Sleeper Cell

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While the white noise blasting did stop the ghosts, it didn't help YC's mood. In fact, at that moment his general insanity manifested, for a time, as hypersensitivity to sound. It was like poking a bull full of holes and then waving a big red flag infront of it. When the noise started, he shouted his own obscurities to Lark, silent to the outside world, as he moved forward. He had enough of this.

When the operator switched off the white noise, before half of her sentance could be said, Young Chameleon gave his untimatum. "Fuck off." All codec transmissions from him then stopped as he had turned off the main body of the codec. He would deal with those ghosties. He killed them once, and he didn't believe in ghosts. Without the white noise, he felt better, much much better.

He laughed as the dead appeared to him, a dark laugh that was darker than the human soul. "Your not here to take revenge on me. Your here because I own your souls. I devoured them and thats that." He looked upwards at the man and smiled, mentally aiming before opening a hidden pouch and drawing his gun. The knees. Take out the knees and the body falls. Might even bleed out if you miss and hit the thighs... Nah. Chest. Right side. Break a lung, thats better.

His position was now shown and a disharmonious sound, not to the beat, not fitting in, staccato and echoing rather than staccato and short. A gun shot, followed by another aimed at the man. The ghosts could go to hell, which they were now.

"Check."
 
For the first time tonight, Lark's face was not calm and collected. All that effort put into helping out Young Chameleon only to see the worst possible scenario for someone in her role start to unfold. Everything seemed to happen all at once in the true fashion of utter chaos. First Phoenix's vitals started to turn erratic. He was the last person on the team who needed to be near death given his rather unique condition. She tried to raise him on the codec but all she received back was a mix of static and mechanical hissing. There was nothing she could do but give him medical advice instead of medical attention. From what the readouts revealed. . . he needed a surgeon and a technician, not a medic. Just a few blocks away was a perfectly functional albeit deserted hospital. Only Eliah likely knew just enough to at least temporarily save Phoenix but he was pinned down.

And the countdown to Phoenix's demise had already begun once the suit had been compromised.

Now all she could hear was Phoenix blasting the church apart. While he still lived she could watch through his visor. It was then she saw the swarm descend upon Fiest and completely engulf him. Again she could do nothing but offer advice. From the way it all sounded, the stained glass of the church had likely become windows into hell itself. Whitesnake's codec was close enough to Legion that she could hear his unnervingly inconsistent voice speak to the other members of BLOODHOUND.

Doing what she could as an intelligence officer, Lark took a sample of his conversation with Fiest and ran it through a military database. Identifying what she assumed was the brains behind this entire incident would at least contribute something. However, the results were not very promising and in fact turned out to be. . . confusing. Rather than one result popping up it returned with several hundred as though it had scanned an entire battalion's worth of people.

And then came the gunshot.

One that flat-lined Whitesnake's vitals instantly.

"Whitesnake? Whitesnake?! WHIIIIIIIIITE SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!"


Spreading ebony wings like those of a mystic bird from the darkness itself, Malphas twisted in the air and batted away Eliah's surprise attack with her forearm. From the sound it made when the two connected she must have been wearing some type of armored gauntlets made from a super durable but still extremely lightweight alloy. Pride had been wounded as deeply as the blade would have gone however. Years if not an entire decade had gone by since something managed to actually survive a strike from her killer kunai. The look on her face revealed as much, while black-tinted goggles concealed a rather priceless look in normally arrogant eyes. Eliah might get some grim satisfaction But by no means would she let this little setback stop her from taking down her prey.

As if on cue, Phoenix then lived up to his codename just as he died and caused a startling change in the Lady of the Ravens.

"BEELZEBUB!!!"

Concern for another weighted down the rising sinister urge within and completely overwrote it as though the battle at hand were utterly forgotten. From behind those goggles which let her eyes see all within the shadows, Malphas witnessed most of the church looking to have been blown apart. A combination of Phoenix's earlier gunfire and the massive explosion now threatened to utterly demolish the desecrated house of God. Hesitation was nowhere in sight as wings suddenly folded into a death-defying dive-bomb only to expand again into a gravity-defying ascension of amazing speed. Slicing through air like one of her Kunai, she quickly closed in on the church itself and somehow managed a perfect landing right on the bell tower.

Unfortunately, after departing from Eliah's company, her unkindness descended upon the BLOODHOUND member under the leadership of Karasuman.

Graceful was the only way to describe her acrobatics as she rolled backward off the bell tower rooftop, digging ebony coated talons at the end of her fingertips right into the stone of the tower. Lowering herself without a moment to spare, the wings which granted Malphas flight transformed seamlessly into an ankle-length trench coat with all the blackness of her heart. Each sweep of her arm cleared out debris from the uppermost floor of the church in a frantic search for life. Cautiously she closed in on a buzzing sound, the telltale sounds of his unique family. Beelzebub had to be somewhere among the rubble, and it seemed only she cared for the youngster who lived in such a frail state of health. Legion battled with Feist down below but given her lack of interference in the fight. . . she likely did not care about the outcome. Or perhaps she simply had enough confidence in Legion's abilities for the man whose mere existence made a joke of being 'an army of one'.

A casual glance at the ceiling finally let her eyes feast upon the Lord of the Flies who clung to it just like those he commanded.


Lark refused to allow the shock to fully take hold. Two out of six were dead. One-third of the team she was responsible for had perished within a minute of one another. Seconds even. Years of working out in the field kept her hardened now, old instincts kicking in one after another like memories. Fingers moved along her keyboard at a speed bordering on inhuman. . .except that she was human. . . which made it all the more impressive. Now she was trying to get the unit organized again in the wake of Legion's sinister planning and tactics.

"Eliah, this is Lark. Repeat, this is Lark. Phoenix and Whitesnake are KIA. That explosion was Phoenix's suit. But Feist is still alive. He has what you were sent in to retrieve. His tracker says he made it to the French VBCI, and that he's still alive. But barely. You need to get there ASAP, give him what medical attention you can, and drive out of the village as far and fast as you can. Your extraction is en route. ETA four minutes. Lark out."

A pause came as Lark switched frequencies to another member of BLOODHOUND.

"Widow, this is Lark. I know you're already on your way, but it is VITAL to the success of this mission that you give Eliah your full support. Whatever it takes to get him and Feist out of there. I'll handle Chameleon. Lark out."


Looking down at his comrade below with a slightly mistrustful expression, Beelzebub remembered the woman in black all too well. Ever since the day he met her. . . Malphas had treated him in a rather peculiar way that was different than anyone else he had ever known. Of all the members from their group, he had been the final recruit and she had been the one sent out to retrieve him from a refugee camp swarming with flies. The camp's entire food supply had been cleared out and the corpses of those who had sought shelter had maggots pouring out of their bloated bodies.

Some people might have called it a rescue and others a kidnapping.

Regardless of what it may have been. . . the reasons were simple and straightforward. Their group needed him to complete their plans and help advance the research on Sleeper Cell technology. A thirteen year old boy was hardly ever so important. . . but his connection with the flies was too unique to go unused.

"Come down little fly. You know I wouldn't hurt you."

"I k-know that. . . I think."

Now Malphas held out her arms openly to catch the emaciated youth, only having to wait around twenty seconds for him to drop down right into her armored arms. Beelzebub still carried a terrible stench, the stench of death, but she did not seem to mind in the least. A soft smile rose on her lips while a predatory gaze bore into his sunken eyes. One could swear the woman was fighting an animalistic urge to let nature take it's course with a bird feasting upon the weakened insect.

Perhaps it was an attraction to something which bordered on death but never reached it.

Quickly enough she adjusted Beelzebub in her arms until one arm and a hand supported his bony bum while the other arm looped around just under his skeletal shoulder blades and left his head resting on the woman's shoulder as the feathers of her coat tickled his ghoulishly gaunt features.

"Malphas, I'm h-hungry. And tired."

"You'll have plenty to eat when we get back to the base, my little glutton."

And with those words she placed a deep, smoldering kiss onto the dry lips of the one in her arms.



King Amdusias allowed a slightly impressed expression impose upon his face when Young Chamleon overcame the hallucinations through sheer will, but that was all. Mentally aimed or not the bullets aimed for the hack composer did not find their mark. However it did produce another result. Rather quickly the King dialed up an ally on their own version of the codec devices while taking cover from anymore incoming gunfire.

"Legion, I require some reinforcements. One of those BLOODHOUNDs is sniffing and shooting around in the vineyard. Could you spare a few of your. . . legion?"

"Can you not handle yourself, King?"

"I was thinking of protecting the experiment data. Not myself. You sound a little worse for the wear though. . ."

"One of those BLOODHOUNDS was a walking bomb. Now he and their sniper play dead. One scampered off with the tail between his legs. Yet I still live. Put your dog whistle to use and prove yourself to us all."

"It will be done."

With those words of finality, the King rose up once more and spoke not another word as the conductor's baton rose high up into the air. Deft and precise movements he started to conduct the song of his unseen orchestra. All around Young Chameleon the low frequencies increased in their intensity beyond what it had been before.

Now when the baton was pointed at the BLOODHOUND member he would truly feel the wrath of hell's composer.

Headaches and nausea would immediately set in upon the young psychopath far worse than the ones from earlier in their battle. Long enough exposure to these kinds of frequencies would leave Young Chameleon nothing but a puking invalid with a skull-pounding migraine powerless to stop even small child from killing him. It was a one on one battle between forces of the supernatural and a disciple of technology.

And no man can say who shall emerge victorious.
 
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At the fact that his shots missed, YC cursed and he prepared to lob a grenade into the balcony when the conductor's baton was pointed in his direction. He let out a scream of mixed rage and pain as he dove for cover, his gun still in hand. He breathed heavily as he shivvered. "Damn... Wierd bastard..." He turned his codec back on. "Hey Lark. Before you bite my head off, I needed to turn my codec off so that I wouldn't get hit by the white noise. The ghosts are gone, but I put King into check and he seems to have absorbed the Queen. Whats the situation going on in the village?"

He peeked out of the cover before moving back and opening his communications to outside communications. "Hey King! Nice to meet you! Looks like you moved out of check very well! This should be fun! Also..." He took a deep breath and shouted, "Prenez le cul, la chatte!" He shut the communications off of the outisde and smiled. "I feel much better now."
 
The cacophonous tolling of the bell drowned out all other noise, muting even the cries of the dying, the pleading of boys for mothers and the throaty gurgles of the wounded. She saw them..felt them..smelled them..they touched her, dry fingertips whispering feebly against her ankles like fleshy blades of grass. Others were not as gentle in their parting as they grasped at the hem of her cloak with hands sticky with crimson, leaving behind their last conscious marks on the world.

Her pace remained steady, footsteps falling as gingerly as a hart through a wood, wary of any wayward branches underfoot. As she proceeded through the writhing twist of limbs and drew closer to the rendezvous point with Eliah, the bell fell silent…

A sudden chill crept up her spine that made various muscles in her body tense in anticipation, a heavy feeling weighing against the pit of her stomach.

Instinctively, she tightened her cloak around her body, the fabric shimmering vaguely as it shifted from another blotch in the darkness to nothingness, the fabric mirroring its surroundings, effectively camouflaging Lilith from view. A small puff of dust was the last trace of the Widow as she sprinted in earnest toward Eliah's last known position.

Moments later, the night sprang to life.

Chaos lashed out from every corner of the darkness, eerie silences replacing the banter of a few members of Bloodhound. Interference plagued what remained of the live Codec channels. Smoke and dust rose in the distance as something exploded.

Another whisper was the response to Lark's orders. It made no promises, other than the static promise of a soldier who would try to do what they could, given the circumstances.

"Affirmative."

+++++

In a rush of beady eyes and glistening pinions, the unkindness descended toward Eliah, splitting apart in a rough mockery of a pincer attack, striving to confuse the Bloodhound member.

Their razor beaks opened wide, barbed blood-red tongues jutting out viciously as throaty screams shredded the air and the nerves of anyone nearby, the left flank surged outward and toward Eliah…only to disappear from sight a moment later. The sound of heavy cloth unfurling and the confused squawks of ravens utterly defeated their previous attempt at intimidation as the lithe figure of Lilith suddenly slipped into view.

The woman's right arm was outstretched , her legs tucked close to her body as she appeared to hang in the air for a moment, her extended limb jerking back toward her torso with a motion not unlike a matador. The air rippled as she pulled it back, the shimmering expanse unveiling a tightly bound mass of ravens, the birds fluttering and snapping at one another in confusion before a deep resonance erupted in the center of the mass.

The Widow dropped to the ground next to her teammate as a flurry of bone and pinions rained down as one pincer was eliminated. Landing in a low crouch before straightening to her full height, a throaty whisper announcing her acknowledgment of his presence,

"Eliah."
 
The sudden strike from his blade, without any compensation for the momentum from such a violent movement, threw him awkwardly off balance. He tumbled into the grass as explosions, gunfire, and general mayhem rang out all around him. Blink, blink. He blinked the sweat away from his eyes. His right arm looked like it had been blown apart by a small caliber explosive, the blade dangling still and useless, extended and dragging along the ground.

One second.

Various messages flooded through his com piece. Each one slightly restored a cold sense of calmness, the kind that let him use a flamethrower on humans, leaving behind the sort of fuzzy memories one bemusedly considers upon getting drunk. His forearm twisted almost one-eighty degrees, the blade slithering back into its hidden compartment, servos whining, latches clicking shut.

Two.

'Eliah.'

Three.

He stood up, brushing his arms, and pants, His motions were unhurried; the moment he heard his name everything became drawn out, voices deepening until they thundered in his ears. Things around him impossibly slowed down.

What do you stand for? Money! How do you get it? Killing people!

He turned to face Lilith as the other half of the pincer descended from him. A few seconds later, most of them sort of .. just, fell apart, splitting into two or three pieces and splattering onto the grass below, turning the ground into mud with their blood. In the cloud of blood left behind, a few throaty burps and a quick gout of flame from his pistol dispatched the few left that were hovering above him.

Eliah smiled through the settling mist of blood. He had cuts to the face and shallow gashes on his arm, his uniform slightly torn in a few places. Most of this took space in the span of a few seconds. The sight and sound of the blades retracting back into his forearms were well masked by the cawing of the ravens as they sputtered and died. As the adrenaline rush died, he staggered, slightly off balance from the millisecond-fast draw and shoot, reholstering the pistol with all the grace he could muster.

"Let's go."
 
Lark looked over at the computer monitor with a look that said 'Really? Are you serious?' upon hearing YC's voice come through on the codec. And said it rather well. Mostly since his reasoning could only come from a psychopath with the maturity of a fourteen year old. If memory served, he had been the one who requested the white noise in the first place. Luckily she had taken note of how he had rather rudely turned off his codec. Had she not switched OFF the white noise before YC's latest transmission she would not have even heard him request information. More than anyone else in a long time. . . the kid was on her shit list out of sheer unprofessional behavior to say the least.

"Nice to hear your voice Chameleon. While you were busy not following orders to retreat into the village, Phoenix and Whitesnake became KIA. Fiest is severely injured. Widow and Eliah are pinned down by Malphas last time I checked. Did you at least manage to kill the King? Whether you did or not get back to the village NOW before anyone else or even, god forbid, YOU ends up KIA."



Chaos reigned over the battlefield more than any of the warriors on either side tonight. Nothing was for certain and not even victory could be guaranteed for either side. Only the music of battle continued to play without interruption and without intermission. Rhythm may have changed with the times. . . but the tune was always recognizable throughout every incarnation. Conflict. It made the world turn according to some people.

For King Amdusias it was the inspiration for his music.

Just a few taps with his conductor's stick changed the music playing all around YC as the invisible instruments switched to another song. More importantly, when the King decided to speak once more YC would certainly hear it. Right from behind him that composed hacker's voice would whisper in a sinister tone. Yet turning around to look would accomplish nothing since would not be anywhere within sight. Distance between them meant nothing to him. Even shutting off outside communications provided no obstacle to the composed hacker.


"Be with you in just a menuet."

Young Chameleon would find out the hard way that to feed the muse of a madman was never a good plan. During all the verbal chatter between the BLOODHOUND member and Lark, hell's composer had gotten a few little errands done. Now the results of their little experiment were safely secured for transport out of the quaint little village that they had transformed into a hellhole. More importantly, all of the equipment was packed up and their own evil extraction was en-route. There was no longer any reason for them to remain since the French government was more than likely putting together another team to find out what happened to the first. Scratch that, they were probably already on their way right now. Perhaps the entire French army was marching here at this very second seeking some sort of justice for a crime they had not even witnessed the full magnitude of yet.

But it would not come tonight.




Legends in older days gave ravens a bad reputation that until tonight held little merit. Until tonight these were merely carrion birds with black feathers and a haunting cry. Karasuman was different than others of his kind though. . . and his unkindness took after the merciless example he and Malphas provided. Yet none of the others could match his cleverness. Among all the Corvus in the world an unearthly intelligence resided within that skull which was a mighty size smaller than any human skull.

Widow could not trick him into her trap.

Meanwhile Malphas had made a cunning escape out of the church and into the night's embrace while still clutching Beelzebub to her ebony form. Luckily for them none of the BLOODHOUND unit actually specialized in an extra sensitive sense of smell. Otherwise they might have picked out the Lord of Flies stench as his gaunt frame was whisked away. Behind them trailed a swarm of flies the length of a football field. Even the wind lent itself to their gruesome getaway as it filled the pair of wings which her intricately exotic trench coat had transformed into once more. Flying above ground level while never rising above the height of any rooftops took skillfull execution of knowledge in aerodynamics. Greatly easing the burden for her was the simple fact that her precious cargo weighed so little.

"D-did my family m-make it out?"

"Yes my little glutton."

"G-good."

Perching on a nearby rooftop, the constant companion of Malphas looked on at the two humans making their way toward the VBCI. All around them his blackened brethren fell to rest in pieces. Reduced to nothing more than food for scavengers if there even remained enough left of them to feed on at all. Now a set of beady eyes locked onto the pair of humans that still remained alive. Quite an accomplishment really since Malphas and her unkindness had taken out an entire unit of soldiers in less than a minute flat. Just one more incident to tally up onto the French's military history. A glance in another direction granted those beady little eyes the sight of Malphas heading off in the direction of the rendezvous point.

Piloting their escape was her duty after all.

Which meant now was not the time for Karasuman to just perch with a talon up his ass.


Circling around behind the church after taking flight, Karasuman noticed a suspicious figure fiddling with what looked like a detonator. Only the uniform of a French officer seemed to ring any bells. No longer could the demonized bird recognize the face at all anymore other than the fact it called to mind the face of a true demon. Phoenix had certainly left his mark on the world beyond a doubt. Though it seemed that in spite of pain he was in, Legion could still muster up enough resolve to carry out his plans.

"King our exit is nearly ready. Preparation for the parting gift is finished. Are you in position?"

"Yes."

"Then let us go out, with a little music."

"My pleasure, Legion. Just a few moments to pick the appropriate tune is all I need. . ."

Just then the man who was many looked up at Karasuman with half a smile while the rest of that face warped into into a wrathful countenance befitting his newly acquired scars. . . and winked.


Karasuman must have taken this as some sort of signal, for the raven quickly circled back around to the front of the church. Did it truly comprehend what would happen shortly? Understanding human body language or not it decided to make a bold move and land directly atop the VBCI which housed a wounded Feist. It was an action which in one sense presented no threat to the two BLOODHOUND members on approach and yet. . . still sent that chill of a foreboding ill omen up the spine of any man.

"Burn in the hell we have made. We, the HELLRAISER BRIGADE!!!"


Raspy and enraptured with thoughts of rage, Karasuman's hoarse voice cawed and echoed down the street. For an animal to speak with threatening words of such clarity demanded the awe and terror of all who heard it. Immediately after those words the music had started to play as if exactly on cue. Perhaps it was considering Hell's composer had such a flair for the dramatic on every battlefield he visited. Every street in the village had that song playing as though to drive home a very important point to the remaining members of BLOODHOUND.

The clock was ticking.

 
"Let's go."

Her cloak fluttered lightly as she jogged next to the young man, the two Bloodhounds fleeing the current scene with as much haste as they could while still being cautious. The last thing they needed was to be hit in the face with another cloud of birds. Briefly, she glanced over at her teammate.

It was the first time Lilith had seen Eliah in action. Not bad.

For someone who dispatched his enemy with such little hesitation, a cloud of killer ravens or not, the sudden smile he gave caught her slightly off guard. It wasn't so much that he was smiling, or where he was smiling...actually, she wasn't exactly sure what it was about his expression that made her pause for a moment. Maybe it was just the fact that he could still smile, or that something in the gesture almost seemed genuine. He was still young, after all. As far as she knew, anyway. Even through all the cuts, scrapes, gashes and blood...his face didn't really look that old. It was more weathered, sure, but…

They just kept getting younger and younger.

Lilith placed her right hand over her ear unconsciously as she listened in on the various codec frequencies, trying to sift through the chatter to see who, if anyone was still online. At any rate, it was probably pertinent to haul ass to Feist's current position, snag some transportation and get the hell out of Dodge.

A throaty rasp drowned out the rest of her thoughts, effectively answering her doubts about what to do first.

"Burn in the hell we have made. We, the HELLRAISER BRIGADE!!!"

"Hmm…" A quiet murmur of amusement slipped past Lilith's lips as she began to pump her limbs a little faster, pushing her jog into a sprint.

Time to go.
 
"Lark, please stop acting like its your time of month, ok? We all know your going to get a cat or something and have it shit a crime scene on my bed, so lets act profesional an-" As soon as the music shifted, a wave of pure dread passed over him. He could FEEL the man's killing intent. And it was directed at him.

He went from sarcastic to panicked in a way that made it seem like he was a whole 'nother person. "shitshitshitshitshitshitshitshitshit!" He started motor-cursing as he started throwing flashbangs and explosive grenades from the cover he was hiding behind. Most likly none of them would hit the King but it would distract him. As soon as they went boom, Chameleon ran. He tried to run out of there very, very quickly. If he stayed there, he would die.

That was NOT something he was used to. "Going! Going!"

One of the explosive grenades landed, quite luckly, on the balcony that King was on, though quite near the edge. A simple kick would render it out of range.
 
The more and more unnatural things seemed to get, the more Eliah slipped into a coolly professional demeanor. It was easier to think about what was friend, what was tango, than to try and wrap his mind around whatever otherworldly things were happening around him.

".. What's going on?"

The small quip, addressed to his running mate Lilith, showed a crack forming in his foundation. He snapped off a few shots at wandering ravens, absentmindedly, his mind in a surreal state. The events around him were just getting too strange, forcing their way into his psyche, forcing him to acknowledge that reality was that of ominous music and birds organized enough to rend flesh from bone.

They were rapidly approaching the church, where the APC with his teammate resided. He stopped at the edge of clearing, pressing his body to a nearby stone wall, shattered and pockmarked no doubt from the force of Phoenix's .. self destruction.
 
". . ."

A change in expression was the only response that Eliah received, if he even bothered to look at the woman's face. Her full lips pressed together in a thin line of grim determination as she pressed against the ravaged wall, her dark gaze darting around their surroundings while she slowly made her way to the edge. Pausing for a moment to take a deep, steadying breath before leaning around the corner to gauge the situation and confirm that there were no other murderous murders flapping around before she reached back to grab hold of Eliah's wrist, trying to catch his attention. The brief contact a subtle attempt at grounding him, pulling him back to reality, letting him know they were going to move. She needed him to be there with her, ready to move. Feist needed him there, ready to help. The mission needed him, ready to succeed. Or, at the very least, ready to survive.

Lilith slipped around the corner quickly, her lithe form darting between one point of cover to the next, her posture held low, head down, muscles tensed for immediate action. She made it a point to pause from time to time, making sure Eliah remained close behind. Soon enough, they were mere yards away from the APC. They took a moment to gather themselves before sprinting the last stretch.

"Go, go, go." the woman whispered, her words quick and hushed. With his focus on their situation wavering, it would be best for the boy to turn it to something more...real. Namely, patching up Feist. They made the dash to the APC, Lilith moving to the front to assume control of the driver seat while Eliah moved to the back.

With the sounds of Eliah tending to Feist in the background, Lilith could turn her full attention to the matter at hand. Namely, getting the hell out of Dodge while keeping the vehicle on all four wheels...or at least three...or two...

Well, keeping the wheels pointed toward the ground at the very least.

She eyed the ignition. No keys. No time to look for keys either. Her hand reached out, fingertips pressing to the ignition, the apparatus strapped to her chest giving off a faint flicker at the same moment the APC roared to life. The vehicle let out a heavy groan like a great laboring creature as it lurched into gear.

"Hold on."

Inside their new bulky metal home, it was quickly becoming painfully obvious how many had been lost this night. Aside from the ones who were confirmed deceased, the only one Lilith had no idea about was Chameleon...but there was no time. Dread began to knot tightly around her heart, her clammy hands gripping the wheel tightly as they sped forward, the vehicle slamming aside any debris unlucky enough to get in her path. She silently apologized to Feist as the APC rumbled along violently.

Lilith's posture unwound considerably as the edge of the village came in sight...as did the thick brick wall standing guard. Without hesitation, her foot slammed down on the accelerator, the APC's engine growling in response, the frame creaking. Buildings whipped past, trees became mere blurs. She leaned forward in the seat as if in hesitation before pressing back firmly in the seat, the wall doing nothing to move aside. She braced herself.

Hell unleashed.

The light and heat invaded even the thick walls of the APC as it burst through the brick and the rest of the brick around them burst in their own violent way. Napalm was one hell of a fire starter. Anything still in the village was finding that out right now no doubt, just before it was vaporized. Lilith shut her eyes as they were all plunged into darkness.
 
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Undisclosed Military Base Location.

3 weeks after Operation Balthazar.


Seated around a conference table were some of the most dangerous and specialized soldiers in the world. Shadows and darkness danced around most of the room as it was set up for a briefing. More women were present than last time. . . a stark contrast to the last mission. All three replacements for the deceased members were women. Feist sat next to Lilith and Eliah on one side of the table. Black Vulture, Lucky Stars, and Frostbite were seated on the oppsite side of the table. The old blood and the new blood were seeing one another for the very first time. Hopefully the lush leather executive chairs they sat in would keep them somewhat subdued enough to sit through the mission briefing.

Each one had been selected on their own individual accomplishments and skills to join the legendary BLOODHOUND unit. Plus they all had to pass a urine test in the last twenty-four hours. Administered by a nurse who was laid back and jovial, almost unflappable. Recent events had led some to question the effectiveness of the unit many saw as an accident waiting to happen. So many loose cannons placed together. . . it was a wonder that throughout the entire history of the unit only a few notable blemishes tarnished an impressive field record.

At the head of the table sat a man who must have been in his early fifties in a clean pressed uniform befitting to a man who had reached the rank of colonel. On his chest were more than a few medals that were doubtlessly earned in his younger days as a soldier in the field. Pale blue eyes scanned the room, taking in the faces of those he would soon send onto the battlefield. Etched onto his faintly tanned face were scars of battle that rather than mar his handsomely aging face. . . made him look like an old distinguished warrior.

"Listen up, BLOODHOUND. For those of you new to the unit, my name is Colonel Crenna. Now lets all get something straight and out of the way, we all mourn the loss of Whitesnake and Phoenix . . . and Young Chameleon. They gave their lives for the mission. Thanks to their sacrifices and sacrifices of those still with us today we now know just what we're dealing with."

Lifting up a little remote in his hand, Colonel Crenna pushed a few buttons. First a large projection screen came down and was shortly followed by magnified image of what must have been the Hellraiser Brigade's secret weapon.

"It is a type of nanomachine codenamed 'Sleeper Cell' originally created by a scientist named Dr. Kurt Blutpfuscher."

Next the slide switched to that of an extremely old man in a wheelchair. His features were a now wrinkled mix of white Anglo-Saxon and Asian heritages. The hair on his head had turned into completely wild white tufts with a noticeable bald spot that made it resemble an abstracted crown upon his head. Not to be outdone, his beard was lengthy yet thin. . . the sort belonging to ancient fighting masters of martial arts films. Covering up most of his body was a somewhat raggedy looking white lab coat.

"He came to the US government five years ago with blueprints for what he called Lagerschwellezelle and asked for funding from the military's black budget to continue his research. Upon realizing the magnitude of the impact his work might have on not just the battlefield but the entire human race. . . all records of his research were quickly locked away."

A sigh came from the Colonel.

"Six months ago however, he was kidnapped and was not heard from since. Nothing had come of it until intelligence noticed that series of suspicious emails coming out of Kayersberg. The field intel gathered during Operation Balthazar proved our theory that it was HIS nanotechnology after detailed analysis."

For just a moment or two he looked over at Feist. He had been the only one out of the three who had entered the Kayersberg hospital to get out alive. The only one to encounter Legion in the flesh and survive. Some had wondered if the soldier would collapse from PTSD. Others speculated on how quickly he might recover from the injuries that had placed him near death. But psych evaluations from the medical staff had cleared him.

"In the wake of the Kayerberg incident, the French government had to decide between a cover-up or a rallying cry toward war. In the interests of staying on the road to peace it was covered up. Around the world, while still an undeniably tragic event, it is seen as nothing more than a viral outbreak. It was easy for them, since several of the villagers had already posted youtube footage of their sickly appearances before having later succumbed to the nanotoxicity. Even the napalm was explained away as the villagers nobly sacrificing themselves with suicidal arson in an attempt to keep the mystery virus from spreading. Many suspect a bio-terrorist attack however, which has lead toward a very public cautious government investigation. The entire town has been quarantined and locked down tighter than Chernobyl."

Pictures came onto the screen now of Kayersberg's current state as the Colonel spoke. Concrete walls topped with barbed wire had been erected around the entire village. A military presence normally reserved for martial law was present outside to keep any freaks or weirdos from getting inside. Only scorched buildings remained from the napalm that the Hellraiser Brigade had detonated. Eerily enough, the only building which appeared untouched by the napalm was the village church where so much that was sacred had been left so profoundly profaned.

"However, the French government has secretly informed other European governments that there is a terrorist group running loose. Therefore in response many major countries have deployed PMCs complete with medically staffed biohazard checkpoints to several of their larger cities. All of this is under the guise of establishing a quarantine zone around France to keep this 'mystery virus' from spreading. Public opinion is almost completely behind this development. Aside from the paranoid people who think everything is a government cover-up."

Now the slideshow was turned off and the room started to gradually brighten up.

"Luckily for all of them the Hellraiser Brigade, as they're calling themselves now, have decided NOT to publicly take credit for Kayersberg. More than likely they view their twisted experiment as both a success and a failure. From what our best men can estimate, their current goal is to create a version of the Sleeper Cells without the fatal nanotoxicity witnessed on BLOODHOUND's last mission. Doing so would make them the most dangerous terrorist group this world has ever witnessed. A group that can hold a person's own freewill hostage. No doubt they have been laying low for the past month to focus on perfecting the nanotechnology. We cannot allow them to succeed in this goal at any cost."






Stuttgart, Germany.

8 Hours Later.




Each member of BLOODHOUND found themselves not thousands of feet in the air, or a hundred feet underwater. Yet the newly reconstructed unit sped toward their next mission anyway at over a hundred miles an hour. Silver streaked across Although their ranks had been refilled, overfilled in the eyes of some, not everyone could see all of their fellow comrades. Due entirely to the fact that they had all been split up onto seperate trains for reasons yet to be disclosed. Obviously there was a plan at work. . . but one that remained unclear. Now all they could do was watch the German countryside whip by as the deep, authoritative voice of the unit's commanding officer filled their ears once again by means of codec.


"We've tracked the Hellraiser Brigade to a location less than 200 miles from Kayersberg. Intelligence believes they are currently based somewhere in the city of Stuttgart, Germany. "

stuttgart2.jpg

"Stuttgart is the sixth largest city in all of Germany. During your little visit. . . be aware of the fact that PMCs have been deployed at checkpoints in several cities, including Stuttgart. Since none of you technically exist, false IDs have been given to each of you that will get you through the checkpoints. Each of you will also find that you've been given a frequency spectrometer that will be explained after I get a few points across."

As the gleaming white train painted with a red stripe closed in on the station, everything started going dark around them. The train was going underground. With every passing moment the more observant members of BLOODHOUND might feel a light sense of unease pass through there bodies. Every so often a section of the tunnel look unfinished, akin to looking into someone's arm or leg with the skin torn away. Right now there were only a few workers present in this particular tunnel. Just one turned to look at the train's passengers before returning to his menial duties. For one of a sensitive disposition, it felt like passing through a damaged vein with the bloodstream tended to by little imaginary helpers. Apparently the tunnels were undergoing some sort of construction that had not quite finished all the way.

citytunnel_leipzig.20110426-08.jpg


"There will be innocent civilians around at all times. If you need to prevent someone from giving away your mission you are authorized only to use tranquilizer rounds and non-lethal CQC. Try to keep the collateral damage at zero and for God's sake don't let any of them get infected with the Sleeper Cells. We don't need another Kayersberg. Understand? Speaking of understanding things better, let me introduce you to a new member of your support team. His codename is Mockingbird. On this mission he will provide any information we gain on the backgrounds of those belonging to the Hellraiser Brigade."

"How's it going BLOODHOUND? Feist! Mountain man! You're still alive I see? Nice Going. Anyway everbody, I'm here to help lighten Lark's load just a bit by handling information on any potential enemies and their weapons. Especially the Hellraiser Brigade."

Only Mountain would recognize the rather energetic voice of a man no older than twenty-seven. Anyone with enough free time on their hands to look at his database photo would find that he was a young Japanese male with a j-rocker haircut in the front that turned into a cornrow hairstyle in the back. Everyone else in the unit would not understand their connection save for Feist himself. Just a teensy little blunder on the last mission had introduced the two purely by accident but now fate had reunited them for an entire mission.

"We aren't sure just how many members the Hellraiser Brigade boasts as of yet, but we do have a list of the known members. Kara Kriegrabe aka Malphas, ace pilot and master in the field of falconry. Amadeus Presley aka King Amdusias aka The King, a hacker with unparalled knowledge of sound manipulation. Legion, who we can tell is a brilliant strategist and suspected former elite french military. And finally the child known only as Beelzebub. Nothing is known of him other than he truly seems to be the Lord of the Flies. All of this is just the tip of the iceberg though guys and gals! If you need more information on a specific member of the Hellraiser Brigade at any time, good ol' Mockingbird will help you out on his little old codec frequency at 149.07! Oh and make sure that you put in the right frequency everybody!"

". . .Anyway, back to the mission. Photographs were taken in the city of a woman with a young child matching the descriptions of Malphas and Beelzebub. Moreover, there have been multiple instances of frequency disruption recorded within the past week exactly like those utilized by the King. The source of his signal was last triangulated to the central district of Stuttgart. We must stop the Hellraiser Brigade before they bring about the end of the world. If you fail this mission, BLOODHOUND will no longer be recognized as a unit. It will be disbanded. But it isn't just your last chance either."

It was then that a voice familiar to those who had survived the Kayersberg incident filled their ears.

"Hello again, BLOODHOUND."

For a moment or two a silence filled the air as wordless recognition took place between Lark and those she had managed to keep alive. Rumors had gone through certain departments that some of the higher-ups had tried forcing her to resign. Practically a conspiracy to turn her into the scapegoat for a mission that 'should have gone better'. Of course that rumor quickly found itself followed by the story of how she had single-handedly defended herself against all accusations of incompetence. Yelling things at higher-ups along the lines of 'SHOW ME THE HARD EVIDENCE OF MY INCOMPETENCE AND I WILL RESIGN RIGHT NOW. IT'S ALL RECORDED. HELP YOUR FUCKING SELF.' just to get her point across.

Lark was a career woman who could accept that her coworkers were going to die from time to time. Even if those in charge couldn't handle it. All they really wanted was a way to cover their own asses anyway. She had a feeling none of them cared about these men and women of BLOODHOUND other than as just assets to the military. Dogs of war let loose to hunt down those that betrayed the United States and it's secrets. Deep down that bird could just sense something wrong with the entire Sleeper Cell situation. If serious players like King Amdusias had gotten involved. . . things were not going to get better anytime soon.

"Insertion will come simply since there are so many of you infiltrating an urban non-combat zone. Sorry if you were expecting another HALO drop. Civilian train transports will drop groups of you off at Hauptbahnhof aka Stuttgart Central Station station to avoid suspicion. You will be meeting up with a contact code-named Wet Nurse on site. Wet Nurse has already entered Stuttgart on a separate cargo train with all of your essential personal equipment. Her frequency is 142.52 and if you forget I'll remind you if you ask me nicely. Call her on the codec if you want more information on the station you will be getting off at. She's also an prodigious expert on human anatomy and biofeedback who helped advance nanotech."

stuttgart21.jpg



"BLOODHOUND will search in three separate teams while disguised as civilians. Lucky Star, you're with Frostbite. Feist, you're with Black Vulture. Widow, you're with Eliah. As you all may have guessed already, you are already on the train with your search team member. All of you will link up at a 'sneak point' near the train yard where Wet Nurse will be located before beginning your search. Try to avoid drawing attention to yourselves."

Nearing the main platform, each of them would see not only a rather busy show of evening traffic but the PMCs in place. The checkpoints were not anything a civilian could laugh at. Heavily armed men stood at attention while men in high-level haz-mat suits stood ready with examining equipment. What would happen to someone who did not pass through cleanly? Images of secret little rooms where persons of interest were interrogated came to mind.

One had to wonder just how exactly their contact Wet Nurse had infiltrated Stuttgart with their equipment.

"All three teams will be scouting the Central district of Stuttgart for the location of the enemy base. Once the base has been located, infiltration is the main objective. Each of the three teams will handle this as it fits their specialties. But do not separate. This is how Legion managed to kill half of the unit last time. Past mistakes will be learned from. No lone wolf stuff, no matter how capable you think you are."

At that moment Colonel Crenna chimed in.

"Now is the chance for all of you to redeem the name of the BLOODHOUND unit. It is your mission to track down these terrorists and send them back to the hell their codenames are taken from."

A brief pause came before he spoke again.

"Operation Exorcist, now commencing."

 
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Lilith reclined fully into the thick leather chair, folding her hands over her abdomen as she leaned back, her eyes heavy-lidded and nearly shut. She gazed out languidly at her newest teammates through her thick lashes, chin tilted low against her chest in an almost predatory fashion as she half-heartedly listened to the prattling of their superiors. The Colonel sounded as serious as usual, his deep, dry voice as soothing as sandpaper steadily wearing away at her attention. After a few moments she shifted her weight to recline against one of the thick arms of the chair, folding her long legs as her gaze was brought to the projected images.

"…"

The last thing that Dr. Kurt Blutsenschweizenweizenweigerschnoodle needed was to be balancing on the finger of another man while he ran on the tips of grass blades. Dat beard. Dat look. Dat stereotype.

From the direction that the rest of their briefing went, it seemed that they still had a long way to go before they would even manage to scratch the surface of this entire ordeal. There were too many different factors, too many different directions it could go. Too many unknowns. One thing was certain though…

At least she, Feist and Eliah would have a whole new set of meat shields to distract everyone with. That was always a good thing.

Lilith smiled softly to herself.

+++++

After only a brief interlude, ol' Colonel Sandpaper-Whisperer was back at it again, nearly pushing her into a stupor when her focus was snapped back briefly by the sudden interruption of what sounded like a jittery chipmunk that claimed to be buddies with Feist.

Lilith couldn't help but glance upward at a mental picture of her recently-wounded teammate with a look of 'How the hell did THAT happen?' before turning her attention down to her hands. She wriggled and flexed her thin, rather talented fingers, admiring how the gold polish on her nails caught the light and complimented her skin tone.

Not too bad. Not too bad at all.

' You will be meeting up with a contact code-named Wet Nurse on site.'

Another smile quirked the woman's full lips. Wet Nurse. What a fitting codename as it seemed with a couple exceptions the rest of her team looked like they were young enough to still be on the tit.

"Operation Exorcist, now commencing."

Tilting her head to glance in the general direction of Eliah, Lilith breathed out a single soft word.

"Affirmative."
 
Of course they would administer a drug test, Frostbite thought snappishly. Luckily she hadn't been drinking recently but it made her wonder if the drug test was done for her own benefit. Or perhaps it was for some other reason... Her ignorance about the team made her mentally wince. She knew that the weight of the world rested on their shoulders but it hadn't clicked in her mind how secretive and inhuman the others seemed to be, and she thought she was the detached one. And the lengths they would go to get the job done - it made her head spin.

If I show mercy or shock, will I be branded as the weak one?


Her piercing blue eyes snapped to the forefront, focusing on the briefing at hand. She had no opinions on what the doctor did, this man of mixed descent. Actually that was about the only startling thing about this person. The research, the ambition, all of that was typical. But well, the appearance was very odd. She liked odd... Frostbite let the man's appearance settle in her memory. She also set aside her nervousness and misgivings. At another time she would drown such thoughts with Grey Goose. Or maybe Hennessy.

***
Mockingbird was an interesting fellow. He obviously struck her as the happy go lucky, almost hyper, surfer. And Lark well... There was definitely a somber tone in her voice. Then again she was in charge of the BLOODHOUNDS' previous mission and from all accounts, the mission wasn't successful. Remembering the reports from that mission made Frostbite's lips tighten. Why was she the one who was worried? Weren't there others?

"Operation Exorcist, now commencing."

Frostbite lifted her head from the glass pane of the train window. Normally she would've been wearing her flashly attire, but since they were ordered to blend in, Frostbite went with the usual white T-shirt and jeans. To not look so normal she wore a hoodie and black boots, that was somewhat fashionable was it not? She glanced next to her, seeing her partner Lucky Star. A feeling of doubt crossed her mind. Sure Lucky (Was she really lucky?) was only a year younger than her, but Frostbite couldn't take her seriously. It was so damn hard to with that young and cute face.

Putting up her hoodie, Frostbite gave her partner a little nudge as the doors opened. Without a word, she rose and maneuvered her way out, hands in her jeans.​
 
Luckily (unluckily?) Eliah was a rather worldly man. His monkey sphere barely extended beyond his fingers, perhaps barely encroaching on the digits in his bank account that slowly inched upwards with every day he lived.

A small smile flitted on and off his mouth the entire interview. Most of the consequences and implied doom of the world simply went over his head. Unwittingly, he had subscribed himself to a rather dangerous philosophy of existence, namely that he was alone in a reactionary universe. One might say that subconsciously, he acted as if what he observed was merely the reaction to his observation.

Anyways, he had never really thought about this at all. In fact, he did not really think about anything, and preferred (if ever paused to think about this) to simply live between meals and bullets. The practical upshot of all of this was that he paid as much attention to the Colonel as one would when accepting a quest in a video game: skip the story, check the objectives, and check the reward.

***********

Ah. So he was paired with her again. The escape a few weeks ago had been rather action packed, the adrenaline of the situation keeping his hands unnaturally steady as he patched Feist up (this was balanced by the rather violent tumbling of the vehicle as it drove off into the sunset - through many a stone wall).

The earpiece this time was a set of white ipod buds, the real 'tactical' earpiece inside his pocket. The attire for today was jeans and a tshirt, an olive green affair with a large yellow star in the middle, "GO!" written across in paint splatters. It had been a while since he had to wear plainclothes, and the shirt was a bit tight, pressing into his musculature and obstructing his movement. For the weather and inconspicuity, he had a black cotton jacket. No sunglasses as a habit; they dulled the reflection from sniper optics.

Eliah rolled a small shrug in response to Lilith, raising himself from the chair with a grunt as the train pulled into the station. After gathering a small bag of clothes and assorted belongings, he stood over his partner, slapping her roughly in the shoulder.

"Relax! We're here on vacation, you know? Forget about work!"

Behind his statement and smile was the implied accusation that the checkpoint soldiers would find her motions and attitude too disciplined for a civilian. He slipped one hand into his pocket, thumb hanging out, the other holding the duffel bag over his shoulder.
 
A bullet to the shoulderblade has a 60% chance of paralysing you. If it doesn't, you'll likely be in pain for the rest of your life. The latter was the fate bestowed on Feist. They had removed the fragments of his shoulderblade before they circulated to the spinal cord, but the nerve damage was irreversible. Mobility in his right arm was compromised, when lifting to the side or sinking the shoulder from a raised position, and there was a possibility of motor spasms. If he ever climbed again, he would need to learn a whole different technique. And ironically, it was precisely because he was a climber that Feist had possessed enough muscle to absorb the bullet strike. Together with Eliah's field dressing during evac, it had spared him from death and delivered him to the purgatory of a wounded life.

He had been preconditioned... prepared like a sacrificial lamb... for the torture that Legion inflicted on him. Life and Legion had conspired like brother-gods to cause the greatest damage. If he could have called anyone in BLOODHOUND a friend, it was Whitesnake, and in his own way he had looked out for Phoenix, his silent partner. The two men he was closest to had been ripped away, and he had been left with a wound that would ground and haunt him for the rest of his life.

He was a broken man. Broken by the Hellraiser Brigade. Just as Saadiya had broken him, when she put a bullet in his father's head. In Legion's manifold voices and manifold personalities, she had been there. Saadiya... the one who had betrayed his love. These two monsters danced together in his fevered dreams.

Only the Carmotid 40 kept him going. With excessive adrenaline production the pain could be held at bay. As long as he kept moving.

He had left Dirty Skunk behind, stepping out onto the platform as soon as the train stopped. He was in a brown overcoat, a thin film of sweat on his brow. His look was something between a hobo and a street worker, stubble on his face and his movements twitchy and rapid. But he kept upright and kept his eyes sharp. He was resolved to do this alone. Whoever Dirty Skunk was, he was young. Feist was not about to lead him to his death, as he had led Phoenix and Whitesnake.

He hoped the others would be delayed at the checkpoints. He hoped he would have to go on by himself. Just him, alone, in Stuttgart... alone with Legion, his circling demon, until the nightmare came to a close.

He fell in line with the flow of passengers that funnelled towards the checkpoint. Eliah and Lilith were moving parallel, on the other side of the crowd. He put his trembling hands in his pockets and tried to outpace them.

No one else would die here. He had taken all the damage he could.
 
Waiting for his partner to catch up with him at the train exit, Eliah spied Feist moving along the platform. He leaned against the doorway, tilting his head down to peer at him, as if he was looking over the top of a pair of fictitious sunglasses. He was lucky in the sense that if a bullet ever managed to hit him in the arm, the worst it could do was force him to visit the mechanic at HQ.

Although he was not much of a thinker, gears began to grind in his head. Two and two began to fall in place, making four, as he pieced together the events leading up to today.

"Lilith .. " he mumbled, not really to her in particular. How long had he been a part of BLOODHOUND? Not for long, really. In fact, he was pretty new as far as things were concerned, shuttled in only recently to replace someone else who had been blown up or something similar. It was strange, how quickly he had settled into the pace of the unit, enjoying drinks with them, talking over sweet nothings, watching the stars from the field as the bright flash of a sniper rifle went off next to him.

"I think Feist has problems."
 
Eliah seemed to misunderstand her verbal acknowledgement that the mission had started. Did he think that she, THE WIDOW did not know how to play the part assigned to her? Did he think her a spider that did not know how to weave a web? Preposterous.

A moment after they had stood and begun filing with everyone else out of the train, Lilith reached out, linking her arm in with Eliah's as if to not get seperated, stepping close to him, their hips nearly touching for a brief moment. It wasn't a tight hold that would obstruct either of them from disengaging quickly if there was trouble, but it was sufficient enough to look natural. There seemed to be a transformation that swept over the woman once she stepped out into the public, making her seem a bit younger. A bit more...alive.

With a natural grace, a smile swept over her face, one that actually carried over to her eyes.

"He wouldn't be the only one." the woman answered softly as she stood closely next to Eliah, as close as a good friend naturally would. She was quiet for a few moments as she gazed over at Feist briefly before looking down at the shiny black boots she wore.

The woman tapped the toe of one boot against the ground, then the other. They were simple black boots that rose to just below the knee, the dark denim of her tight jeans covering the rest of her lower half. As for the upper half, it was adorned with a loose flowing top patterned with a swirl of jewel tones. Just enough to distract from the slim, slightly odd shape that seemed to be strapped to her torso, though the unmistakable presence (and shape, when the breeze pressed the fabric against her skin) of chesticular womanly curves was sufficient distraction for the eyes. A few pieces of glittering golden jewelry rounded out the ensemble, drawing the path of the eye to various areas other than her face, making her a noticible presence but not one that would be particularly memorable. She carried a medium-sized bag with her tucked under her arm. The first guess of any outsider would that it was obviously jam packed with tampons and cellphones, as those are the only items that girls carry. Ever.

"...but I think you are correct."
 
"O .. oi!" Eliah hissed as they descended the platform. "Watcha doing?" It was the easiest for him to slip back into slang, the kind of language that he slung around him when he was still shooting the shit with his mercenary colleagues. Well, they were shooting the shit indeed. Six feet under. He at least had the good graciousness to act embarrassed at the proximity of their bodies.

His mind wandered at the casual exchange. It had caught him off guard, his ingrained reflexes momentarily suspended, the background, subconscious alertness dialed down. He felt naked without it, without the reassurance of previously taken so granted. Actively suppressing it was hard. Normally, a suspicious noise behind him would have earned a shot snapped over his shoulder in response, his eyes never even leaving the book he was reading mostly as a way to get drowsy.

His mind began to walk down a dangerous route. What were they like before this? Was there even a time ... ? Bits of colour, maybe a children's laugh, maybe not. Before his psyche had a chance to implode, fail safe routines shut it down.

"142.52, this is lucky 77.7."

"We're off the train, and I'm pretty hungry. Can you recommend a restaurant?" He absentmindedly pulled Lilith a little bit closer.
 










[DASH=white]
From what she'd heard, her partner possessed a sixth sense, an esp-like ability. Star wasn't so sure how to interpret that, but let the thought amuse her. She'd like to see how it worked, Frostbite's 'insight'. In a way, she realized, both of them were 'lucky'. The thought brought a silly smile to her face as they sat in the train. She leaned back in the seat, feeling the vibration of the train as it moved. Looking out the windows was making her feel sick. The train station wasn't even complete and the labor force was so small. She didn't understand how they were even using the trains when the tracks weren't fully constructed.

Lucky's thoughts froze abruptly as Frostbite looked over at her. She didn't dare look back at the blonde, instead, looking over to the window across from them. She could see their reflections in the glass. A pale haired woman in jeans and a t-shirt, and a dark-haired girl in a striped black and white shirt, blue skirt, leggings and sneakers. She'd tied her hair in a side braid and kept an earbud in one of her ears, the wire leading to her pocket. It wasn't really connected to anything, but Lucky knew people would automatically assume she was listening to music if she kept it that way. She was used to playing the casual student undercover. Of course, she didn't expect her fellow BLOODHOUND members to know anything about her crazy high school life.

Frostbite wasn't much of a talker. She prodded Lucky and moved off the train and Lucky followed quickly, swinging a small backpack from the train seat onto one shoulder and following her. They were headed to the checkpoint, right?

Wet Nurse. What a strange name. Well so is Frostbite. I wonder if her personality is cold?

[/DASH]​


 
It was hard to explain why Frostbite never experienced much paranormal activity at a busy place. She assumed it was because there was so much living activity that the ghosts and spirits of the dead could never manifest themselves. There were exceptions though. Looking about her surroundings, the blonde was reminded of an encounter with a six year old ghost. At first Frostbite thought the ghost was a real figure, but when she tried to take the girl to her family, Frostbite's hand passed through air. The girl had wandered away from her family, fallen onto the tracks and was immediately run over by a train. Her spirit never moved on...

It didn't feel like that was going to happen today. At least Frostbite hoped so.

Frostbite could feel Lucky walking behind her. She herself kept walking at a normal pace, hands in her jean pockets and head up. Ear bubs were in her ears, disguised as the wire for her codec. Looking ahead, Frostbite could clearly make out the backs of Lillith and Eliah. Up ahead she could see Redwire as well. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Feist hidden in the crowd. Her ears caught the brief dialogue between Lillith and Eliah. She wondered how the hell could they see him when Feist was suppose to be behind them...

Pausing in her steps, Frostbite's eyes darted forward, making out Feist's figure as he filed into the checkpoint. Fighting back the panic in her eyes, Frostbite's gaze moved back to where she first thought she saw Feist. The figure was gone.

She dropped a piece of paper inconspicuously onto the floor - it was the ripped tag in her hoodie's pocket. "Whoops, hang on." Frostbite bent over to pick it up and pocketed it. "Mmmkay good to go." It was as good of an excuse she could make for stopping so suddenly.

This is not a good time to be seeing things...