The Lost Cog (Nivansrywyllian, Ravenwoodwitch)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Nivansrywyllian, Jun 10, 2014.

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  1. Flitz sat beside the window, overlooking the courtyard of the Lost Cog's base of operations. He was dressed in jean overalls today, and he'd foregone his toolbelt -for once- for the ease of the pockets on his person. He wore a grease-stained undershirt, a pair of leather gloves missing the index, and thumb fingers on each, and heavy work-boots, unlaced.

    When he'd first arrived, he'd been surprised to find that a man like Mr. Bowler would have set up his investigative service in the Copper Quarter, but he had quickly grown to consider this sprawling compound that had once been wall-to-wall shopfronts, home.

    He looked up from the door-popper he was working on. He caught sight of the team returning from a mission, and they looked like they'd had a time of it. Bounding up from his seat -and setting the half-constructed door-popper down reverently- he picked his way through the clutter that filled his personal quarters. By the time he hit his doorway, he was racing down the rickety stairwell at the back of the building to the shopfront that now served as the main-entrance.

    He vaulted the counter separating the stairwell from the shop proper, and skidded to a stop in front of the tall eastern fellow. "Masahiro!" Called the tinker, taking the stylishly-tailored fellow by the arm. "You've got to tell me how it worked. Did you get a chance to use it?"

    Masahiro, who -for his part- had become fast friends with the tinker, pushed back the sleeve of his shirt to expose the contraption he'd been given. In his left hand was a handle, and it wrapped around his knuckles. Wires connected it to a sleek sheathe, and a pneumatic blade hidden atop his wrist, meant to pop out in response to a strike with the control surface.

    "It worked like a charm, tinker. Sleeker than the last one. It'll take some getting used to, but-"

    The PA system that had been wired throughout the building cut in on the post-mission technology rundown. Mr. Bowler's voice came over the speakers. "Welcome home, team. I'm afraid I can't afford to let you rest today, we've got a special case. I want you all here. That means you too, miss Metzger, if you'd be so kind to attend."

    As ever, Mr. Bowler's voice was upbeat, and notes of merriment laced his tone.

    Masahiro, who was almost a match for Mr. Bowler's moods, grinned.
    "You heard the bossman. Let's go!"

    And so up the stairs raced the easterner. Flitz was hot on his heels.

    Keeva, who was with the returning teem, crossed her arms over her chest, and shook her head ruefully.
  2. Another red-head chuckled, dropping her hood on her slim shoulders. "Can't live with them, can't get them out of bed."

    So spoke the resident 'thief' of the Lost Cogs, the one who loved to refer to herself as the team's professional Ninja. Small and spindly, she'd spent most of this last mission in the shadows, doing what she could behind thee scenes to help the mothers; which mostly involve locks, picks and other stuff.

    Upon hearing Mr. Bowler call everyone for a meeting, her head snapped up. Being fiercely loyal to the secret boss of this shadow-cult, she quickly paced her way into the conference room. Upon hearing the last bit of information, her ears perked up.

    Mina may show up? she thought. Wonder if he can drag the poor gal away from...well...

    Speaking of said woman, a pair of dark eyes turned away from the monitor in her office, forever gazing upon the one thing she refused to loose in this world. Hand perched on the glass, she slowly turned back to it's flickering image.

    ".....I'll be right back, love," she whispered, standing up.

    Bolletta, meanwhile, managed to perch herself on a chair beside her better-suited Companion, Mashario. "So, bets on what the gig is this time? My vote's on some unnatural suicide."
  3. Flitz and Masahiro got to the top of the stairs at the same time, and were neck-and-neck down the hallway, but the easterner laid his hand to the doorknob first and let out a victorious whoop. Entering at the front of the gang of sleuths, he flopped himself down in one of the numerous, and stylish -yet comfortable- armchairs arrayed in Mr. Bowler's office.

    The rest of the office looked as if it had been converted from the original copper-quarter decor, to a functionally wealthy display. Mr. Bowler wasn't the sort of man to waste space or money, but he also wasn't the sort of man to let people forget the power he wielded. The rotund man himself was seated in a high-backed armchair that had been built especially for his particular girth. Presently, he was paging through a file laid before him, chortling softly to himself all the while.

    Flitz sat down in the chair on the opposite side of Bolletta from Masahiro. Bowler would address them when he was ready, they knew.

    As the rest of the team filed in, Masahiro leaned to confer quietly with their resident ninja. "I'd put money down that he's finally found a lead on that mess we pulled Flitz out of last year. What about you?" He asked, thrusting his chin towards the tinker.

    Flitz arched an inquisitive brow.
    "Me? I'm no detective. How should I know?"

    Masahiro rolled his eyes in mock-exasperation. He nudged the thief with an elbow. "I don't think Tinker gets the game of it. See Flitz, we-"

    Keeva Flynne cleared her throat pointedly, and swatted the animated knuckleduster lightly with the back of her palm. Mr. Bowler had set down the file, and was staring at his team, his eyes twinkling merrily. He looked like he was trying hard -and failing- to hold back an amused smile at their antics.

    "Ladies, -gentlemen-" Began the corpulent man in the immaculately tailored suit. "As you all know, I have worked long and hard to keep us up to our elbows in work. Good work. Work that needs doing. But thus far, I have tried to keep us from dabbling into the realms of the occult. We are men and women of science, not fantasy." He paused, unable to keep a broad grin from sweeping over his flushing face. "But now, I must introduce to you our latest of clients. Miss Haverstead, are you in attendance?"
  4. Bo blinked, and let her covered eyes wonder the room. There was no other soul beside them in the room, as far as she could tell. Kee and Axibelle were here, scowling about the room as they normally dd. Mina was sitting in one of the large arm chairs, staring blankly and uninterested at the table.. That just left her, Nezzy and Masahiro in their normal perches.

    "There's no one else here," she said.

    "...I'm sorry...I get so shy..."

    Everyone in the room reacted at once. Bo flinched, hand flying to the dagger at her belt before another hand stopped her. From the ceiling, a grey faded mist leaked out from the ceiling. It slowly dropped down like a leak, before landing soundlessly on the floor. Mina, arguably the biggest girl of science in the room, felt her eyes widen and her fingers clutch tightly at the chair.

    "What is that?!"

    "?!" The mist slowly formed into a figure, the figure of a woman. Dressed in a ripped chemise, torn down the front, she was a gangly thing with wispy blond hair, and several freckles. "I, uh...h-hello..."

    Boletta, more intrigued than shocked, leaned forward, letting her hand pass through. "Wow..."
  5. Flitz -for his part- gave a start when the specter descended from the ceiling. Also, the noise he made was not the most masculine. Blushing at his own surprise, he glanced sheepishly at the thief beside him. Clearing his throat, he straightened his back, and clenched his jaw. Mr. Bowler spoke on.

    "This, is our client. Miss Haverstead comes to us from beyond the grave, because she, -like us all- cannot rest without seeing justice done. Miss Haverstead, this is my team. I pray you'll forgive their surprise. They are good men and women all, and they will bring your murderer to justice. Would you kindly fill them in on what you may recall of your untimely demise?"

    Masahiro had gotten over his own shock, and was now leaning back on two legs of his chair, and grinning at the blushing Flitz behind Bo's back. "Did you just... Squeak, Tinker?" He murmured, under his breath.

    Mollified, Flitz didn't dare look at the easterner.
    "You gave a start too," He said defensively.

    "But I did not squeak." Teased the fighter.

    Keeva strolled up behind Bo's chair, and laid one hand on the shoulder of each of the men siding her. The directive was clear.
  6. Mina continued to look tense, in fact she looked positively pale. The pit of her stomach continued to tighten, and she would have given anything in that moment to be anywhere but there. She pursed her lips together, her whole body refusing to loosen up.

    Miss Haverstead, meanwhile, nodded shyly, and looked down on the floor. It was a typical trait of the lown-born, as Bo remembered, and one the ninja specifically didn't like. But she held her tongue while the ghost mustered up the courage to speak.

    "I was gathering water for the wash," she said. "And I saw something strange behind some curtains hanging on a line. I moved to go and see what it was, foolish as was, and I saw a man in a copper-colored coat and top-hat lighting a cigarette. I thought nothing of it, but he...he smiled at me real nice and...asked if I would help him with his mama. I couldn't look away and say no, I...I don't know why..."

    "Naivety and young-ness?" Bo offered in a whisper, quickly silenced by a glare from the resident doctor.

    "Next thing I knew, I was lead into this house I didn't recognize. Then all I remember is this awful smell on this piece of clothe, and then...t-then-" she broke into sobs, sinking down to her knees. "I saw them do horrible things to my body! They were cutting it up in the devil's ritual!!"
  7. Flitz frowned, uncomfortable with the tale that the spirit spun. Moreso under the directing hand of the team-leader. He resolved himself not to squirm however. When the young woman finished her retelling of the events that lead up to her death, Bowler continued.

    "I want you to go to the scene of the crime. It appears that the trial of miss Haverstead's killer never came to fruition, as it got swept under the rug by the local law. As you know, we follow justice where it leads, even if it leads us all the way to the Diamond Quarter. Honestly, I don't think it goes that high, but I could be wrong. The scene of the crime was in the Copper Quarter. Keeva will brief you on the way."

    Bowler glanced down to a file on his desk, flipping it open. He read off the names of the agents he was sending.

    "Keeva, Masahiro, you'll be backing one another for this mission. Boletta, I don't want anybody going alone on this one. You'll take Ebenezar with you. Wilhamina, I'd like you to stay here, and study miss Haverstead, if you wouldn't mind. Your particular expertise on the nature of human life may prove invaluable. Axibelle, you're to escort Wilhamina, should she need to leave the building."
    Despite his smile, a not of solemnity entered his voice. "Remember, no-one travels alone on this one." Mr. Bowler was rather known for his instincts. That he warned the team twice was a measure of his concern.

    Masahiro was the first up from the chairs, and he tossed a casual salute at the rotund man behind the desk. "As you say, Jolly Man." He said, winking at his employer.

    Wordlessly, Mr. Bowler offered the file he'd been referring to, to Keeva. She took it from him, looking troubled. "As I recall," Said the round man, before she could speak. "You and Masahiro are disinclined to go clambering across rooftops. I will not restrict our thief to the streets, if I have another option."

    Keeva colored, and nodded. "Yes sir."

    "As for you, miss Haverstead, you are welcome to make yourself as at-home in our humble abode as you may. I regret that I don't precisely know how to make a spirit comfortable, but you have our word that we will bring you closure. If you ever get uncomfortable with Wilhamina's tests, please let her know. She will stop." That was a message for the doctor, as much as it was for the spirit.
  8. Mina's eyes met Mr.Bowler's, having gone as white as a sheet. But she nodded anyway and slowly stood up from the chair. "Right this way."

    Miss Haverstead nodded, and gently floated behind the doctor. Bo watched her leave up until the last second, utterly fascinated by the specter. The innocence and ease at which the girl moved reminded her of someone important, enough to make her eyes sad behind her mask. Letting go of the ghost seemed more difficult than it should have been.

    But, as Mina disappeared, she remembered there was work to be done. She waved to the eastern-man as he left, and turned back to her partner.

    "Well, Nezzy," she smirked. "Don't suppose you're used to gallivanting on Garters and eves. What's the plan?"
  9. Ebenezar too, sat transfixed by the ghost until she left with Wilhamina. He rose, not wanting to be the last one left in Mr. Bowler's office. The man was always willing to take time for his team, but there was always a sense that his time was precious. "I uh... I've actually got a bit of experience running the rooftops. It was the easiest place to get away from people, to testmy inventions." He glanced at the retreating back of Axibelle, as she followed Wilhamina and the specter out. "Keeva's got the file. We should catch up, and see where the scene is, at least. Right?"

    Suiting his words with action, the Tinker rose to catch up with the two thumpers, who appeared to be looking over the file together as they walked. Keeva was speaking, and Masahiro -for once- was listening intently.

    "It looks like the scene is located in one of the condemned houses on Stentor street. There's a door in front with a metal core, so bring one of Flitz's new Poppers, just in case. A second, back door leads into a dead-end alley, up against one of the refineries. Roof access is unknown." She paused, sniffing derisively. "The local leos are too lazy to scramble the rooftops."

    She glanced back, to see if the other two had joined her.
  10. Bo blinked in surprised, before grinning impishly. "Sounds great," she said. "I like it when I don't have to slow down."

    She vaulted off the chair, and followed behind the others. The more she listened, the longer her grin stretched.

    "I do love a challenge," she grinned. "And oh, how I adore uncharted territory."

    As their austere assistant spoke, Bollette recalled that stretch of woeful cobblestone and brick. Stentor street was a myriad of empty houses, if she remembered right. That meant hanging eves, broke pipes, and plenty of other things help keep out of sight. Her mind began to form a way up onto the roof, and hopefully out of sight.

    "I'll handle the top," she said. "I'll see if I can find anything out of the ordinary."
  11. Keeva dipped her chin in a brief nod. "We'll wait for you to get into position with Flitz. Masahiro will take the front door, and I'll take the back. We'll breech at the same time, and clear the house while you two keep an eye out. Flitz will send a signal, if anybody flees the scene, and we'll run them down for questioning. Let's not leave any bodies if we can help it. Bowler wants to speak with the criminal firsthand. As he's paying this contract out of his own pocket, I'm inclined to give the man what he wants." Of course, Keeva would have done the same, even if the Jolly Man weren't paying her wage. Most of the Cogs were fiercely loyal.

    "We don't want to spook anybody still on the scene, so Masahiro and I are each going to take our time moving to the scene. I'll expect you two to be in position in two hours, and not a minute later. Feel free to arrive earlier, if you can do it unseen. You head out first, Hiro. I'll be out in fifteen behind you."

    Masahiro grinned, and winked at the stern woman. He tromped down the stairs, his heavy boots making a clatter to rouse the dead. There was a reason that he was the muscle, and not the thief.

    Keeva peeled off from the group to enter her own office-turned-bedroom, leaving the two roof-runners in the hall.
    "I guess I'll grab my belt, and I'll be ready. Do you have everything you need, miss Boletta?"
  12. "Right oh, Ke-Ke," Bolette winked. "Don't be late to the party."

    That left her and the tinker, the man with the big wrench and the outrageous imagination. As someone who was more akin to taking machines apart, she was fascinated by Ebenezer's talent. Now, with the promises of him being able to keep up with her high-enegery, she was even more curious.

    "Just something to eat," she said, rubbing her belly. "I'll grab a quick bite and meet you here in five."

    Bo was suddenly very grateful for her vegetarian diet. She cocked her head to the side, smile stretching again. "You've peeked my interest, you know," she said. "Not many people on this team can keep the same level as me."
  13. Ebenezar dipped his head in an affirmative nod, and he was about to turn off towards his room when the girl continued. His eyebrows hiked up inquisitively. "Well, I hope I won't hold you back." He said, the corner of his mouth hiking up in a half-smile. "I was half-wondering if I'd ever get called on for field work. I must admit that I though Bowler would put me with one of the thumpers to keep me safe. As it is, I'm glad that my first field-mission is on the rooftops." He cleared his throat. He seldom spoke as much as he did, and it was an indicator of his excitement for the mission.

    "I'll see you in five."


    Flitz busied himself with gathering all the gadgets, gizmos, and equipment he thought he'd need out in the field. On went a rigging harness, with a mechanized pulley, and hook at his waist. A pouch full of the little, copper balls hung at his left hip, and what appeared to be a leather glove, armored and modernized with who-knew-what wrapped his left arm from knuckles to shoulder. Strawberry blond hair was being restrained by his fitted goggles, and his trusty toolbelt hung slanted across his hips, with yet more tools and toys. It appeared to be acting as a counterbalance to the pouch on the left.

    When he stepped out into the hall to find his partner, five minutes later, he looked like nothing so much as the deep-caves adventurers he'd read so much about when he was a boy.
  14. She was finally in her element. The upper-world of the city was a glorious place, filled with clouds of steam, cracked roof-tiles and no light save for the big Luna. Here, Bolette no longer felt like the gangly orphan, but like the queen of the whole city. She could get anywhere, get at anything, and no one would be the wiser for it. This, truly, was what it mean to be wealthy.

    But now was not the time to let her greed get the better of her. Instead, she clung to the roof of the ram-shackle church, surveying the collection of broken houses ahead of her. Her target was a few hopes and skips away, and there was a small, broken window in the attic that would be the perfect way in.

    She turned her head to check on her partner. "You doing okay back there?"
  15. Ebenezar -although not as graceful as Boletta, who slid so easily from rooftop to rooftop- kept up passably well. He didn't even send any shingles careening off the edges of the rooftops. Hanging from the eaves of the church's roof, he swung first one leg, and then the other, up over the edge. When he gained purchase on the roof, he rose into a comfortable crouch. He kept up well, but stealth was not his nature.

    He'd pulled his goggles down over his eyes before they'd started ghosting over the rooftops, and it hadn't taken long for his face to get smudged with grime, and his hands, and shirt to blacken with soot. It was nearly a natural camouflage for the city's rooftops. He flashed Boletta a confidant grin, and a thumbs up.

    "Good to go, miss Boletta. There's Masahiro." He nodded towards a tall, distinctively-haired figure traipsing gaily down an alley nearby. The tall easterner had taken up a cane somewhere between the Agency, and the street of their approach.

    The red-headed team-leader must have been doing a better job of hiding herself than the distinctive Masahiro, as Flitz couldn't pick her out. "D'you suppose we're going to see action?"
  16. "I couldn't say," Bo answered, tugging her hood farther down her head. "I try to avoid it,, if I can. These limbs weren't exactly made for punching, if you catch my drift."

    She crouched on the roof, moving as silently and stealthy as a cat on a tree limb. Than, she began moving again, going one or two more roofs before finding that broken window. She curled up and slid tiny body inside. Moments later, she clicked open a hatch near by, and gestured for her partner to follow.

    That done, she finally turned her gaze inward. The place was as old and crappy as her boss had mentioned. The wood beneath her feet felt just barely like it could hold her weight, with various beams and supports having long since past their date to expire. The floorboards were rotten, and various left-overs of some kind of residence were scattered around; stray kitchen pots, roach-filled blankets and even a left-over skin-wand for mending wrinkles.

    Someone had a fancy trinket, Bolette thought, than slowly began to try and climb down.
  17. Ebenezar studied the profile of his partner quietly, and rolled a shoulder in a shrug. His brows rose as she eased through a broken windowpane, only to undo the latch from the other side to allow him access. He wasn't a bulky fellow, but he doubted that he had the sort of agility to pull something like that off. Quietly, the tinker moved across the rooftop. Into the window he moved. When his heavy boots landed on the rotten flooring, it creaked noisily, and he grimaced.

    Letting out a quiet breath, he began to follow Boletta. He held his breath as he moved, the wood beneath him giving an inch or two with each step. He began to doubt the stability of the wood of the second floor. Suddenly, there was a groan, and then a crack, and the tinker pitched through a hole that had broken through the second floor. Anybody that hadn't been aware of the team, was undoubtedly notified by the clatter.

    The sound of Masahiro's voice drifted up from the first floor, and another crash. He'd kicked the door in. A third crash marked Keeva's entry.

    For his part, Flitz was in a daze, and trying to gain his bearings. He ached, but nothing felt broken. His head spun in a way that suggested he'd clipped it on the way down, but he wasn't nauseous. Counting his blessings, he took in his surroundings.

    By some minor miracle, he had landed -along with a pile of rotten wood- in an ancient, and musty bed. Not thinking about the sundry stains coating the matress, he swung his legs out over the side, and got to his feet. The carpet beneath his boots squished wetly, and the Tinker's face went pale. There was blood everywhere. Candles too, and a body. The body appeared to be that of a woman, who's ribcage had been pulled apart. The organs that had been within were missing, as were the eyes. If the dried blood that trailed from the mouth was any evidence, the tongue too would be absent.

    Flitz was quickly becoming sick. Turning away from the mutilated corpse, the tinker emptied his stomach at the foot of the bed.
  18. Bolletta hissed through her teeth, backing off. That's just messed up...

    Scene clean up and detecting was more her partners thing, so Bolletta decided to make sure the scene was clear. So, after giving Flitz a pat on the back, she indicated she was going back up into the rafters, and shimmied her way up.

    "Stay there," she mouthed, and seemed to scuttle off.
  19. Masahiro was the first to make it to the sickened tinker, his usually merry expression absent. With a glance, he took in the situation. Grimly, he strode across the carnage, to the tinker, to rest a comforting hand on the man's shoulder. "Some first fieldwork, Tinker. Come this way. There's a machine I saw on the way in, and you'll have to figure it's use." The tall easterner swept the smaller man towards the door, blocking as much of the scene from Flitz with his body as he could.

    Keeva met them at the doorway to the bedroom, batons in hand. Masahiro canted his head backwards to indicate the scene of the crime. She strode in without so much as batting an eyelash at the grisly scene.

    Masahiro and Ebenezar moved carefully through the rest of the first floor of the building, to an unidentified machine near the rear-entrance that had been splintered in by the fighter's boot. "What's it do, Flitz?" Asked the tall man.

    The machine was big. It took up nearly a third of the room, and was a flurry tubes, pumps, and vials of liquid. "I... I don't know." Admitted the tinker. "It looks medical, or alchemical." The tinker swallowed, ghosts of the gory bedroom dancing through his mind's eye. "I... I'll study this. You help Keeva with... With..."
  20. Luckily, there didn't seem to be any more faces nearby. That being said, Bo found herself unwilling to go back to the grisly scene. But loyalty would always outweigh discomfort, so the thief slowly dragged herself back. She fell back onto the floor, and made an attempt to avert her eyes.

    "No one's coming," she said. "And I don't see much to indicate a sneaky exit; they came in and out through the front door."

    Oh god, the smell... she thought. She walked around the body, an followed behind Mashiro and Flitz.

    "I know a bit about mechanical stuffs," she smirked. "I'll help out here."
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