GTA Gone Bad

Summary:
December 12, 2014: Mack's tattoo reveals its purpose, as Constantine and Hawkeye II investigate a strange occurrence.

Abandoned Ephrates Shipping Warehouse

Somewhere in Bryanttown - Gotham


Characters

NPCs

  • Gus and his auto-theft ring

Mood Music:
None


Mack Linden has been dealing with some unpleasantness. First, there was her tattoo, which took on a life of its own and decide to expand itself all over her back. Then there was seeing a ghost, the spectre of her dead grandfather, on her boat. After that little episode, she checked herself into a cheery little "wellness clinic" in Gotham for a few days. Since then, all has been quiet for the fishing boat captain. That is, until tonight.

Rufus whines at Mack as they go on their nightly walk in a small patch of grass near the Gotham docks. Something is itching between her shoulder blades. She feels this strange urge to head into the city, towards Otisburg, but she shrugs it off. Then the urge intensifies and she finds her feet heading in that direction. She forces herself to stop, and then uses Rufus' leash to tie the both of them to a park bench when it becomes overwhelming. That's the last thing she remembers before the black out.

Mack wakes up, or snaps out of it, standing just inside of an abandoned warehouse in Bryanttown, wearing her pajamas (they have little sheep on them), snow boots, peacoat, and scarf. Rufus is with her, whining unhappily and shivering where he stands on the end of his leash, trying to keep her from going inside. There is something happening there, something that isn't right. If she could see her back, she'd notice one of the dotted lines and one of the coordinates has darkened, like burnt parchment.

From deeper in the warehouse comes chanting, as a group of ne'er do wells does their dark work trying to summon something they really should not.

Constantine is a block or so away, and looking like he's about to throw his phone into the bay. "Come on, goddamnit. Why the hell isn't the GPS working?" he grouses, under his breath. He consults the map application and looks around his area, then jams the phone into a pocket and pulls out a folding paper map of the docks. From his pocket he produces a small flashlight and aims the beam around until he finds something resembling a street sign, squinting at it and trying to figure out what cross-street he's near.

Out of habit, Constantine checks his phone again, looking at the text message he'd sent out to the contact labelled 'Hawkeye' a while ago. "Is her phone off, or is she just one of those people who doesn't bother to respond to texts?" Constantine wonders aloud in a dour tone of voice. He looks both ways down the dimly lit lane, and spotting Mack in the distance, squints, trying to identify the vaguely familiar fisherwoman.

"Not when it would take more time to respond than it would to show up." Kate stops down from a fire escape just as Constantine asks his question, brushing her hands off on her pants. There's something different about her tonight, her usual cheer dampened to something a little more grim. "I've been meaning to talk to you, actually. About a thing. It might not be a thing. Honestly, it's probably a magic thing, so it's either you or Fenris, and you're both sort of hard to get ahold of by conventional means."

Mack can't stop her feet, confused as she is by her sudden appearance far distant from where she started the night. She can also feel the pulsing, suppurating energy that is bound into the summoning chant. She lets go of Rufus' leash, not wanting to bring the dog into harm with her, and finds herself drawn forward, to witness? Or to stop the chanting? She steps fully inside, a place she surely does not belong.

In the center of what used to be the main storage area of the warehouse, a circle of six humans wearing hooded cloaks are chanting, each holding dark-hued, lit candles. On the ground in chalk is drawn a summoning circle, with offerings at various points.

"Duke Valefor, we call upon thee, to serve as our familiar and bind our circle of thieves one to another. Come to us, Duke of Hell, and weave together our loyalties, so that none may betray among us." The chant is repeated over and over again, a call to one of the denizens of Hell, the one who governs over relations among thieves.

"The problem with being easy to get a hold of is that people call you when you're on the loo every time they think there's a bit of magic afoot. It's the same reason doctors don't give out their home phone numbers to patients," Constantine tells Kate. It's… not at all an apology or an excuse, actually. "But put a pin in that for a minute. A friend tipped me off to something dark happening here in the old Ephrates Shipping warehouse, but the maps are off. I'm trying to find it-"

And at that moment, Mack abandons her dog and heads into the warehouse, prompting Constantine to take a few steps in that direction. "And if you can't find it, sometimes just looking for the out of place is as good a tactic as any. Let's do this like the mill job," Constantine tells Kate, reaching into his pocket and checking to see that his Browning 9mm is loaded and ready to shoot. "Take the high road and I'll go stick my foot in the blood hornet's nest, see what stirs up. I've got a feeling something dark is happening in there, and my gut is not often wrong about that sort of thing." With that, he starts walking towards the warehouse, though he sticks to the shadows and moves from cover to cover with an easy sort of stealth that's more about good timing and efficiency than any John Woo style moves.

"Seriously, where do these people get the idea that this should work?" Kate mutters with a shake of her head as she heads back for the fire escape, starting to climb back up. "I mean, it's not like they were usually church-going, praying souls in the first place." Any further musings are too soft to hear, though, as she slips through a window near the rafters, moving along the beams to get a glimpse at the ritual below.

"We offer you the blood of an innocent, a desecrated symbol of God, and the feathers of a dove," the lead summoner calls out. There is a vial of blood, a broken cross, and a pile of feathers in the circle. The energy begins to rise and the lines of the chalk circle begin to smoke slightly, as if they are being seared from beneath. The acrid smell of sulfur drifts on the air. The temperature in the warehouse seems to rise.

Mack steps closer and her hand finds a brick on the ground. She hefts it to test the weight, then calls out, "What in the hell are you weirdos doing?"

The answer is ignoring her, apparently, as the chant resumes and the offerings shimmer, and begin to melt into the circle, being accepted. There is a gateway about to open, and something is waiting on the other side.

John moves cautiously and warily for a few dozen yards, and then the familiar sensation of dark magic washes over him, a miasma of energy that those attuned to it can sense as strongly as the fetid stink of rotten eggs. To those who are less magically attuned to the supernatural, it manifests as a sensation of grimy discomfort and the feeling of darkling eyes suddenly watching, though no one is in sight. Abandoning stealth, Constantine rushes forward, gun emerging in his hand. He walks into the warehouse with a hard set to his jaw, then comes up short when he spots Mack brandishing a brick at the summoners.

"Bloody hell! Get out of here, woman!" Constantine yells at Mack, momentarily forgetting her name. The pistol comes up and he starts shooting at the back of the man nearest to his position, without so much as giving them a chance to surrender. Apparently for Constantine, prudence trumps any sense of chivalry.

Kate's rudimentary research suggests that all these symbols and things are important. Which means if they're going to stop…whatever this is, and she doesn't necessarily want to kill anyone, then the symbols are a good place to start. She creeps along a girder, finding a spot behind a ceiling support, then fires one of the riot foam arrows at the circle. When the pile hits the floor, foam spills out all over the place, rapidly expanding wherever it hits.

The heat has Mack shrugging out of her coat and scarf, sweat plastering her short hair to her forehead and face. Her flannel PJs are powder blue, with white and black cartoon sheep all over them. Adorable…if you're 12. Regardless, the tattoo burns on her back, the single line leading to this location, the Compass Rose directing her to the circle. This has to be stopped. This is bad. DO SOMETHING.

"Fuck it." The salty ship captain throws the brick at the lead summoner's head, then rushes at one of the candle-holding chanters and flying tackles them, sending both of them to the ground, and the candle across the floor. There is a silvery flash in the dimness as the thief-cum-acolyte draws out a blade and slashes it at his assailant. The tussle begins. "Chauncey?" Mack calls back at the familiar voice, just before getting socked in the jaw by a fist wrapped around the knife hilt. That's gonna leave a mark, and also piss her off. Good thing grandpa taught her to fight dirty.

Meanwhile, back in the summoning circle, a low growl, that of something inhuman, leonine, and angry, erupts from somewhere below. The brick thumps the summoner in the shoulder, not doing any real harm, but snapping him out of his chant. "INTERLOPERS! Kill them before they ruin the ritual!"

John's shots slam into the chanter nearest him, sending the man shrieking bloodily to the ground. He falls across the chalk of the circle, breaking the line, meaning if something does come through, it will not be contained. The circle has to be mended. At least Kate's arrow foams up the portal, buying them time and keeping whatever is on the other side from passing through immediately.

Constantine drops to a knee behind a girder and peeks out, cracking off a few more shots at the other summoners. He fumbles in his pocket for another magazine and slaps it into his gun, racking the slide, and shoots some more, trying to drive them off before they can regain control of the ritual, even disrupted as it is. "Hawkeye! Take them down, I don't want any of them getting a leash on whatever it is they're dragging up from the Pit!" he shouts, watching the riot arrow disrupt the summoning circle's effects.

Constantine runs out from behind cover and with a brutally efficient motion, kicks the man trying to stab Mack right in the jaw. "Quick, get up and get out of here!" Constantine snaps at Mack. "You don't want to be here if something manages to push through!" Constantine dips a hand into his trenchcoat, searching for something, while his eyes wildly dance across the rippling energies pouring out of the corrupted circle, trying to figure out what's going on.

Kate sets two stun arrows to the string at the same time, drawing back smoothly and tweaking her fingers just enough to send them after two different cultists. "I've got gas if you can keep yourself breathing," she notes academically. "Otherwise this is going to take a little longer." Even as she says it, she's lining up another riot arrow for the fellow with the knife.

As John lays into him, the acolyte kicks Mack off and as she is thrown aside he slices down her back, drawing blood and splitting the fabric. The compass rose tattoo between her shoulder blades is suddenly visible, and glowing with its own blue-white luminescence.

"What the hell is happening!?" Mack yells at everyone, and no one. Wide-eyed, bleeding, and clutching her makeshift weapon like a baseball bat. She turns to leave and finds…she can't. Her feet won't cooperate. "I can't go!" she shouts at Constantine, looking frustrated. She grabs piece of iron pipe from the ground beside her and swings it, clocking the summoner in the head and sending him to lala land.

A third rushes at John while the other two head up to try and take care of Hawkeye. They get introduced to her stun arrows and fall back down. Four down. Oh, and the circle.

There is a ripping sound, as if reality is being torn apart, coming from beneath that foam.

Half of good gunfighting is staying calm in a pinch, and John turns and shoots another guy twice in the chest short-range as he rushes him, then aims his gun at the knife-wielding maniac.

"All right, bruiser," Constantine tells the man, waving the gun's barrel at him. "How about you start talking before I perforate you. What are you trying to summon here?" he demands with a forceful tone of voice. "Who are you with?" he adds, his free hand still jammed in his coat pocket as if trying to find his car keys.

Kate is no mage, but there's definitely something woogy going on in that circle. And she doesn't think knife-boy is going to be much for talking about it. "Should we maybe torture the guy later and focus now on the part where something is coming? If I think of the Stay-Puffed marshmallow man, is that going to helpful right now?

The knife wielder realizes he brought a stabby thing to a shooty fight. He squeaks out, "Valefor!" He gulps then at the sounds coming from the circle. "Gus said it'd make our ring the best in Gotham! Better than any of the other auto theft guys anywhere!" Gus is apparently the guy who was just clocked with a lead pipe by Mack.

Mack is warily eying the circle. "This is bad. This is really bad right? Like a Twinkie the size of New York bad?"

"Right, torture later. Hawkeye, mind putting him down for a nap?" Trusting Kate to cover him, Constantine turns to help Mack up, frowning at the glow on her back. "That's… huh. Put a pin in that," he says to himself, making a mental note.

The magician turns to the growling, rippling summoning circle, noting the hints of a demonic form attempting to manifest itself in reality. Putting his gun into his coat pocket, Constantine comes up with a small bamboo tube, capped on both ends. He carefully removes the corks sealing it and blows heavily into one hole, sending a cascade of glittering glass powder into the air, where it clings to the energies attempting to form themselves into a demonic presence.

"I'm going to need to close this circle up," Constantine calls, so Hawkeye can hear him from her perch. "Make sure none of them get any funny notions about stabbing me in the back." He produces a small spiral bound notebook from his pocket, flipping through several pages, then extends one hand to the circle and starts chanting in a low voice, reading in a vaguely Latinate tongue an incantation to seal the circle again before the demon can fully manifest.

"Got it," Kate calls down, shooting a tranquilizer dart at the last man standing. Apparently she's picked up some new toys recently. This doesn't really bode well for the world at large. "Hey, Bo Peep," she calls down to Mack, moving to a place where she can better see what's going on. "Can you move?" That was a nasty slice, after all. "I've got a feeling it's about to get real unsanitary down there."

Mack stands nearby Constantine, covering him with her mighty lead pipe. "It would be really nice if I could wake up now. But I'm guessing this isn't a damned dream, is it, Chauncey? First that thing on my boat, then I get a tattoo that grows, then I saw my Grandad on the Folly, now this. I blacked out and woke up here. Couldn't stop myself from going in," she mutters between clenched teeth. "Eff Em Ell." She gives Kate a faint flick of her chin in acknowledgement and moves as far as her feet will let her. "Doing my best here," she calls out.

The growling turns to roars and wails from beneath the foamed circle as Constantine begins undoing what the idiot wannabe GTA ring has wrought.

Constantine lids his eyes, fingers moving in arcane gestures as if weaving his words into something tangible. The foam bubbles and surges wildly, the force and heat of the portal beneath it trying to burn through, but Constantine's magics are sufficient to keep it from breaking through into reality. The indistinct image of a demonic form shifts under the powdered glass and then slowly melts and collapses into nothing, until the floor is quiet and the glass powder glistens atop the fast-drying riot foam.

"That sounds unpleasant," Kate murmurs to Mack's rant, though she keeps that bit to herself. It's not particularly helpful, after all. Instead, she watches Constantine and the ritual, intent. As if she might be able to pick something up from it. "Did that do it?" she calls down as things go quiet.

There is a feeling of suction, like a vacuum seal being put into place, or climbing quickly in an airplane, then all the discomforting feelings, sensations, smells, and visuals vanish with a pop.

Mack slumps to sit cross-legged on the floor with the pipe in her lap and her head in her hands. The compulsion that brought her here ceases, and it's like a wire that was attached to her sternum and pulled taught has suddenly been snipped by some preternatural shears and left her in a freefall. The dark dotted line on her back pulses once, then vanishes, as the glow subsides on the compass rose.

There is a soft whine as Rufus pads in and moves over to lie down beside Mack and rest his giant head in her lap. "I have a lot of questions for you and your friend, Chauncey," she croaks out, slightly muffled by her hands. "But I think I need a drink, a shower, and a nap first. Because I get the feeling I'm not going to like your answers."


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