Otters aka Roadkill
Tabasco aka Cholula
After retreating from the guards’ raking fire during the extraction of Camden Espinoza, Cholula spends some time tracking the mystery vans he saw fleeing the scene on his surveillance cam. He manages to keep pace on the rooftops for a bit with the movement power, but starts to lose them, so he tags one with a detachable shaft tracking arrow, and hopes to pick up the signal again someday. He then tries to get back to the safehouse but gets pinned to the ground with a spear thrown by Bloodripper, who wants to say hi to ChewGum in his own special way.
Cholula manages to start wiggling himself free off the spear, but his dripping fluids seem to have attracted some hungry-looking humanoids wearing lab collars- possibly the same ones the team has been hearing about? Regardless, they seem somewhat intelligent and attack with a pack tactic that proves damaging and effective. Cholula chooses to flee and manages to make his escape, retreating to the nearby Plat Zone for now to heal and rest, before eventually making his way back to the safehouse.
When the rest of the team arrives back from the gang coop meeting, they find him there, and decide it’s time to deal with both the critters and Bloodripper. They have the brilliant idea to combine both into one plan, and head up to 696 Slayers turf, where CG multiplies some food to impress the gangers (and hopefully stop them from killing for a bit, as they seem to have begun eating their victims), and instructs Bloodripper to hunt down the Critters for him.
Bloodripper agrees, behaving in an almost parodically chivalric fashion. He packs up some (metahuman?) meat to go in a tray from the school cafeteria, and the team heads off. They decide to check in with someone about getting paid to end the critter threat, and call up Ringmaster who seems to want them to look into it but is initially surprised they aren’t doing it solely because the critters have eaten some of their contacts, most recently some Keepers. He also tips them off that there have been reported attacks amongst the survivor communities newly moving into the DDB.
Otter zips over to Moreau, not having checked in on him since the Blackout started, and worried he may be involved. She also wants to drop off a radio with him to keep in better touch. She finds Moreau having fortified and extensively trapped the approach to the Bloomfield Nature Reserve, though from an aerial view, she can see paths in marked by small piles of meat, presumably so animals can safely find their way through.
She manages to make contact through Moreau’s e-dog, Buddy, and safely lands. Moreau seems like he’s been spending too much time with the animals and has lost the habit of regular speech, but otherwise “ok”. He does also seem to be feeding the animals metahuman meat and also possibly eating it himself, from those who come to the nature reserve looking to eat the animals there. He put up warning signs so he feels it’s only fair. Otters passes over the radio, and Moreau gives a tip about the rogue ARES animal scientist who might be behind it all, as well as a lead on some hackers who may have some info, the Coquillards.
The team decides to investigate the underground while Bloodripper is on the hunt above. They head down and find some survivor communities, unfortunately Dig has taken the form of a large wolf and terrifies the mostly blind (in the pitch black) guards they first find and some gunfire is exchanged. Luckily noone is badly hurt and The Detective manages to talk everyone down as they explain that Dig is a human shapeshifter and not the beast that has been hunting down here.
After comparing accounts and reviewing the most recent crime scene they can find amongst the poor fortifications and tent and tarp dwellings, they decide that this almost surely isn’t the same critter as the pack aboveground, and start to get worried that Ringmaster might be hunting when he turns into a werewolf. Dig wants to stop investigating and go confront him/protect him, as these civilians are worthless in his eyes, but Otters manages to determine that the behavior doesn’t match up with a werewolf of Ringmaster’s intelligence.
They track some old blood traces deeper into the tunnels, and all take Guts. This pays off when they are able to shrug off some sort of mystical fear, though Otters is partially paralyzed by a chilling howl from below. The largest Barghest any of them have ever seen charges up from the dark and tries to chomp on CG, though Cholula bravely dives in the way, taking the damage. Dig blasts it with lightning as Otters opens up with the guns on the Mule drones, and Cholula manages to drop it with a flaming arrow just before it gets another attack in.
They wait for the white phosphorus to burn out, and then Dig and CG start harvesting reagents while Otters gets what she can from the crispy collar. It looks like a basic RFID tracker with a shock electrode, but most interestingly has a number stamped on it. The team hauls the remains back to the survivor camp to show them that the beast is dead, and encourage them to better defend themselves. Otters rigs up a simple telegraph between two station’s communities, and show them how to do it by stripping old tech, and Cholula promises to come down and train them sometime.
They at least seem to have enough food- crates of old emergency shelter rations from earlier in the century.The team heads back aboveground and checks in with Ringmaster, who also seems relieved it wasn’t him behind the attacks, but spurs them to keep looking. He also tips them off to some animal fights run by ex-Mafiosos down by the Docklands. They head home and rest, but are disturbed to hear in the morning Radio Free Detroit that the 696 Slayers have been on a rampaging hunt across town and residents are advised to avoid them at all costs.
This triggers another discussion about what to about Bloodripper and crew, which quickly gets sidelined when they decide to go to the animal fights instead. There they find another dog with a collar, seemingly a loyal companion to the ex-Mafioso running the fights, after talking their way in by offering to do some vet care. Otters spends a depressing day patching up survivors from the Pit, but they do get some good info- none of the other animals have the collars, or seem enhanced in the same ways as the collared animals.
They get the info from the ex-Mafioso about where he found the dog, with a promise to sell him any more promising animals they encounter, and head up to Vendor’s Row to look for more clues. They check in with G’ma Biyu while they’re up there, who gives them another job as well as a clue- she had her people take out another enhanced dog that was roaming the area and attacking people, and provides the cut collar to prove it. Cutting apparently bricked it, but they get another number.
They decide to use the day old possibly metahuman meat tray as bait in a variety of locations within their search grid, observed by drones, while Creep cuts himself a little and the rest of the team watches his back at a 7th location. Luckily, nothing attacks Creep, and when reviewing the camera footage, they spot mostly various survivors excited to find free meat and asking too many questions. The only one that stands out is some sort of enhanced cat which seems very stealthy.
They head to that location and Dig manages to track it back to it’s lair, taking the form of a great cat and intimidating it while also using magic to make it more docile. It uses some of it’s strange abilities but Dig doesn’t fall for them. Cholula offers to try to knock it out with arrows, but Otters quickly intervenes and manages to lure it out and calm it. Dig hacks the collar and they manage to get the RFID signal, which they can probably use to find link devices if they ever find themselves within range.
Otters delivers the cat to Moreau, to try to rehab it, and they make plans to try to find the location all these experimental animals have been coming from after they rest up again. When they awaken the next morning, they find the 4 critters from the aboveground pack all staked to the ground outside the safehouse with one of Bloodripper’s spears, with a note saying that he thinks they found them all, and that though they killed some of the gang, they weren’t particularly satisfying victims. He also summons CG to visit him.
Guess the team better deal with that soon too! Perhaps they will take Biyu’s advice and turn their new gang coop against the 696.