Delta Green - All Part of the Job
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  1. #1
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    Delta Green - All Part of the Job

    A few months ago, I started a tabletop game of Call of Cthulhu with the Delta Green setting, and I've been writing the games up. I thought I'd post them here for anyone interested. Call of Cthulhu is a horror role playing game based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft and others, and it really plays up humanity's insignificance and the futility of our existence. In the Delta Green setting, players are federal agents of various government agencies and military branches who form a sort of unofficial and illegal cell-structure conspiracy which investigates supernatural horrors with the intent to destroy, suppress, and hide them from the rest of humanity. I welcome any and all questions and comments.

    Table of Contents
    Last Things Last
    Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays
    Handful of Dust
    Good Intentions
    Contagion
    Killer Out of Space
    Music From A Darkened Room
    Sufficient Unto the Day
    Hearken to the Wild
    Fuel of the Gods
    See No Evil
    Night Floors
    Convergence
    Whereabouts Unknown
    The Bedford Project
    Let's Learn Aklo
    Reverberations
    Observer Effect
    Future/Perfect
    Last edited by Nomessiah; Saturday, 15th June, 2019 at 06:56 AM.
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    Last Things Last - Introduction

    R-Cell
    Agent RAPSCALLION – Tatom Merzos – U.S. Marshall’s office, Special Operations
    Agent RAPUNZEL – Yuki Anderson, FBI Forensic Pathologist, Leader of R-Cell
    Agent RASPUTIN – Grigori Ruspokov, CDC Researcher/Surgeon – Russian-born naturalized citizen
    Agent ROBIN – Chika Takahashi, EPA Biologist and Environmental Scientist – Japanese-born naturalized citizen

    S-Cell
    Agent SAM – Gia Jones, FinCEN Investigator – Computer crimes specialist
    Agent SÁBADO – Marcus Hernandez, IRS Investigator – Computer crimes specialist
    Agent SETH – Ian Trotter, INSCOM Special Agent, Leader of S-Cell – Army Intelligence criminal psychologist


    This first Opera takes place in December of 2008, just before Christmas. Standard procedure would have been for A-Cell to contact the cell leaders with an invitation to a Night at the Opera, and the cell leaders would have assembled their teams. This Opera was an urgent one, however, and so standard procedure was waived. All agents of R-Cell and S-Cell received the same encrypted email with the same attachment. Agent SETH also received a locker number and passcode.

    Subject: You are invited to a Night at the Opera

    Proceed to residence of Charles Berman (deceased). Remove any evidence of our activities. Report security breaches. Heirs are expected within 48 hours. Make sure everything is clean by then. No friendlies! Contact info, support material attached.

    Attachment:

    Charles Berman

    DOB: 3/28/1941

    Family: Wife, Marlene (8/20/1944 – 11/2/1995)
    Daughter, Sharon (9/12/1967)
    Son, Michael (7/28/1970)

    Employed: Bureau of Internal Revenue/IRS (6/11/1965 – 9/1/1996)
    Retired as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Operational Support
    Active: 1968 – 1979, taking part in 11+ operations. Numerous consultations as friendly with a specialty in taxation and property confiscations. No current association with group.
    The attachment also gave the home address of Charles Berman, an apartment in Denver, CO.
    Last edited by Nomessiah; Friday, 7th November, 2014 at 11:22 PM.

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    Last Things Last - Session 1

    Agent RAPUNZEL was unable to attend the Opera, but she did coordinate her cell’s rendezvous with Agent SETH. Agent SETH requested all cell members meet at a small bar and grill near by the deceased’s apartment.

    All agents quickly headed for Denver from their various home cities, and they met up at the bar and grill shortly before 8 o’clock that same evening. Agent SETH had the farthest to travel, coming as he did from Virginia. He also had to stop to check the airport locker (which contained only a key which most likely fit a lock on a door), and then to rent a van for the operation. Once the cells were assembled, SETH proposed a simple plan: Drive to the apartment, search for any and all evidence, and leave without being detected. Agent SÁBADO pulled up a Streetview of the address on his phone courtesy of Google. It wasn’t what might be considered “the Projects”, but neither was it a particularly welcoming looking area.

    It was a cold, clear night in Denver, but the ground showed evidence of recent snowfall. The roads were clear but a little wet; nothing an experienced driver should worry about. Agent SETH however was in a hurry. After a couple minor sliding or braking incidents, he decided to slow it down. Agent RASPUTIN didn’t help much.

    “You drive like maniac. Drive like this in Russia, you get shot.”

    A few minutes later, the van pulled into a snow-covered parking lot and found a parking spot within sight of the apartment. Half of the parking lot lights were out, but the snow reflected the moonlight well enough. Agent ROBIN stayed in the van to keep an outside watch while the rest of the agents headed to the apartment.

    Agent SETH’s key opened the front door which squeaked softly open. The place was dark, but moonlight shown through every window. SETH slipped in quickly and closed the curtains on each window in turn. He ordered only flashlights be used for lighting. The living room and kitchen were rather Spartan. The kitchen table was small, pushed into a corner, and had only a single chair which faced a window. A magnet on the refrigerator held a drawing of a crayon stick-figure in place. The living room consisted of a desk and very old looking computer, a couch with a box of crossword magazines next to it, a clean coffee table, and an old television resting upon a small bookshelf of books on outdated tax code.

    Agents SÁBADO and SAM went through the living room while SETH and RASPUTIN headed down the hall to check the rest of the apartment. Agent SAM booted up the computer only to find it was running DOS 6.0. A little surprised, she instead shutdown the computer and swapped its hard drive for a blank spare from her kit. She connected it to her laptop and went through every file one by one. There was nothing particularly interesting; mostly just a few family pictures. Satisfied, she switched the hard drives back.

    SÁBADO held each book in turn by their covers and gave them a quick shake. This effort was rewarded with a yellowed sheet of folded notebook paper which fell out and fluttered to the floor. The blue ink on the paper seemed to show a list of assets. Each item on the list had a name written next to it in pencil, either Sharon or Michael. There was one item on the list without a name by it. It said only “Cabin”.

    The first door SETH and RASPUTIN checked led to a clean bathroom with an open medicine cabinet. RASPUTIN identified the contents of the prescription bottle as a generic medication to treat a heart condition. The bottle contained ten pills and indicated the patient had two refills remaining.

    “Looks like he expected to live while longer,” was his comment.

    Oh, Agent ROBIN … all alone in a dark van in a dark parking lot on a dark, Colorado winter night. What could possibly go wrong? A man in a heavy coat walked past the van with a small dog on a leash, but he didn’t seem to notice her. So far, so good.

    Agents SETH and RASPUTIN moved on to the first bedroom, while SÁBADO and SAM took the other. The first bedroom was just that. Nothing more interesting than a few family photographs and a shoebox of postcards and more photos. The postcards were all from Mr. Berman’s children, all from warm places around the country and world, and all expressing the same “Wish you were here”, and “I don’t know why you want to stay there where it’s so cold” sentiments.

    SÁBADO and SAM found their chosen room to be devoid of furniture, and instead full of boxes; boxes of papers. This obviously had hours of enjoyment written all over it. They each took a box and started to sift through the mostly uninteresting papers. After almost an hour, they’d only made it through about a fifth of the boxes, but SÁBADO made a discovery. In a college-ruled spiral notebook, one page indicated an address in a small rural area about four hours away.

    Agent SETH ordered the van to be backed up to the front door of the apartment. Agent ROBIN waited until the man with the dog passed again and disappeared around the corner of a building before putting the plan into effect. The agents loaded the van with boxes to search on the way to the new address while Agent RASPUTIN carried the box of crossword magazines and grabbed the key ring from the wall next to the front door.

    On the way, Agent SAM ran a search for Michael Berman’s phone number and found it was a San Diego area code. She gave him a call and pretended to be a former co-worker of the deceased.

    “May I speak with Michael Berman, please?”

    “This is Michael.” The voice on the other end sounded a little tired and not at all interested in talking.

    “Hi, Michael. My name is Sam. I used to work with your father for the IRS. I just had a few questions, if you don’t mind.”

    “You know, he died a few days ago. This isn’t really the best time.”

    “I know that, and I’m sorry for your loss. This really won’t take long, if you wouldn’t mind. We’re setting up a memorial for your father.”

    “A memorial? Why? He retired a long time ago.”

    Agent SAM wasn’t able to get much out of Michael, but it was interesting to note that he had no knowledge of his father’s cabin. That, and apparently Charles was a workaholic. He was rarely home, and Michael and Sharon weren’t very close with him as a result though in the later years, they did make attempts.

    The drive to the cabin was a long one, and Agent RASPUTIN voiced what some of the others were thinking.

    “We maybe stop at McDonald’s or Denny’s? Yeah, Denny’s. Good, old-fashioned American food.”

    SETH decided time was still of the essence, and as a result, they skipped food and arrived at the frozen lakeside cabin around 1 o’clock in the morning.

  4. #4
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    Last Things Last - Session 2

    The cabin was quite secluded, being at least two miles from its nearest neighbor. The snowfall was even and about a foot and a half deep. As the van crept down the driveway toward the cabin, Agent SETH killed the headlights. The moonlight reflected well enough off the snow that everyone could see after a moment of adjustment.

    As they neared the cabin, they could make out an outhouse and a shed around back, and the frozen lake a little ways in the distance. The van pulled to a stop near the front door, and the members of S-Cell piled out. Agents ROBIN and RASPUTIN anchored the van and monitored the exterior.

    There were windows around the building, and all the curtains appeared to be open. Agent SÁBADO took up a position to the side of the door and silently checked the knob. It was locked. SAM drew her pistol and stood behind him. Agent SETH shined his flashlight through the window for a quick scan. The cabin was one large room with a loft. There didn’t appear to be any movement inside, and no sounds could be heard.

    Agent SÁBADO methodically checked the keys on the ring until he found the one which opened the front door. He pushed gently, and it creaked slowly open. Agent SETH covered the entrance with his gun while the rest of his team entered, and then he followed. The cabin was deserted.

    SETH flipped a switch near the door, and the whole place was lit. There was electric lighting, and from the looks of the kitchen area, there was running water. The floors were all wood except for in the kitchen where it was concrete. There was a stone fireplace with half-burnt logs which looked to have long since gone cold. There was no bathroom; not odd necessarily, given the outhouse, but if there was running water, most people would prefer an indoor toilet and shower.

    All three agents ascended the ladder to the loft. There was a twin bed, and not much else. Under the bed, shoved far into the darkest part of the corner, Agent SAM found a large lockbox. Pulling it out, Agent SÁBADO tried the smaller of the two keys on the ring which obviously didn’t go to a door or a car. The box opened easily.

    Immediately noticeable were a neatly folded, but quite bloody suit and an envelope placed neatly on top. Written on it was the name Mr. Green. Agent SAM took the envelope while Agent SETH took the suit. This left the rest of the box for SÁBADO.

    SAM read the contents of the envelope quietly to herself before reading it aloud:

    If you are reading this note, I can assume I have died or become incapacitated before I had the courage to complete my final mission for the group. You will find about twenty gallons of gas in the shed behind this cabin. Pour them into the septic tank beside the cabin, and ignite it. You'd be happier if you didn't look inside. Please make sure that the remains are kept from my children. I am so sorry. God, please forgive me.

    Charles Berman
    This raised eyebrows, but it had little other effect. The suit which Agent SETH examined was plain, brown, and somewhat outdated. There was a hole through the front of the jacket where the wearer’s heart would be, and no hole through the back. The wound caused by this hole seemed to be the source of all the blood, and it was most likely not a survivable one.

    Beneath the suit, the box contained two canisters containing reel-to-reel tapes. The masking tape labels were dated 8/15/72 – 9/29/72. There were three grenades which Agent SETH identified as tear gas, a .357 revolver with the serial number filed away, and a baseball-sized glass sphere which appeared to be highly magnetized. Agent SETH was a bit disturbed by this, but he kept it to himself as the other two agents thought nothing of it.

    Okay, so there’s a septic tank out back and twenty gallons of gasoline in the shed. Whatever this was about, it seemed to be the main point of the Opera. S-Cell descended the ladder, exited the cabin, and walked cautiously around back. Seeing this, Agent ROBIN decided to see what was up. RASPUTIN remained in the van while she joined the other agents in the back.

    Now that they were close, they could definitely make out the ventilation pipe from the septic tank. Agent SAM thought she heard something and called for quiet. No one else could make anything out, but SAM felt sure she could hear a woman’s voice coming from the pipe.

    “Hello? Is someone down there?” She drew worried and confused looks from the others. Then they all heard it.

    “Charles? Charles, is that you?”

    A shiver ran through all the agents. That was definitely a female voice, and it was definitely coming from this pipe.

    “Who’s down there?” SAM asked.

    Agent SÁBADO’s eyes widened. “No! Don’t talk to it.”

    “It’s me, Marlene; your wife,” came the voice. “Please let me out, Charles. Please? It’s so cold and dark.”

    Agent SETH asked a few questions designed to prove the identity and test for intelligence. All the while, SÁBADO protested. The voice answered the questions slowly but correctly with a few exceptions. Whoever was down there certainly seemed to be Marlene, but she had no sense of time, stating that she was 51 years old, and that she’d been down there “since you left me, Charles.” Between answers, she continued her pleas for release and warmth.

    Being a professionally trained psychologist, it was obvious to SETH that whoever this was believed she was Marlene, believed she was the same age Marlene was when she had died, and believed that whatever voice she heard, whether male or female, was her husband Charles. She also desperately and pitifully wanted out of her prison and to be somewhere bright and warm.

    There was a very lively debate between the members of S-Cell about just what was or might be down there, and what to do about it.

    SAM felt that somehow, Marlene had been trapped here for years and should be rescued. At the very least, they should confirm that she was actually no longer alive. After all, the undead were just fiction.

    SÁBADO felt that no one could survive down there, Marlene was officially believed to be dead, and maybe the undead were fiction, but demon possession was a documented fact. It was his duty as a devout Catholic to rid the Earth of whatever abomination was in that tank.

    SETH wasn’t sure what to believe. Sure, it was possible she was still alive, but if so, she was still hopelessly insane. Sure, it was possible she was undead or possessed. By A-Cell’s account, Charles was an impeccable agent, and he obviously loved his wife. Ultimately, right and wrong had nothing whatsoever to do with this. There was a mission to accomplish. They were tasked to remove all evidence. Whoever, or whatever, was in that tank was evidence. Over SAM’s protest, he gave the nod to SÁBADO who headed for the shed and returned with two large cans of gasoline and a matchbook.

    SAM threw her hands in the air and stomped off toward the van shouting “If there’s a chance, a decent human being would take it!”

    Agent SETH whispered to SÁBADO “Do it.” He then followed SAM. Agent SÁBADO made the sign of the cross and began to empty the jugs down the ventilation pipe. ROBIN simply stared at the ground. The pleading could still be heard.

    “Please, Charles. Whatever I did, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. Please just let me out. It’s so cold and dark.”

    Agent SÁBADO couldn’t bring himself to light a match, but he held the book to ROBIN who took it greedily. Without hesitation, she lit a match and giggled softly as it fell down the pipe.

    There was a jet of flame, and shrieking rang out through the night with an eerie echo. When silence finally returned, the two remaining agents quietly returned to the van. They drove slowly back to Denver with a quick stop at the local Green Box to ditch what evidence they found and didn’t keep for themselves. The Green Box was a long term storage shed on a fairly secluded lot. No one really had much of an appetite, and so they simply caught the next flights and trains back to their home cities. After tonight, a little office time was welcome.

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    Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays - Introduction

    R-Cell
    Agent RAPSCALLION – Tatom Merzos – U.S. Marshall’s office, Special Operations
    Agent RAPUNZEL – Yuki Anderson, FBI Forensic Pathologist, Leader of R-Cell
    Agent ROBIN – Chika Takahashi, EPA Biologist and Environmental Scientist – Japanese-born naturalized citizen

    S-Cell
    Agent SAM – Gia Jones, FinCEN Investigator – Computer crimes specialist
    Agent SÁBADO – Marcus Hernandez, IRS Investigator – Computer crimes specialist
    Agent SETH – Ian Trotter, INSCOM Special Agent, Leader of S-Cell – Army Intelligence criminal psychologist

    Former Agents
    Agent RASPUTIN (retired) – Grigori Ruspokov, CDC Researcher/Surgeon – Russian-born naturalized citizen


    Roughly eight months have passed since the cold winter night in Colorado. In contrast, it was now a hot August night. Agent RASPUTIN made the decision to retire from active Delta Green status after the last Opera, but he remains a Friendly. This is sort of a low-key FBI/serial killer style investigation, so there's a lot of detail and information up front, and it might get a little dry. I apologize if I get too long winded. I'll try to summarize where possible while still providing a story you can follow.
    Last edited by Nomessiah; Friday, 7th November, 2014 at 10:02 PM.

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    Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays - Session 1

    Agent RAPUNZEL’s phone rang; not her personal phone, but her special phone. Each agent had a cell phone which they used for Delta Green-sensitive purposes. It would connect to a secure server and establish an encrypted link. It wasn’t 100% foolproof, but it was as close as Federal money could get.

    “RAPUNZEL.”

    The voice on the other end was soft yet commanding. It was a voice she’d heard nowhere but from the other end of this phone. It was Agent ADAM from A-Cell.

    “This is RAPUNZEL,” the pathologist said in her own quiet voice, a trait inherited from her Japanese ancestry.

    “I have the honor of inviting you to a Night at the Opera. I do hope you’ll be able to attend this time as it’s in your neck of the woods.”

    RAPUNZEL’s “neck of the woods” was Phoenix, AZ. She was a forensic pathologist for the FBI there. The voice didn’t wait for her to accept.

    “Assemble your cell. You’ll want to stop by the FedEX drop box on your way to work in the morning. FBI credentials and identification have been provided for the other members of your team. Your team only. These credentials will be invalidated upon the final curtain of this Opera, and they should be destroyed at such time. Should you choose to involve S-Cell, they will be operating in an unofficial capacity. Recommend you go overt, they go covert or clandestine. SAC Hobbson will give you your briefing.”

    The line went dead, and so she hung up the phone. SAC Hobbson was Special-Agent-in-Charge Patrick Hobbson, her immediate superior.

    Agent RAPUNZEL did as she was asked, stopping at the local FedEX office on her way in to the office in the morning. Each cell leader had a key to a box at a FedEX, UPS, or similar office in his or her home town. In the box, she found a package. Waiting to open the package until she was safely in her car, Agent RAPUNZEL found just what ADAM had promised; credentials and ID badges with the names and personal information of her other cell members. They were to pose as FBI Special Agents on loan from the Seattle office.

    When she arrived at the office, she found Agents RAPSCALLION and ROBIN waiting for her in the parking lot dressed quite professionally. RAPUNZEL handed out the contents of the package, briefly tested their cover story, and then led them inside.

    SAC Hobbson was already waiting. He was a heavy-set man with short white hair, and as cliché as it may have seemed, it was obvious he had the “one year from retirement, and getting too old for this” thing going on.

    “Ah, the help from Seattle,” he remarked with a tired smile as he directed the group to a briefing room.

    The briefing room held a large table around which the agents seated themselves, a desk at the front, and a whiteboard behind it. SAC Hobbson got right to the point.

    “We’ve got trouble in San Carlos,” he stated flatly as he dropped a manila folder on the table. “Trouble at the Indian Reservation.”

    Agent RAPUNZEL examined the folder. It contained a map of the area with areas circled and numbered, a newspaper clipping, and a list of dates and names which more or less mirrored SAC Hobbson’s speech.

    “Thirteen people in the last month have disappeared off State Road 70 that goes through there. They were last seen near the southern edge of the San Carlos Indian reservation. They include the following:”

    SAC Hobbson went on to list the names and information of the missing persons. The first to go missing were a middle-aged white couple from New Mexico, the Curtleys. Their abandoned car was found a half mile off the road. Next was a Hispanic gas station attendant in his early 20s, Felix Royce. He stepped behind the building for a smoke and never returned. Third was the camp of a couple fishermen near the reservoir, Ed Stoltz and Chris Martin. It was deserted. Following the fishermen were the disappearances of two foreign couples approximately two days apart. The first couple were young German tourists, and the second couple were Dutch citizens out to enjoy their retirement. Their rental cars were also found about a half mile from the road. Finally was a family of four, the Begays. They were successful ranchers who lived on the southern end of the reservation, close to Route 70.

    According to the markings on the map, the disappearances were moving more or less in a Northwesterly direction. With the exception of the fishermen and the Begay family, each disappearance was right from the road. The newspaper article reiterated SAC Hobbson’s speech, but it did so in a more sensationalized manor.

    “As these people have disappeared, and no bodies have been found, these are considered kidnapping and not homicides. Everyone disappeared on State Road 70 between Peridot and Geronimo.

    “You’ll be working with Major Frank Garrett, liaison with the state patrol, and with Sheriff Mangas Colorados. He’s the Apache Tribal Police liaison.

    “You’re going to aid the investigation. It’s still under the jurisdiction of the state police and the Apache Police. You can get their assistance, and you are to assist in return. You’re going to have the freedom to do your jobs, but you can’t order them around. They don’t have authority to order you either. Lend the local police all possible assistance, but do not take over the case.”

    With the briefing concluded, R-Cell left to meet up with their liaisons and check on the whereabouts of S-Cell. As it turns out, the members of S-Cell had arrived in Phoenix and met up for lunch at a Denny’s. R-Cell stopped in to quickly relay the finer points of the mission briefing and coordinate a plan.

    As the investigation seemed to be centered on Route 70 through the reservation, Agent SETH booked a few rooms at the Apache Gold Hotel and Casino so as to be centrally located. RASPUTIN and ROBIN were also to stay at the Apache Gold. RAPUNZEL would be about an hour away in her own home in Phoenix.

    S-Cell went to the hotel to work possible leads from there, though if the Arizona State Police, Apache Tribal Police, and FBI all had nothing, their chances seemed slim. Agent SAM scoured the internet and financial databases for more information on the people who had disappeared, but she turned up little. Agent SÁBADO called all major car rental companies to see if any other vehicles failed to be returned; only the two currently in impound. Agent SETH looked up Felix Royce’s brother. He was in prison in New York for multiple felonies.

    While SAM worked the computer angle, SETH and SÁBADO decided to check the Chevron station where Mr. Royce went missing. There were no other customers, so SETH engaged the clerk, a young Apache man named Steven, in conversation. He was able to get a quick picture of the emergency contact list behind the register, but otherwise there was nothing. Agent SÁBADO checked the perimeter for cameras. They all faced the front of the store, but the smoking area appeared to be around back; no buildings in sight from that side. Eventually, they headed back to the hotel for the night.

    Meanwhile, R-Cell met with Major Garrett of the State Police in Phoenix. He was a nice enough man, stocky, in his mid-30s, and wore a cowboy hat and spurs on his hiking boots. This was mostly just a preliminary meeting to get acquainted, and it was apparent the state police had no real leads either. Major Garrett offered the support of his men, and the use of his equipment including the police helicopter, but he did make sure everyone was on the same page regarding jurisdiction.

    The meeting with Sheriff Colorados went about the same. He was an older Apache, but his hair was still long, thick, and dark. There was a profound sorrow in his eyes, and a hint of worry. The agents briefly discussed the case with him, and as they were about to leave, he told them they were planning to check the area of the Begay ranch in the morning. The Federal agents were welcome to tag along. Agent RAPUNZEL happily accepted. A tribal police escort might be a good thing given historical tensions between Native Americans and the Federal government.

    Satisfied with their day of work, RAPUNZEL headed home while RAPSCALLION and ROBIN made their way to the hotel.

  7. #7
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    Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays - Session 2

    Agent SAM was up at sunrise. She didn’t care for anything the hotel restaurant had on the menu, so she headed to a diner a couple miles down the road. She enjoyed a nice, quiet breakfast and returned to the hotel with coffee for her colleagues who were just waking.

    Agent SETH took his coffee and asked her to collect phone records linked to the cell phone of Felix Royce, the gas station attendant who had apparently wandered off in the middle of the night shift. This took her a little while, but by 11:00, she had the list. It seemed he only called one number, a land line, and there had been no activity since the night of his disappearance. The land line was registered in his name, and the address was on the reservation. Agent SÁBADO questioned why a young Hispanic male would have a residence on an Apache reservation, and who he might have been calling, so he and Agent SETH went for a drive. SETH’s cover story would be that he had done time with Felix’s brother, and had just been released. He was asked to deliver a message.

    Around this time, R-Cell was set to head out to the Begay ranch with the tribal police. RAPUNZEL met up with her cell at the Apache Gold, and briefed Agent RAPSCALLION before they went out. Upon arriving at the station, they saw Sheriff Colorados was ready. The Jeep was running, and there was a deputy in the driver’s seat ready to lead them out to the ranch.

    The drive was quick and uneventful. They passed a neighbor’s house, and about a mile later they arrived in front of the Begay ranch. It was a good sized one story house, and a large barn with a corral could be seen behind it. Agent RAPUNZEL checked the front door, and it was locked. Agent RAPSCALLION knocked while RAPUNZEL and ROBIN went around back. There was no answer at the front door, but the back door was unlocked. The house seemed well cared for. It was tidy, but it did seem no one had been here in a while. They headed to the barn, but they didn’t find much. There were twenty or so sheep inside, and the large double-doors which led to the corral were open. Sheep and horses could be seen out there.

    RAPSCALLION examined the corral fence which appeared to be very sturdy and well-maintained. RAPUNZEL occupied herself with counting sheep and horses while ROBIN just stared off into the distance watching the birds fly in a circle. It took a moment, but then it clicked. Circling birds in a desert meant dead things, right? She called out to her cell members, and they decided to drive out and take a look.

    SETH and SÁBADO arrived at Felix’s house only to find it locked. SÁBADO questioned a neighbor and learned that Felix’s girlfriend, an Apache girl named Maria was at work at the diner down the road. He lived with an Apache. That explained how he was living on the reservation.

    Upon arriving at the diner, Agent Seth introduced himself using his cover story, and he asked to have a few words with Maria. She took her break, and stepped outside. She told them that Felix was a good hard-working guy. It wasn’t like him to just wander off, and she was afraid something bad had happened. She wasn’t able to give them much information, but she did agree to call if anything turned up.

    As R-Cell pulled up to where the birds seemed to be circling, they found a rocky embankment which led down to some brush and a small tree. Carefully, they walked down to the tree to take a look, and they were rewarded with scattered bones, and a few dead sheep. RAPUNZEL photographed the scene, and then examined the bones. A few were sheep bones, but most were human. She identified four complete skeletons, one adult male, one adult female, and two male children. All of the bones appeared to have bite marks. She radioed Sheriff Colorados to inform him of the discovery, and soon the bones were on their way to the Medical Examiner in Phoenix.

    They decided their next stop would be to re-examine the area around the gas station. About an hour’s worth of searching in the desert heat produced a spot of disturbed dirt. Digging, they uncovered another full skeleton about two feet down. It also showed signs of bite marks. So now this was a murder investigation. RAPUNZEL texted SETH what she had learned, and so SETH and SÁBADO headed to the reservoir campsite to see if they could turn up anything more.

    They spent the early evening hours poking around outside the campsite where investigators might not have checked, and after a while they found two skeletons buried about two feet down. SETH texted RAPUNZEL what they found, and she said to cover it back up. She then called Major Garrett and Sheriff Colorados to advise them to check the other disappearance sites for shallow graves. Major Garrett informed her that the state patrol helicopter pilot had just radioed in that he spotted something along Route 70. R-Cell agreed to meet the state police at the site.

    What the pilot had spotted turned out to be an overturned car with Texas plates at the bottom of a steep embankment and shielded from view of the road. The police ran the plates while Agent RAPUNZEL took the hands-on approach. Opening the door, she was assaulted by a horrible stench. A man’s body was in there, and had been for quite some time. There appeared to be no blood, but his belly had been sliced, and his intestines had fallen out. RAPUNZEL and a couple officers had to turn and vomit. Everyone else just covered their noses. A search of the man’s wallet turned up a name. He was Kenneth Braverman from Houston, TX. There were also zip-ties in the trunk which had been used to bind something, but they had been cut.

    Agent RAPUNZEL muttered something about a long night for the Medical Examiner as they returned to the car. She headed home for the night, and the rest of her cell went to the hotel to share their findings with S-Cell. Agent SETH asked SAM to find everything she could about Kenneth Braverman, and then everyone else headed for bed.

    RAPUNZEL was awoken in the middle of the night by a call from the Medical Examiner. He had completed his examination of the five skeletons and the two dead sheep. Dental records confirmed their identities as the Begay family and Felix Royce. The bones showed signs of having been gnawed by what was most likely a human. The sheep had three tiny punctures in their necks, spaced roughly in an equilateral triangular shape. On the side opposite the punctures was an incision which is where all the blood had drained. The sheep showed evidence of having been tranquilized, but the examiner had never seen a tranquilizer quite like it. Maybe the FBI lab would like to analyze it? RAPUNZEL indicated that they would, and she’d be in early in the morning to collect the samples.

    Agent SAM found a memo from the Houston FBI office in pretty short order and shared it with her team before they turned in for bed. The memo gave a description of Braverman and indicated that he is wanted in connection with the murders of his two children, and he is the main suspect in connection with a series recent prostitute murders involving dismemberment and mutilation in the Houston area. He is also believed to have kidnapped his wife Elaine Braverman. He was a serving officer with the Houston PD.

    Agent SÁBADO was from Houston, and he vaguely remembered hearing about the story on the news a couple months back. He relayed this information to SAM before heading to bed. Agent SAM used the rest of the night to search for those stories and anything related, and she was well rewarded. Upon waking in the morning, the other agents were welcomed with news story after news story which seemed to be linked in bizarre ways.

    Sometime before the prostitute killings, there was a story of a Mr. David Charles, an architect from New Orleans who was found dead in his Houston apartment from multiple chest and stomach wounds. The first officer on the scene had been Kenneth Braverman. Mr. Charles had apparently moved to Houston a week earlier after having shot an intruder in self-defense who later turned out to have been wanted for murder and cannibalism. His last known address was St. Bartholomew’s Shelter for the Homeless in Nashville, TN.

    An earlier article regarding St. Bartholomew’s reported that a Father Willard Franklin had gutted himself with a kitchen knife after being questioned by police in relation to the disappearance of as many as twenty-one people who were known to use the Shelter’s services regularly.

    A search for earlier stories related to Nashville and disembowelment led to an article about a Doctor Brenton Clark who had been found dead in his newly rented home. He had recently moved from Lowery, WV where he served as the local Medical Examiner. He had unexpectedly resigned his post after fourteen years without notifying his employers in writing.

    This led back to an even earlier article about a resident of Tecumseh County, WV named Mack Tooley who had shot himself in the head when police arrived at his cabin to arrest him in connection with the murder of an unidentified man whose bloodless corpse was found on his property. Dr. Clark had performed the autopsy.

    Okay then. That was a lot of information to have thrown at you before coffee. The agents sat down to discuss the implications, and several theories were thrown out. None made much sense to any rational person, but they’d seen some strange things so they didn’t want to rule anything out. There were theories of aliens, demons, cults, and diseases. None really stuck, but they figured whatever was going on, their best bet was to find the missing Elaine Braverman as she was their only suspect.
    Last edited by Nomessiah; Saturday, 27th December, 2014 at 12:30 AM.

  8. #8
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    Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays - Session 3a

    Agent RAPUNZEL ordered an immediate APB on Elaine Braverman, and she sent a photograph to all major news outlets in Arizona. A short while later, her phone rang. It was her boss, SAC Hobbson.

    “Agent Anderson, this is Hobbson. Just want to give you a heads up.” The man was clearly tired as well as irritated; pretty much his standard morning demeanor. “Had a few guys in black suits in my office this morning flashing badges. Apparently the NSA is interested in something about the investigation. National security, and all that. Listen, I want you to cooperate fully, and turn over any evidence you have. Make sure you keep copies, or you can’t exactly do your job, but they’re going to want to think they have it all.”

    All she could manage was a quiet “Err … Yes, sir.”

    “Good. Thank you, Agent Anderson. I don’t want any trouble with the NSA. I just want to get through this last miserable year, collect my pension, and drink myself to sleep somewhere without so much dirt. Oh, one more thing. They’re heading to the hospital now. Said something about chemical samples and autopsies.”

    RAPUNZEL hung up the phone and let out an audible growl. This must be how local police feel when the FBI takes over. It seems there’s always someone bigger. Like it or not – trust it or not – national security always trumps homicide.

    She had just enough time to inform the other agents of the new development before her phone rang once more. This time it was the Apache Tribal Police. Sheriff Colorados informed her that several days ago, three elders went into the mountains to a sacred cave to perform a ritual. They were due back yesterday, but they did not return. He had sent an acolyte to check on them, and he too failed to return. The sheriff was taking three deputies out to investigate, and he asked if the FBI would like to go as well.

    Agent RAPUNZEL indicated that she would be happy to help, and that if it was alright, she may bring additional backup. Colorados said that they hope nothing has happened, but any additional FBI agents would be welcome.

    The plan then was for R-Cell to meet with Colorados at the Apache Police Station and follow them out to the cave, and S-Cell was going to tail at a safe distance so as to be close enough to respond in the event that things went poorly.

    The Apache Police were ready to go when R-Cell arrived. Sheriff Colorados and a deputy took one jeep, two other deputies took a second jeep, and R-Cell followed in RAPUNZEL’s pink SUV. It took about an hour down a dirt road, and eventually they arrived at a large, round dirt area blocked by three boulders and shaded on the sides by light tree cover. This was obviously the end of the road, but a boulder-lined dirt trail wound its way up to a cave.

    The Apache police parked their jeeps and got out as the SUV pulled up behind. One deputy quickly stood stiffly upright, and fell backward over the side of the jeep. Almost immediately after, they could hear a loud crack echo through the mesas. The deputy had been shot in the heart from the direction of the cave which was easily 250 yards away.

    The sheriff and two remaining deputies each ducked behind a boulder while R-Cell took up position behind the SUV, and Colorados called for backup over his radio. Of course, help would be an hour away. No one could see much of anything. The cave was dark, and the intervening space was very bright. The sun was almost directly overhead, and it was nearing 90 degrees everywhere but the shade. One deputy tried to sneak out to pull the body behind the boulder, but another shot rang out, and the dead deputy took another round to the torso.

    RAPSCALLION scanned the terrain between their position and the cave. It was all uphill and wide open with the exception of about eight boulders along the path roughly 30 yards apart. He decided he was going to make a break for the first boulder, and so RAPUNZEL asked the police for covering fire. The deputies popped up to shoot a few rounds, but before Agent RAPSCALLION actually made his break, another deputy had taken a round to the heart. Whoever was up there had a hell of an aim and could pick off a target quickly.

    Be that as it may, RAPSCALLION ran for all he was worth, rolling behind the first boulder as a bullet kicked up a cloud of dirt only a few feet behind him. He wasn’t sure his luck would hold out another seven times, and so he decided to hold his position for the time being.

    RAPUNZEL sent Agent SETH a text: Sniper in cave. Two deputies down. S-Cell moved up, stopping their jeep several yards behind the others. Sheriff Colorados didn’t question the new arrivals. He was just happy to see any reinforcements so soon.

    Agents SETH and RAPUNZEL talked things over for a moment, and they decided on a plan. They would split up and go way around to flank the cave using the trees as cover. Then they would skirt the base of the mountain and climb up. It would take about an hour, but it would minimize their risk of getting shot. RAPUNZEL called RAPSCALLION back, and so once again, he ran for his life. This time there was no shot, but he didn’t care a bit.

    After regrouping, the agents split to flank the cave. It took a while, but they all reached the cave entrance without further incident. They all drew their pistols and entered one by one. The scene just inside the mouth of the cave was gruesome. Two skeletons, picked clean, and showing signs of bite marks in the bones; one body, skeleton from the waist down, chewed carcass from the waist up with a face twisted in horror; and a young Apache boy, face down and dead.

    Everyone had to look away for a moment, but Agent SÁBADO took it worse than the rest. He let out a scream, and began shouting in a strange mixture of Latin, Spanish, and English as he unloaded his entire clip into the body of the Apache child. His gun clicked several times before agent SETH was able to calm him down. When the initial shock had passed, Agents RAPUNZEL and RAPSCALLION began examining the bodies while ROBIN and S-Cell scanned the cave.

    The cave was dark, and it split in two directions. ROBIN watched the cave entrance while S-Cell checked the right branch. This led only a short distance to a small chamber. The only thing of interest in the room was a green canvas duffel bag. SÁBADO slowly unzipped the bag to reveal a smooth sphere a little larger than a basketball and dark grey in color like heavily tinted glass. It was semi-transparent, but the interior was difficult to make out. It seemed to be filled with swirling smoke, and every so often a tiny light would emerge in a seemingly random pattern of frequency, location, and duration. He zipped up the bag, and Agent SETH slid the strap over his shoulder.

    RAPUNZEL and RAPSCALLION were able to pull bloody finger prints from the half-eaten corpse, and they bagged four shell casings from the cave floor. The Apache child had three small punctures in one side of his neck, and a small incision on the other. He was completely bloodless, and he had been shot six times at close range several hours after death.

    ROBIN continued to watch the cave entrance as the rest of the agents checked the other branch of the cave. It too led a short distance to a wall with natural handholds forming a ladder leading to a smallish opening. Sunlight peeked in through the hole. SÁBADO climbed up and out to take a look. It was rocky for several yards, and then the tree cover began. It got denser the farther into it he looked. If someone who knew the area and had an hour or so head start, there would be no hope of finding them. He decided to head back down just as ROBIN raised the alert. The sheriff and deputy were headed up the path.

    Agent SETH met them at the entrance and advised them not to enter. “It’s pretty ugly in there, but we have forensics going over everything.”

    Colorados frowned with a nod. “Bodies?”

    SETH nodded. “Two skeletons, a half-eaten corpse, and a child.”

    Colorados sighed heavily. This was his worst fear, but somehow he knew it. Glancing at the bag over SETH’s shoulder, he asked “What’s that?”

    “My equipment” was SETH’s reply.

    “You didn’t have it with you when you went up. Did you find it in the cave? Is that evidence? If that’s evidence, I’m going to have to ask you to turn it over.”

    Agent SETH glanced around nervously, took a step back, and reached for a tear gas grenade on his belt. The two Apache officers were already on edge, and they had their guns drawn and pointed at his nose before he could.

    “Drop it, son,” the sheriff ordered.

    Agent SETH allowed himself to be disarmed while RAPUNZEL apologized profusely. This was obviously a misunderstanding, and everyone was on edge. The sheriff said he hoped that was all, and turned the weapons over to her, reminding her that she was responsible for the actions of everyone here.

    The deputy took the bag and ordered SETH up against the wall. RAPUNZEL showed the sheriff the opening and asked where it led. Colorados didn’t know, but he guessed it led further into the mountains.

  9. #9
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    Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays - Session 3b

    With the sheriff down the tunnel, SETH gave RAPSCALLION a wink. They both jumped at the deputy, SETH trying to choke him, and RAPSCALLION attempting to punch him. The deputy dodged both attacks, yelled for the sheriff, and backed out of the cave.

    RAPUNZEL grumbled, and she and ROBIN both pulled their guns, pointing them at the sheriff. SÁBADO decided everyone had gone crazy, and they were all going to be shot, so he quietly snuck down the tunnel, up the ladder, and out the hole.

    Sheriff Colorados put his hands up and backed up against the wall. “You’re making a big mistake here, Agent Anderson. You know that.”

    She cursed SETH under her breath. She knew this was all going wrong, and she didn’t see a way out of it, but she kept her gun pointed.

    “We need that bag, Sheriff. Look inside, and you’ll see what I mean.”

    The sheriff told her that it was evidence in a murder investigation, and it would be inspected at the station. The FBI would have access to it, but it fell under Apache Tribal jurisdiction. Meanwhile, the deputy was still backing down the path, gun in one hand, and walkie-talkie in the other. “Request immediate backup. The FBI is attacking us!”

    Yeah … That wasn’t going to look good in the official report. The sheriff took a deep breath, and in the most confident, imposing manner he could muster, he spoke. “You really don’t want to do this, Agent Anderson. Neither of us wants this, and it’s not worth it. Put down your guns. We’ll all head to our vehicles, and return to our respective homes, headquarters, or where the hell ever, and we’ll calm down. We can forget this ever happened, and after that bag has been checked into evidence, you are welcome to examine it.”

    That was a better deal than she could have hoped for, and it seemed like the only way out without totally botching the investigation, their careers, and their lives. She agreed, and everyone put away their weapons. It was a tense walk back down to the vehicles, but everyone drove away safely; everyone but SÁBADO.

    Agent SÁBADO had decided his best chance at survival was to walk back to civilization. He looked around for a moment, and then he proceeded in exactly the wrong direction. The forest got denser around him, and after a while he paused, took stock of his situation, and again chose exactly the wrong direction. Then it happened. A twig snapped. Something tightened around his ankle, and he quickly found himself dangling upside down from a tree.

    It wasn’t long after that when he heard something behind the tree from which he was suspended. He saw something out of the corner of his eye climbing the tree, and he twisted to see. There he saw the largest Apache he’d ever seen, covered in mud and grinning at him. Something whipped from the man’s mouth and pierced SÁBADO’s neck. He felt himself weaken, but he fought off the tranquilizer.

    Agent SÁBADO instinctively grasped for the tentacle-like tongue and got a firm grip. The Apache growled, and holding the tree with his legs, he drew a large, serrated hunting knife. SÁBADO punched at the man, but he missed. For his part, the Apache swung the knife at the dangling agent, but he too missed. Apparently, knife fighting with your legs wrapped around a tree and someone holding your tongue makes things a little difficult.

    Agent SÁBADO knew he was in a jam, but he remembered his gun. It was still in its holster, and so he drew it and fired. At point blank range with a heavy pistol, half the Apache’s head splattered away. The IRS agent was only a little shocked when the man shook off its wound, sending gore and brain matter flying.

    The large Apache swung his knife once more, catching SÁBADO in the collar, and leaving a deep, nasty gash. The agent screamed a curse in a mix of Latin and Spanish, biting back the pain. A second shot from his pistol removed the rest of the Apache’s head. There was now nothing above the jaw, and yet he continued to fight after a brief stun. The tongue jerked free and retreated down the exposed wind pipe, and Agent SÁBADO fired again, catching the man square in the chest.

    The headless Apache dropped from the tree, rolled, and stumbled off into the woods as SÁBADO struggled to stay conscious. He tried in vain to pull himself up, and the best he could manage was to swing over to the trunk of the tree, and hold on. He muttered quiet prayers as his blood poured forth from his wound. It was getting so cold, and he just wanted to sleep, but he kept himself going with his prayers.

    At some point, Agent RAPUNZEL thought to text Agent SETH: You have SÁBADO, yes?

    SETH’s reply: No. Thought he was with you.

    RAPUNZEL swung the pink SUV around and headed back for the cave. It occurred to her that she hadn’t seen him since they were all up there, and he hadn’t left with them. He must have gone out the back. Once at the cave, R-Cell headed up the ladder and out the hole. Looking around, they tried to think of where SÁBADO may have gone. RAPUNZEL decided she was sure he’d have gone back to civilization, and so she headed off … in exactly the wrong direction. This happened to be good, however, as it was the same direction the IRS agent had gone.

    They eventually came across him, still up in the tree, still struggling to stay awake. RAPSCALLION climbed quickly up, and cut him down. ROBIN did some quick patch work, and they moved him back to the SUV as quickly as possible. It took a while to get him to the hospital, but he was still alive when they made it. He was immediately admitted to the ER and taken for surgery.

    RAPUNZEL texted SETH to bring him up to speed. The reply was this: Keep him under observation. He may be our suspect now.

    On this revelation, Agent RAPUNZEL called Major Garrett to arrange for a State Police guard. SÁBADO was handcuffed to his bed despite the fact that he was heavily sedated, and RAPUNZEL had him officially listed as a person of interest.

    RAPSCALLION stayed with SÁBADO in the hospital, and ROBIN and RAPUNZEL went to the FBI lab to send the fingerprints and shells for analysis. Everyone else returned to the hotel to calm down and relax.

    It was about 3:00 AM when RAPUNZEL got the results from the FBI lab. The shells were casings from a Lee Enfield Mark III rifle, a sniper rifle of British make. The prints belonged to one Master Sergeant Emmanuel Santana, an Apache. Santana was Delta Force and he served in Afghanistan and Iraq before going AWOL in 2004. He hadn’t been heard from since.

    Agent RAPUNZEL cursed, and then she called SETH to inform him that they were up against an Apache Rambo.

    Shortly after that, she received a call from the Apache Tribal Police. It was Sheriff Colorados, and he sounded shaken. He told her he hoped everyone had cooled off a bit, and though he was still not ready to trust her, he needed her. The station had been hit. It was in flames. There were three dead deputies and another body, headless from the jaw down. The evidence from the cave was missing. He had salvaged the security camera tape but hadn’t watched it yet. She said she was on her way.

    RAPUNZEL alerted Agent SETH, and both cells sped to the Apache Tribal Police headquarters; all but SÁBADO who was drugged and under guard, and RAPSCALLION who was sitting with him. When they got to the scene, it was just as the sheriff had described it. The three deputies had been scalped, and the scalps were in the possession of the headless man. He was most definitely dead.

    RAPUNZEL asked if her team could watch the tape, and Colorados agreed. He was busy with disaster control, so he would trust her to handle things carefully. She agreed they would. They took the tape back to the hotel, and watched it in the VCR in the hotel conference room.

    The headless Apache stumbled in, feeling around with one hand, and carrying a hunting knife in the other. He found a deputy, cut his throat, and scalped him. He repeated the process with the other two. As he was finishing off the third, a black SUV pulled up out front, and three men in black suits stepped out. They entered the station to see the scene. One shouted, drew his gun, and fired. The headless Apache turned and stumbled their direction. One black suited man dove at the headless thing, tackling it. They rolled around a bit, and things got a little confused. Agent RAPUNZEL clearly saw something come out of the headless thing’s neck and force its way into the black suited man’s mouth. The body then went limp and collapsed as the black suited man rose and attacked his former allies. It was obvious they were going to lose the fight, so the other two men fled to the SUV, driving off at a quick pace. The one remaining man calmly put on his sunglasses and walked into the evidence locker, emerging with a green canvas bag over his shoulder. He walked off into the night.

  10. #10
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    Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays - Session 4a

    Agent SÁBADO awoke still handcuffed to the rail of his hospital bed. He was still heavily sedated, numb, and unable to move without great effort. Agent RAPSCALLION slept in a chair at the foot of the bed snoring softly. The room was dimly lit from somewhere in the corner, and a thick line of light peeked in from under the door. SÁBADO’s vision was blurry as well, but slowly he focused his eyes on the clock. The hands came into focus before the numbers, but he didn’t need the numbers to read the clock. It indicated the time was 1:38, and the darkness outside the window implied it was early morning.

    The door to the room opened quietly, and out of the corner of his eye, the IRS agent could barely make out the silhouette of a man. As the man approached, SÁBADO could see that he wore a black suit and carried a green canvas bag over one shoulder. The man leaned over Agent SÁBADO, and a whip-like tentacle shot from his mouth striking the seemingly helpless agent. Before the tranquilizer could flow, SÁBADO managed to flail an arm up to push the tentacle away.

    The man simply grinned and dropped his bag in a nearby chair. Drawing a serrated hunting knife, the man in the black suit approached the sleeping and snoring Agent RAPSCALLION. With a quick motion, the Marshall’s throat was cut, and blood sprayed. Agent SÁBADO tried to scream, but all he could manage was a forceful exhale.

    The man then took what appeared to be a plastic or foil pouch from the bag on the chair. He moved to pull down the neck of SÁBADO’s gown, but the agent again managed to flail an arm wildly to block the attempt. Every pathetic attempt at resistance only seemed to amuse the man in the black suit even more. Again the man moved to pull down the neck of the gown, and this time he was successful.

    With SÁBADO’s chest exposed, the man placed the pouch over the agent’s heart. The sensation it produced was immediately one of intense cold which then became a numb, dull pain. When the pouch was removed, the area was a pale blue-white. The man drew his knife across the pale area easily parting the flesh and cutting into the bone. Setting the knife aside, he then reached into the wound with both hands, ripping flesh and bone apart to expose Agent SÁBADO’s rapidly beating heart. The process caused a strong but numb and dull physical pain, but it was the psychological pain that really hurt. The poor IRS agent was powerless to do anything but watch as the man drew a pocket watch-sized, grey object with many twitching legs from his jacket pocket. He placed it directly on SÁBADO’s beating heart, and it burrowed in.

    The man in the black suit grinned as he forced the bone and flesh back into roughly the right places. He then applied the pouch to the area once more, and after the intense cold, the wound was sealed. The area remained the same pale blue-white.

    As the man stood over the bed grinning, the door silently opened once more, and a nurse entered. She was very tall – nearly seven feet – and she was very thin. It seemed as if a regular person had somehow been stretched out. She walked over to the man in the black suit, placed a hand on his shoulder, and said simply “You don’t belong here.”

    The man turned to look at her, and as he did so, she began to glow with a pale white light. The light seemed to slowly intensify, and as it did, everything outside about a three-foot radius seemed to get darker. It was as if either she was pulling all the light from the room to surround her, or the light emanating from her was pushing back the darkness and condensing it. Either way, the effect was the same; total darkness everywhere but around the nurse and the man in the black suit. As she became too bright to look at, the man reached into a pocket inside his jacket and took out his sunglasses. He grinned as he put them on. The nurse then began to crackle with energy, and the room exploded. Everything was vaporized – including SÁBADO.

    After he died, Agent SÁBADO experienced a long period of darkness. He then awoke in his hospital bed, still handcuffed, and still sedated. Agent RAPSCALLION still slept in the chair at the foot of the bed, and the clock still said 1:38. He could vaguely remember something from the period of darkness. He could remember … numbers? Yes; a seemingly random series of numbers.

    Then the door opened, and out of the corner of his eye, Agent SÁBADO could barely make out the silhouette of a man. The previous scene again played itself out, and SÁBADO’s mind was having real difficulty holding itself together. His Catholic faith filtered the horrible semi-reality for him, and he began to regard the nurse as something of a guardian angel.

    After the period of darkness, he again awoke, and once more, he could remember bits and pieces. This time, the number string broke off, and the voice had “spoken”. It was really more like words forming in his head, but regardless of their nature, he could make out the phrase “subject response sub-optimal”.

    The scene with the nurse played out once more, and this time SÁBADO decided he was either dreaming, or he was in Hell. Praying silently that it was the former, he tried to wake himself, but it didn’t work. Well, that was a bad sign.

    This time however, when everything went dark, he could actually hear. It wasn’t like waking and remembering. This seemed to be actually happening. The voice said “Subject status invalid. Sensory error. Correction.” The darkness began to fade, and though he was completely immobilized, be could still make out a stone wall lined with metal racks which held jars, wickedly shaped tools, and metallic cylinders of various sizes. There was also a large vat of some sort of churning grey slime. He had only a brief period to take this in before something humanoid, but definitely not human appeared over him. It was short, grey, impossibly thin with a large head, tiny mouth, and very large, black eyes. It looked very much like what Hollywood and various rural Americans have said for years that aliens looked like.

    The mouth didn’t move, but Agent SÁBADO could hear the voice all the same. “Remain calm, subject. Adjustments are in progress to restore equilibrium. Fixed state … status error … correction.” There was a shock to his heart, and SÁBADO again awoke in his hospital bed, handcuffed to the rail and still sedated. Agent RAPSCALLION still slept in the chair at the foot of the bed, but this time the clock read 5:43.

    The door slowly opened, and the man in the black suit entered. SÁBADO’s heart began to beat faster. With every step the man took, the agent’s heart rate increased. The man leaned over the helpless IRS agent, and the whip-like tentacle shot out striking him in the neck. As it did so, Agent SÁBADO’s heart began to beat impossibly fast, and finally it exploded. The heart exploded, SÁBADO exploded, the man in black dropped dead on the floor, and Agent RAPSCALLION was knocked out of his chair.

    He rubbed his eyes and opened them to see an arm handcuffed to a bed rail and feet poking out from under the blanket, but there was only blood and gore to connect them. He barely held back a scream as he stood and quickly exited the room. He sent Agent RAPUNZEL a quick text; only two words: SÁBADO exploded.

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