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Silver Team Mission Thread [M-LSV]


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[font=trebuchet MS][i]Current Silver Team Leader[/i]: Dagger[/center]

This mission thread is created exclusively for [I]current[/I] Silver Team members to post in. Players have been notified about the posting order via PM. Please direct any questions you have in regards to the event to [url=http://otakuboards.com/showthread.php?t=49109]The Legionnaires Underground[/url] thread.[/font]
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The first one dead was [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Bow]Clara[/url] [url=http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001966/]Bow[/url]. [I]Well[/I], Okita mentally amended as he surveyed the corpse, [I]'dead' is not, perhaps, the proper word for it.[/I] Bow had in her day been renowned for her beauty, and this was the corpse of the fiery-haired girl often referred to as America's first great sex symbol, not the sixty-year-old schizophrenic who had withered, tormented by shock therapy, in obscurity.

Could it be a simulacrum, then? Or had some unknown character gone to the trouble of reviving her--simply to kill her? Said person would have done better to demonstrate a touch of restraint; pulling on gloves to poke and prod the limp body was really not at all the same as seeing those dark doe-like eyes, with their eternally pleading expression, in life. Not that Okita had ever had the privilege of meeting the real Clara Bow himself--he was merely extrapolating. Onscreen she had been radiant, charming as much for her underlying frailness, the winsome tilt of her mouth, as for her more conventional physical qualities.

The eyes were the primary problem, actually, for the simple fact that they were no longer there. She had been found half in the river, half out, as though the killer had wished to preserve the state of her face rather than letting it all wash away with the silt. Okita slithered a gloved finger into one of the dark messy cavities; it emerged near-black with a kind of past-its-prime blood that clung to the latex in thick sloppy chunks and whose scent was peculiarly reminiscent of menstruation.

Inhaling the deeper layers of that scent as a wine connoisseur would breathe in the odor of wine, he eventually touched his tongue to one of the runnier drips which had been threatening to dart down between his knuckles and over the back of his palm. The taste told him nothing, except that this corpse had once been a true human being or else a very close approximation of one, and that he had grown rather picky in the past few decades; the blood was much too old for him to appreciate.

Bow had died, if he remembered correctly, in 1965. Sighing, Okita withdrew from the table and stretched, forced to suppress an errant yawn. He could not hope to remain alone in the morgue forever--simply breaking in had by itself been troublesome enough. It was time to contact the others, he supposed. Taking one last protracted look at the gouges on her belly and thighs--the water had cleaned those wounds quite thoroughly, leaving the skin around them with a strange fish-like pallor--he removed the gloves and flipped open his phone.

There was no answer, as expected; it rang and rang until finally his call was picked up by an answering machine with no message other than a swift, curt beeping. "Hello. Business going well? Ah, but not too well, I hope. Try to stop by"--here he rattled off the names and primary addresses of several movie studios--"sometime in the next few nights; it has to be after darkness falls, you understand.

"Apparently there's a monster on the loose. I wouldn't take too much stock in the stories; only I've just met the corpse of Clara Bow--I can count on you having seen some of her films, no?--and when things like this happen in close proximity it's almost never a coincidence... but anyway, I shan't bore you."

There was no good way to talk to Persona without giving the impression that one was an absolute fool--somehow his silence made people nervous and rambly not because it was derisive, but because of its very lack of derision; its lack of anything, really--so Okita usually just ran with it. "So see if you can catch a glimpse of the beast. Or bring back its arm, or its head. Whichever works. Contact me if you encounter any difficulties. All plane fares and such will be paid for, of course." It was best, as a general principle, to let Persona take care of business according to his preferences.

Echo had arrived in the Los Angeles area not shortly after Okita and was naturally more cooperative, so he would visit her in person, and then they would see who was destined to show up in the river shallows next. Yet first--he pinched the tip of an inside-out glove between his finger and thumb, idly swinging it back and forth as he thought--he would take care of his own needs first.

It was unwise to strategize on an empty stomach. Stooping, he kissed Clara Bow in one of her hollow eye sockets and told her to rest peacefully... the age in the smell of it still turned his stomach, but he came away with enough blood on his mouth to set the mood...
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  • 4 weeks later...
Johnny slowly returned the phone to the receiver and continued to drink the remainder of his water. He grabbed his briefcase and headed out the door. It was the afternoon and local traffic was already piling up. Kids flew by on their bicycles and tossed some trash on the ground.

As he walked down the sidewalk towards the closest bus stop he caught the glances of a few people. City dwellers always seemed to avoid making eye contact and a simple hello was like poison. At times it made him feel a bit uncomfortable, if only out of the concern that any of them actually considered him suspicious. Not that he'd have to do much more than dispose of them and their families to rectify the issue. Even so-called ?outbursts? such as these tended to rectify themselves if he kept them to a relative minimum. There was little chance of him being pointed out to begin with and he knew far too well from past experiences that the authorities considered him a ?necessary evil? of sorts. They hired him enough to make that obvious.

He eyed his briefcase as he thought this; it contained the only real evidence of his alter-ego . . . aside from everything in his condominium, anyway. He disliked having to live the normal life, but short of building a secret base in a cave somewhere he had no real alternatives. Coming in and out of his current home in full-on Persona attire would certainly not have been a good idea. He couldn't kill everyone and even he required rest and relaxation. It wasn't that he was afraid of being caught and incarcerated or even being put to death. It was a fear of not being able to do what he did best. His blood lust took precedence over other issues.

Okita's call came as a slight surprise. He ? as Persona anyway ? had done many, many things to many, many people, but all of them were ? to his knowledge ? alive. The humor of the situation did not evade him; the idea of a professional killer have to deal with those already dead struck him as ironic, even if he wasn't directly responsible for their original deaths. These thoughts reminded him all too well off the fact that his preferred line of work had seen a lull lately. People just didn't want to have each other killed as often as they used to. Even so, he kept himself going and he remained in peak condition both physically and mentally. It really hadn't been all that long since his last big mission, although for him it felt like an eternity. All he really needed was another major disaster and he'd be back in the front again. Wars and fights were an inevitability. As it was, jobs as bizarre as this one, unfortunately, were his main source of income. Even they were becoming uncommon. Every so often he'd get some blood out of it, but it was becoming increasingly rare. Lately it just seemed like an excuse to clean his mask and press his suit. He felt a slight bit on edge and tried to put it out of his mind by thinking of the matter at hand. He had a plane to catch.

By the time Persona reached Mammon Studios in his full attire it was already dusk. The lot was still semi-busy and filled with all sorts of characters and props, although it was obviously dying down. Carts pulling trailers of even more props or carrying less important actors sped by. He didn't stand out too much in such a crowd and walked around rather freely in his generally non-standard attire. Next to some of the costumed extras he actually looked slightly normal. Their actions towards him led him to wonder if he wasn't recognized because of the area and commotion or whether it had really been so long since he made the news. Could he have been forgotten that quickly? The thought of the studio filming another one of those horrid and ridiculous films that made use of his character crossed his mind. If only he had some way to cash in on all of that.

He found Okita in what had recently become an abandoned section of the lot, Studio 12B. It was famous for random films from the 30s and 40s that had once been popular, but had since become largely forgotten. Still, some of the names of the actors and actresses involved still managed to resound even today. This unassuming building, which somewhat resembled a large warehouse, was the source of Mammon's recent problems and the reason why he, Okita and Echo had been called over to begin with. As much as he hated working as a team, he bared with it. Beggars can't be choosers.
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  • 5 weeks later...
It hadn?t been an easy trip but somehow that made seeing the massive movie studio lot even more impressive. Echo took a deep breath of the evening air and smiled, adjusting the pack slung across her shoulder. As much as she loved Greece there was something refreshing that only traveling abroad could give her. Maybe that was why she enjoyed being a member of the Legionnaires so much. It wasn?t really that she enjoyed fighting, because she certainly wasn?t the best at it. Unless, of course, her teammates were good at fighting and gave her enough to mimic properly. Yet it was more of a social deal for her, something she could have fun with and just treat as another aspect of her life.

That was why this mission disturbed her so much. She hadn?t been briefed for very long, it was a rather urgent case. Still the information she had been given was enough to give her nightmares for a few weeks. Not to mention the rumors of a monster, although those bothered her less. Echo had dealt with deities in her original life and certainly terrible beasts were also part of that. In fact, that was the only reason Echo could think of that she was chosen for this mission. Her knowledge of so called mythical creatures was rather vast, given that she was a nymph.

Echo made her way across the lot, her guard up the entire time. Even if she was used to dealing with strange creatures, being alone when confronting one would most likely get her killed. She knew some martial arts, nothing that could save her from a monster. Alone, with no one to mimic, she was quite vulnerable. A shiver ran down her spine as an evening breeze blew past, rippling her summertime dress. She finally found Studio 12B and walked swiftly towards it, trying to ignore the growing paranoia the dark lot was giving her. Echo dashed inside, moving past the crates and discarded props until she found her two teammates.

Another thing that made her nervous was that she had never worked with either of them. In fact she barely knew anything about them. They stopped talking as she approached and one moved forward, extending his hand.

?It?s nice to meet you Echo. I trust the trip went well. I am Okita and this is Persona.? Okita said, nodding towards the other, silent man. Echo shook his hand, wondering if Persona would approach her, though he did not.

?It?s nice to meet you Okita and Persona. The trip went well.? Echo said back. Though she was usually easy going and didn?t mind speaking, the air was so heavy tonight that she found mimicking words difficult. There was a moment of silence and Echo almost pulled out paper when Okita?s eyes widened slightly.

?Oh, yes. I?m sorry. I forgot that you can only echo our words.?

?Yes, I?m sorry.? Echo sighed. It was a limitation and an annoying one.

?Hm, that will make things a bit more difficult.? Okita said, more to himself than to her. ?I?ll have to keep that in mind then. Well we should get to business if that is alright with you.?

?Alright.? Echo agreed, the two moving back to Persona.

?If I remember right, you can only mimic. You can?t fight on your own.? Okita said, pulling some notes out of his pocket.

?Right.? Echo confirmed. He flipped through them again, pausing.

?And you can mimic our fighting techniques?? Okita looked back up at her and folded the notes up. ?Then let?s fill you in real quick and get started. We have a job to do.?
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  • 2 weeks later...
Echo was a curly-haired woman around the same height as he--well, perhaps a finger's width taller. He took note of her nails (a rich hunter green and a bit on the long side; they would get in the way if she planned to use weapons), her bangles, her facial expression, and at last turned away, confident that he understood her. A little too confident, maybe; he had some difficulty sustaining his hope that she might turn out to be more useful than she seemed.

He felt the tips of his fingers twitch together, as if grabbing at something without his consent. He had explained the situation to her and Persona, insofar as he himself grasped it. The latter, of course, remained a blank slate. Echo, on the other hand, was easy enough to read: she had been anxious from the beginning, and learning that they were being forced to delve into this with so little information had done nothing but heighten her trepidation.

He could hardly tell her to work with Persona. "Alright," he said, taking her by the elbow. She jerked, startled, then stared at the wall in obvious embarrassment. [i]This is going to be difficult[/i]. He shot her a practiced smile that she probably found to be more unsettling than reassuring, and as he spoke he steered her toward the door. "If you've no questions, let's be off. You'll stay with me, won't you? Persona, could you take a look at the warehouses"--he pointed vaguely--"Over thataway? Around the perimeter, I mean. We'll head deeper into the complex--for now, at least."

"No questions," Echo said. Persona nodded.

Okita smiled again, automatically, and circumvented a crate of wigs. "Well, that's nice." He dropped her arm the moment they crossed the threshold; he was now fairly certain that she wouldn't go to pieces on him. It was not his task to be comforting, anyway.

His swords, slung at his side, bumped his leg lightly as he walked. It felt pleasantly anachronistic to wear them like this, with his oh-so-Western suit and tie, his expensive shoes. He sang under his breath as he began to outpace her: "[i]Ame ame fure fure, kaasan ga[/i] . . ." Had it been so long? He could not recall whether he had learned it in his own childhood, or much later. The rest of the words eluded him, till he reached the sounds evoking rain. "[i]Pichi pichi chapu chapu--[/i]"

Without missing a beat, he did a swift about-face and shoved Echo behind him. "Aren't we lucky," he murmured. Then, pitched for the eavesdropper's benefit: "You can come out, you know. I don't bi--oh, well, never mind." The hilt of his katana felt faintly and exquisitely cold.

The subsequent footstep was startlingly loud. Not built for stealth, was he? Or she--or it. The stench was that of something rotting. "Watch for as long as you can," Okita told Echo, looking briefly over his shoulder. She appeared to be taking it far more steadily than he had dared to expect. [i]Good[/i]. Another step. Was he imagining the earth trembling? Could this thing possibly be less inconspicious? At least Persona knew to not come rushing to their aid. He tossed her the shorter of his two swords; hopefully she would not be averse to the idea of breaking a few nails. "That's a gift."
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  • 4 weeks later...
"Over thataway? Around the perimeter, I mean. We'll head deeper into the complex--for now, at least."

Persona cocked his head to the left, casting his eyes briefly in the general direction Okita had pointed to. Reasons as to why he seemed so quick to send him off on his own flew through his mind, but only in passing. After all, he didn't exactly care to remain as a trio to begin with. Persona nodded and headed off. Echo and Okita walked quietly into the shadows located in the opposite direction.

It was obvious that this section of the studio grounds had not been used in quite some time. Thick layers of dust covered countless crates and tools. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary visually, although a strong smell permeated the entire area to varying degrees. It was a smell Persona recognized instantly. He continued to press his way through the piles of boxes and papers strewn about, getting closer and closer to the source of the stench. It got so thick that it felt like he could reach out into the air before him and grab it.

Pushing past yet another row of boxes, Persona found himself in a small clearing. Wooden and metal crates covered the area on all sides, forming a "room" of sorts. Beams of light coming from a handful dingy window high up on the wall cast heavy shadows, making it very difficult to make out much of anything important. Heavy clouds of dust could be seen floating in the beams, catching a lot of the light and making things even more difficult to see. Still, the smell was unmistakably radiating from this section.

His shoes stuck to the floor as he walked, making a quiet sound similar to tearing Velcro pieces away from each other. He made his way to the center, following dull, blinking colored lights that almost seemed to be floating in space. These lights turned out to be attached to some sort of device. It consisted of a large platform and casing with various knobs and levers and two small towers topped with glass spheres. Two thick cables ran from this box to what appeared to be a gurney.

Open crates littered the area, some full of objects and some empty. It was clear that a majority of the smell came from these crates. Persona leaned over and peered into the one closest to him. It contained what appeared to be human hair and skin. Dried blood caked everything within it and at this point he realized what was making the floor so sticky. A nearby metal case was filled with some sort of chunky liquid. Whatever was going on in this room, Persona was positive it wasn't on the up and up.

He quietly made his way to the gurney and saw that it was occupied, although not by anything living. Various pieces of obviously different female bodies were clumsily stitched together, forming some sort of Frankenstein's monster. The cables from the nearby device were plugged into a second device next to the gurney that fanned out into even more wires, all of which were connected to this human concoction. At this point Persona realized that he had seen an eerily similar set-up to this in an old, black and white rip-off of Frankenstein from Mammon itself. Still, it seemed unlikely that any of this would work . . . although he had seen stranger things in his lifetime.

Persona relaxed a bit and thought of the other members of his current team. His senses tightened, allowing him to make out some far-off sounds elsewhere in the building. As he made his way closer to the section where he had last seen Echo and Okita, the noise increased. It was clear that a fight was well underway.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Echo fell back again, tripping over her shoes. She growled low in her throat and ripped the shoes from her feet, tossing them to the side as the creature swung again. Okita moved forward with grace, his sword arching through the air and embedding itself in the beast?s arm. Echo scrambled up, grabbing the sword Okita had given her and falling back behind him, moving into a stance to mirror his own. Okita jumped back, metal flashing in the moonlight before he spun the blade and dove forward. Echo didn?t hesitate, letting her inborn instincts take over. She matched Okita?s move, throwing herself at the monster with a silent cry.

It was a monster, pure and simple. A mass of flesh, throbbing and dripping, pus oozing from every pore and blood caked on oddly human teeth, it stood before them like a creature from the latest horror movie. Only it wasn?t. It was real, so very real. Echo?s leg still stung from where it had sliced her calf with its jagged nails. She?d have to heal it later. The smell coming from the thing was terrible, overwhelming with the stick of rotting flesh. It wasn?t overly big and yet it was so deformed that the mass seemed much bigger. It reminded her a bit of a rag doll that had been overstuffed in strange places, albeit a very revolting doll.

Echo felt her body yank back and dodge to the left as Okita rolled to avoid a swipe, using his sheath as a shield. She was still mirroring him and stopped long enough to move to the side. How she wished she had a voice right now, if only to vent her frustration. She hated creatures like this. She had dealt with enough strange beasts that she wasn?t fazed by how disgusting it was. However, not being able to kill something was more than a little annoying.

Again she replicated Okita?s fluid stances, moving her own blade as he did and joining together to slash at the creature?s arm. There was a sickening squish of flesh and a crack as the swords broke through the arm. A small smile came on her lips as the arm hit the pavement, only to be thrown back suddenly. She groaned, quickly lifting herself off the cement. The arm, detached as it was, had swatted Okita away and sent them both flying. Damn echoing powers sometimes?Echo took a deep breath as the two regrouped, Okita a half step slower than he was previously. The body could still attack even though the parts were separated? That was a new one.

?Echo, to your left!? Okita yelled, spinning to the side to avoid another swipe. She glanced back and slid to right, slashing clumsily at the crawling arm. Luckily it was a good enough hit on it?s own to stun the possessed limb and allow her to go back to Okita?s side. They moved in to attack again but a sudden flash and the beast stumbled back. They both turned and saw Persona standing behind him, two axes shimmering in blood and light. The creature swayed again and now they both saw that Persona?s hit had been critical, the thick neck of the monster split severely on both sides. Echo grimced slightly at the wound but was more than a little happy when Persona moved his blades back into attack position.

Okita nodded meaningfully at Echo and the two readied themselves. One more blow.

The team rushed forwards, metal shining as the air went still. The blades buried themselves into the creature?s flesh and the monster gave a moan before slumping to the ground, fluids cascading down the rotted corpse. Echo yanked the sword out of it, breathing heavily as she stepped away from the body.

?Glad you made it on time Persona.? Okita said to the man, receiving a nod in return as Persona inspected the corpse. Okita sheathed his sword, walking forward to join him. Echo walked back to the side, grabbing her shoes and slipping them on before moving to her teammates. ?Looks like its dead, well, you know what I mean.? He looked back to the arm, which lay still. ?Take out the head and the body goes with it. Makes sense. This thing is made out of women, a few of them at that.?

?There is more.? Persona said simple, standing up straight. He put his axes back upon his back, motioning for them to follow. Echo kept her hand on her leg, focusing on the minimal healing powers she had to patch up the gash. Once it was fixed she caught up with them. She paused for a moment before holding out the sword to Okita. Okita looked at it and gave her a small smile.

?Keep it for now, I have a feeling we?re going to need it.? He said. Echo nodded, holding it awkwardly at her side. She looked back at Okita and pointed at his stomach. She allowed some of her healing magic to show through.

?Need it?? She repeated but he chuckled, shaking his head.

?That was nothing. It?d take a lot more than that to hurt me.? After that the group fell silent. They hurried on to see Persona?s discovery, each falling into their own thoughts about the bizarre monsters now plaguing Hollywood. Echo shivered, thinking of the creature and glanced back over her shoulder. Strange, she could have sworn they were being followed. Paranoia again, perhaps. Then again, she wasn?t sure of anything now. There was one thing she did know though: This was going to be a long night.


OOC: So sorry this took so long, damn exams. But there we go. If I messed anything up just tell me ^^
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[size=1]OOC: Sage Kaley, you deserve +500 HP for that new banner & avatar combo.[/size]

Persona, who had not wasted any time in showing them what he had found, stood back so Okita and Echo could look more closely at the thing on the gurney. Okita reached out to touch it. Echo cast a sideways glance at him before she finally stepped forward, swallowing visibly. Far be it from him to stop her, if she thought she could handle it.

What he found most unsettling were the clashing scents: blood as old as a month and blood as young as two days, blood from so, so many different women. The individual smells leaked together to become a kind of olfactory sludge. It was terribly distracting--much more so than the stench emitted by the other creature, the one they had destroyed; his adrenaline had held that smell at bay. Now he struggled to focus, to keep his vision from muddying, because a strong part of him instinctively longed to untangle those scents. He wanted to pinpoint their exact origins, down to the vein of that hand or the artery of that paler, skinnier arm or the deep cut along the mass of flesh that formed the upper part of the torso.

The sewing was sloppy at best. "Why do it like this?" Okita asked, indicating the stitches by waving his hand. "Why not do it more professionally? The one behind this had the resources for . . ." He gestured meaningfully at the crates; no further elaboration was needed. "The point is, he had the resources. Why carry it out so crudely?" He had hoped they could wrap up the mission with a simple raid; the enigma here irked him. He wished he could detect more than just varying degrees of age and warmth in blood--he wished he could scent out the perpetrator as well.

"A re-enactment," said Persona from the shadows behind Echo. She twitched, as though startled by the sound of his voice.

"What?--Oh. Oh, of course. That does make sense." Okita looked at him sharply. "But is the film itself relevant? Was it the story that seized him? Or could he have known someone involved?" He nudged at a tower of crates with his toe; black stains poured down over the wooden slats, as though something inside had overflowed. "Or was he involved? Dammit." He laughed, as though to reassure himself that he wasn't actually shaken. But fingers of perturbation--or anticipation--had begun to manifest themselves somewhere deep in his abdomen. "I didn't misinterpret you, did I? Care to tell us about the movie?"

"It was a Mammon work--derivative of Frankenstein. I don't remember much."

"Frankenstein." Glancing back at the gurney, Okita continued, "I'm afraid I've only read the novel. In it, the monster asks for a companion. A woman. That's what I thought of when I saw this. Then again--" He broke off when he saw Echo gesturing frenetically. "There's something you want to say, right? Well, I'll try . . . Monster? Mammon? Frankenstein?--no? I see. Insane? Evil doctor? Not an evil doctor? Well, maybe it's not about him." He jerked his thumb at the creature that had been made by cobbling together different women. "Is it about--[i]it[/i], then?"

She pointed more wildly. "Ah," he exclaimed suddenly. Drawing his sword, he struck at the ground as though killing a snake. "I'm sorry," he said to her, extending his arm; the blade had stabbed through the palm of a hand that still jerked inward, like a dying spider. "You meant this." The hand was attached to a forearm but nothing else, and gangrene darkened the part near the absent elbow where it had been sawed or hacked off. With a flick, Okita send it soaring into a corner. "So even these bodies have an expiration date."

It was growing very late. As they rummaged around, Okita asked Persona whether the stimulus used in the film had been the same as the one used in Frankenstein. "The stimulus used to awaken them," he corrected himself. "To bring them to life." Persona made no reply beyond the most minimal of shrugs, and Okita retreated back to his frustration. For him, this situation--and the very vagueness and mystery that surrounded it--still struck much too close to home for comfort. He smiled relentlessly to keep from gnawing his lip. It was clear to all of them that the person responsible constructing these hideous amalgamations had not been gone from this place for very long, but simply lying in wait would almost certainly be futile.

Okita realized that Persona was motioning at him, so he tapped Echo on the shoulder, and they gathered near the entrance. "Did you find something?" Okita asked. Persona shook his head. Echo gave Okita what seemed like a faintly pleading look and pointed her gaze over his shoulder, at what lay outside. "Someone's out there," he hazarded softly. She repeated it in a whisper, nodding. "You're certain of it?"

"Certain," she hissed. He was again impressed by her perceptiveness.

He leaned toward her and Persona. "In that case," he murmured, pitching his voice even lower, "Let's--"

An explosion interrupted him. No, not quite an explosion. It was something else, something almost soundless, a white burst that made his eyes wince back violently and made his fingers momentarily loosen from around the hilt of his sword. He re-adjusted his grip, whirling. It had come from behind them. From near that gurney. He located Persona--who hadn't strayed far--as the flare of light dimmed. Where was Echo? He strained to see. He heard a squelching noise right then, like something severing, and darted at the source of the sound. A glance was sufficient to tell Persona to come around from the other direction.

Finally glimpsing Echo, Okita pulled up short; the female thing had its hands about her neck, but they were more than hands: they were misshapen paws, with stubs of fingers poking out here and there, yellowed nails surging up between knuckles, lined palm-skin where the backs of the hands should have been, and vice versa. What did she have to do to escape? He calculated the motions quickly and dropped, coming in low, his sword leading him. Echo appeared to have stopped breathing, but she succeeded in imitating him, and at that moment Persona arrived to destroy it.

"It was the machine," Persona told them as he stepped over the monster's remnants. "It was activated."

"The creature looked unfinished, though," Okita said. "Maybe he's desperate. But he's here, either way. He can't have gone far."

"He?" The new voice lanced through Okita like an unexpected jolt of static. He turned reluctantly to face the speaker. "[i]He[/i]?" A chuckle, low and creamy. "You're slower than I thought, vampire."

Their mad scientist was a woman.
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