape?