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After recalling your demons back into the mobile COMP, you start swimming towards the distant figure of Fitz. No-man-left-behind is a generally good policy to follow, and it would reflect poorly on you as team leader. Not to mention the fact that you still haven’t yelled at her for diving into the water without waiting for your orders. It’s a toss-up at this point as to which one is the primary motivation for hauling ass towards her position.
But at any rate, it seems that Fitz isn’t likewise content to leave you hanging in the water by yourself. She’s also swimming in your general direction, with her strokes easily and effortlessly outpacing yours. And the kicker? In spite of being covered in bruises and light scrapes, she doesn’t seem to be even winded in the slightest.
Good Christ, what a monster of a woman.
Eventually, you both meet up at a point that’s at least a good ten-fifteen feet from the shallows. Here, it’s about six or five feet deep, give or take a few inches with the rising and declining swell of the tide. Far enough from the riptide to tread water indefinitely and, if the need arise, shout at her.
With as jaunty of a wave as she can without going under the surface, she flags you down with her usual trademark smirk stretched across her mouth, albeit slightly subdued due to slight exhaustion. “Well that happened,” she breathlessly says. “I dunno about you, Sawbones, but I never, ever wanna do that ever again. Next time we go up against a demonic water horse, you can take a turn at playin' water cowboy."
>Choose how to start the discussion.
>“I'm glad to see you aren’t hurt.” [Pleasant]
>“Don’t ever fucking do that again.” [Reprimand]
I like this, but she still needs to not go into super heroics mode all the time cause it might get her killed and then who will save who needs saving? She's gotta wait for our order and be a team player, Adrian is a quick planner so she won't have to wait long.
So positive reinforcement for saving those girls which was extremely important but temper it with the fact that she NEEDS to stick with the team and trust Adrian to be quick on the draw as squad leader.
It’s hard to sigh when the tide constantly threatens to pour saltwater down your mouth at every given opportunity. Still, you do the best you can to vent your exasperation without filling your lungs with any more liquid than absolutely necessary. No amount of mouthwash will ever get rid of the copper aftertaste of bloody salt water out of your throat.
“Well, I’m glad to see you aren’t hurt...too much,” you quickly amend at her pointed gesture to the scrapes along her body. “You know, I really, really want to be mad at you for running off like that without waiting, but…I can’t. You saved those girls’ lives. Good work, cowgirl.”
Fitz snorts in amusement, miming a gun with her index and middle fingers, but that gives way to coughing due to the sudden inhalation of water through her nose. “Fuckin’…hell,” she grounds out in-between sudden jerking motions of her upper body. “Make me laugh after we get out of the water, not while we’re stewin’ in it.”
You incline your eyebrow only slightly. “Well excuse me for wanting to find the silver lining in this mess. If you want, I can bypass humor and start yelling at you…”
“Ha fuckin’ ha.”
“Still, now that you’ve had your turn for doing stupid ballsy shit, you can let the others have their fair share. I had the bomb, you had the beach. It’s only fair that we let the others give us collective heart attacks.”
That gets her to chuckle in a more subdued manner. “I don’t think the rest of them are dumb enough to pull off this kind of shit on their own accord.”
“We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we. My money's on Brady next. Oh, and before I forget…”
“Hmm?” She tilts her head in a questioning manner.
“Don’t rush off on your own again,” you bluntly tell her. No use in yelling, in getting angry. This should be enough for her to get the point. “Wait for my orders before charging off to fight. I get being a hero, but that’s no excuse to go running off half-cocked. So please say that you will listen to my orders from here on out, because so help me God, I will tie you to a rock the next time you do that.”
For a moment, it looks like her incredulity is about to give way to anger. But it doesn’t. With a funny look on her face that you figure for remorse, she exhales, “Alright, alright…sorry ‘bout that, Sawbones. Won’t do it again. Scout’s honor.”
“You were a girl scout?”
“I was only in it for the thin mints, Sawbones.”
There are a few moments of awkward silence before you decide to break the metaphorical ice. “Well, we should probably head back. The others are probably worried something’s up with us. Not to mention…”
She follows your outstretched finger and curses under her breath. Right by the beach, there’s a large crowd that’s still there, in spite of the lifeguards and police trying to get everyone away from the area. Upwards of two hundred of people clustered on the Boardwalk that saw you both go toe-to-toe with a demon.
Her voice comes back a moment later. “…on a scale of one to ten, how hard is Alger gonna fuck us for not bein’ subtle?”
You grimace as that particular mental image comes up. By no means is it at all pleasant. “Not enough lube in the world.”
You know we were as subtle as we could be when a demon attacks a crowded area in broad daylight but...Alger is still going to have our hides.
I mean we had Lahm, the most human looking dude, rescue people and Gremlin/Mokoi pretended to be plush dolls.
Still though I'm sure people saw the crazy Kelpie no matter what.
Alger is going to rape us.
he probably does all things considered seems to be the stern but kind of commander not the kind of i-will-fuck-you-in-every-single-orofice-if- you-sneeze-wrond kind of commander.
>"Sir, I think you may wanna take a look at this."
>"Why, what's going on? Did they make contact with the-"
>Alger puts on his Demonica helmet
>Pushes a few buttons to block all sound emitting from within
>proceeds to do pic related
>Fitz approves +5
With that image weighing in your mind, the both of you start the final swim back towards the shoreline. The sole comfort you have is that either Brady or Victoria managed to discharge a Mnemosyne in the aftermath of the demon quitting the beach. There’s more than one way to wipe memories.
Area-of-Effect, electronic interference, sound frequency blasting and many, many more of disseminate the goddess of memory’s power across the people. It’s real convenient that Agents are shielded from her due to their COMPS. Hopefully they took the initiative and were insightful enough to do it without your orders.
Neither you nor Fitz are even remotely close to being out of the water before you’re mobbed by lifeguards and emergency response units. It seems that now that the threat of the “shark” is gone, they’re trying to do their best to save face by hauling the last two people out of the water where the monster previously was.
You give them points for effort. You can’t exactly blame them for running off to evacuate other people-infested areas of the beach. If you were in their position…eh, you don’t wanna go down that train of thought. It’s best to leave them with some of their dignity intact.
Still, it looks like Brady and Victoria managed to use one of the Mnemosyne charges. Everyone’s more concerned about the “shark” that bit the poor Phi Alpha girl’s arm off (she’s in critical condition, but she’s alive, much to your relief), and praising how you and Fitz selflessly charged in to go save the swimmers. Both of do your best to shield your face, but it's more than likely that someone got both of your pictures on their cell phone.
At least it's for a shark, and not for an actual demon. Silver linings. And Brady's a computer programmer, right? Hacking should be up his alley...you think.
They’re still searching for the man in the kilt. Guy seems to have mysteriously vanished.
Regardless, you can’t help but smile at the fact that you saved a whole lot of people from being eaten, killed or worse. There’s warmth in your chest that has nothing to do with the hot water packet that the EMTs are pushing up against your body. It feels good, brah.
Eventually, you see a group of people fight their way past the police line to make it towards you. Victoria emerges first, followed by Brady. Both are torn between relief and anger at your present state, but it seems to be leaning towards the latter from her sigh of relief and Brady’s wide smile.
And then all sense of brevity flies out the window when man flashing a very nifty-looking badge emerges right after them.
The fact that he looks like he just got off a flight from Hawaii does not make the expression on Alger’s face any less terrifying than it already is.
>“Sir, I can explain…” [Try to explain to Alger.]
>“…” [Say nothing. You’re in enough shit as it is.]
>“…” [Say nothing. You’re in enough shit as it is.]
I think he knows the Kelpie attacked in broad daylight, but no matter what we say it'll come out as an excuse.
I am curious as to how HE would have handled it.
You decide to exercise the right to your Fifth Amendment and keep your mouth closed shut and as tight as possible. A side glance to Fitz indicates that she’s doing the same, albeit with a more visible strain on her face than yours. It looks like it’s taking all of her effort to keep her mouth in a straight line.
“I know what the both of you are thinking,” he suddenly says, in a candid tone of voice that would have one think he was talking about the weather instead of Task Force activity, “You think that if you stay silent, that you won’t dig yourselves deeper into the hole you’ve dug for yourselves. I understand that train of thought. I once thought the same thing back when I fouled up my first operation and my CO came down to reprimand me.
“Well guess what, Brown. Fitz. You can’t dig any deeper. Because right now, your graves are so deep that you’ve dug all the way through the earth and up the other side of the fucking planet. That is how far I am going to bury the two of you.”
Alger maintains his glare for another second before sighing and rubbing his temples. “...that’s what I would say if we were dealing with anything else. But things have changed. The kelpie, the demon you were fighting, is now attacking in broad daylight. That’s never happened before as far as this incident is concerned.
“So, you’re off the hook for now since we’ve got a solid I.D. on the perp. Right now, we’re going to do two things right now: minimize both of your exposure to the press and social media, and figure out where this sunofabitch is hiding, and kill it with everything we’ve got. Think you can do that without me stepping in?”
Fitz nods sharply. “You can damn well bet that we can do it.”
You give your ascent as well. “Yes, sir. Count on it, sir.”
Alger’s mouth curves up only slightly before returning to its neutral stance. “Good. I pulled some strings and flashed a badge a few times to get you out of going to the police station for a statement. Both of you need to keep your heads low while this whole mess blows itself over. So get back to the house and start putting those brains of yours to good use.”
Brady and Victoria rejoin you as soon as Alger vanishes back into the crowd. As soon as they’re sure that he’s disappeared, they turn to you and open their mouths.
“I thought he was gonna tear you guys apart!/You aren’t hurt too much, are you?”
You wave off their inquiries with a tired gesture. “Let’s just get back to base before we get mobbed by either the locals, the press, or a combination of the two of them. We need to get to work.”
Fitz mumbles something unintelligible, but it seems to get the meaning across to the other two. They quiet down and follow your lead in taking the back road alleyways and sidewalk paths towards where you parked the Cadillac.
>Hey anons, how stealthy are you?
>Roll 1d100 + 10 to avoid being found.
By some miracle, the four of you manage to stealth away without being seen by anyone. How the hell is that possible? The Boardwalk proper is crowded with a literal mob, and the streets are clogged with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Someone should have noticed you. The odds were…
Eh, fuck it. You decide not to question it. Praise be to the powers that be that have you and your team sans MacKay Solid Snake your way to the car without triggering an Alert phase.
After reaching the meter, you unlock it and rapidly load up as fast as you can. Within the minute, everyone’s strapped in and ready to go as you finally slam the trunk shut.
But as you step into the driver’s seat, your phone rings before you have the chance to turn the engine on. The noise that comes out of your throat is a combination of a growl and a sigh as you fish it out of your slightly-damp swimming trunks. You check the name on the display screen and start slightly.
>Answer the phone.
>Don’t answer the phone.
…fuck it. You may as well answer her considering how bad you parted the last time.
If there’s a law against driving while talking on the cell phone, you decide to mitigate it by grabbing a pair of headphones from the glove compartment and jamming them into the jack. The sound of the engine starting is quickly overrun by the sudden influx of noise that’s coming from the other end of the phone.
You have to restrain yourself from physically yanking the wire out of your ear as Alyssa’s breathy, panicked and very LOUD voice comes over the other end. “Hello? Is this Andrew? Hello- Andrew? I can’t…I can’t hear anything! If someone’s on the other end…please…I need to talk to Andrew-”
It takes a few moments for the ringing in your ear to fade away. “Y-yeah, it’s me, Alyssa. Ow…do you mind dialing it back a little? I’m kind of on the road right now-”
She cuts you off with a near scream of “ohmigod are you alright?! Are you…are you being taken to the hospital?! I mean, it didn’t look too bad when you were coming out of the water, but-”
“Alyssa? Alyssa! Hey!” You decide to bypass polite and go straight to brusque. “Please lower your voice. I’m driving, and as much as I appreciate your concern, you’re about to blow my ear off.”
You can literally feel the contrition in her voice. “Oh, I’m so sorry! I-I…ah…I was just so worried when we weren’t able to find you or any of your friends! I thought you had gotten really, really hurt from the attack…”
“Look…um…I’m fine. Well, I’ve got a few scrapes here and there, but other than that…I just need to get some shut eye and I’ll be good to go.”
“Wait, wait, wait please don’t hang up!”
…you weren’t going to, but you decide not to mention that fact to her.
“Um…well…” The panic in her voice is gone, suddenly replaced by the usual embarrassed tone of voice. “I just…I just wanted to thank you! Thank you so much! I can’t ever possibly repay you!”
Your brows furrow into a pensive line. “Thank me…for what?”
“Oh…you don’t need to be modest! You saved Julie and Kelly’s lives back there! From…from the shark, remember? They’re a part of our sorority. I mean…if you don’t…I do remember reading about how concussions makes you light-headed…oh, wait, should I be talking to you?!”
Oh, that’s right. You remember overhearing about how the girls you saved happened to be Phi Alpha. Must’ve been on break swimming or whatever. What terrible luck for them to be caught up in the attack.
“Ah. Right. Well…you’re welcome,” you mutter, with your cheeks turning slightly red from the praise. “I just…well, I just did the best that I could. What anyone could do, really.”
You hear what sounds like between a sob and a laugh come from her end. “Well…I’ve never seen a lifeguard charge into the water to…fucking…wrestle a shark…that’s not something any sane person here would do…I mean…the fuck…that takes serious balls...”
And now you’re fairly sure that she’s rambling right now. Great.
>Hang up, promise to see her later.
>Keep talking, ask about something in specific.
Anons, I'm getting a bit tired...but I can still write some more.
Even if it weren’t for the dry looks that Victoria was giving you from the back seat (and to a lesser extent, Brady), you still would’ve chosen to hang up of your own volition. You’re not bone tired, but you’re pretty tuckered out from literally playing chicken with a demonic water horse…kelpie. That’s what Alger called it.
Yeah. You’re pretty fucking tired.
“Alyssa…look, I’d really like to continue this discussion with you, but right now? I need some rest.”
“Oh, I’m sorry! Why didn’t you say so sooner!” Her voice slightly falls for a moment. “I mean…if I’m just…bothering you, then...I mean…it’s alright, I get it…”
Oh goddammit. “No, no, it’s not that. I just need a nap. Look, I’ll either call you again tonight, or see you tomorrow. Whichever one comes first after I get my strength back.”
Alyssa’s voice goes back to its normal inflection of optimistic nervousness. “Oh…okay then! Well…I hope you have a speedy recovery. Get well soon?”
That elicits a chuckle out of you. “Yeah. Thanks. I’ll talk to you later. See ya.”
“Oh…um…thank you again-”
As you exhale deeply at the red light, you feel someone tap you on the shoulder. It’s Victoria, with a determined look on her face. “Pull over and let me drive.”
“You heard me. Pull over, and let me drive. You and Fitz are the last two people that should be behind the wheel right now. I don’t even know why I got in the car with you in the first place. You should be in the backseat recovering, not driving, considering what you just went through.”
You frown. “Is this some roundabout method of telling me that you don’t trust my driving skills…”
“Shut up and let her drive,” Brady vocalizes. “I don’t want to die an early death, and you. Need. To. Sleep. Fitz is already out like a light and you should be as well. Dude…just follow your own advice and hit the sack, will ya?”
...they're right. Wow. That was totally uncalled for. Your earlier response, that is. Seems like the fatigue is messing with your head more than you thought it was. It's probably for the best that you listen to what they're saying.
“…okay,” you say with a tired smile. “Thanks guys. Here, there's a parking lot over there..."
You pull over at one of the outlet malls and change seats with Victoria. By the time she starts the engine, you already find yourself leaning against the seat belt, slowly drifting away…
And now for something completely different.
You slowly come back to awareness to the sound of a fire burning merrily. The stars twinkle high above you, shining bright in the evening sky. Cloudless and void of any sort of obstruction, this is the view that dreamers, artists and poets spend their lives chasing for. Pure beauty in nature.
“Took ye long enough,” a rough voice drawls from the distance. “Thought you weren’t gonna wake up till high noon next week.”
You instinctively try to pull yourself up, but an immense pain in your abdomen prevents you from completing the movement. You fall back onto your makeshift bed, little more than stone earth and a rough-spun blanket, gasping for breath.
“Aw, Lordy. Look, my boy doctor here spent the last five hours stichin’ you closed. Last thing we need is for you to tear yourself open.”
Your hand moves towards your belly. Instead of the familiar feeling of your clothes, you feel the rippled layers of bandages go ‘round your waist, and moisture that comes away from contact. Blood, you dimly realize as you pull back to inspect it in the dim light of the fire.
“Ah…I hate to be the bearer of bad news…but you’re the only one that we could pull out of the wreckage. Last survivor. Just…wanted to get that out of the way. I’m real sorry ‘bout your loss…”
You can’t hear what else he has to say. You’re slipping back into unconsciousness. But before you finally succumb to exhaustion, you’re able to see one last thing…
Choose a character
>A thin golden band encircling your right ring finger.
>A silver pocket watch clenched tight in your palm.
>A gold dollar coin necklace rising with your breath.
That’s right. Your ring. The very same ring that Daniel forged himself and gave to you exactly five years ago in that little grotto by the south bend of the Rio Grande river. You remember the exact date. It was your anniversary today.
The steamboat launch…and how little Taylor was excited to be the daughter of the man who made the boiler engine. She wanted to be right at the prow of the ship, held high as the first steamboat of the Smith & Anson Company launched from the dock.
But it all seemed so long ago, those idle moments of peace and quiet, just floating down the Rio Grande.
Before everything went wrong.
Before the sight of Daniel being cut down by a monster.
Before the sight of Taylor engulfed in the boiler explosion.
Before the sight of losing everything important to you.
Your name is Annette Turner, and your thirst for answers and knowledge knows no bounds, second only to vengeance.
We a Western for the next session. Expect it to be combat-heavy!
No problem. It's a real pleasure to run them!
Gonna archive it in a few minutes.
Follow me on Twitter for session times and other TF666-related stuff: https://twitter.com/TaskForceKaz
Don't forget to vote for the previous threads on suptg: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20Task%20Force%20666%20Quest
Hope y'all have a good night/morning/day/afternoon wherever you based anons are.
If the thread's still up in the morning, I'll try to take and answer some questions before I head off to the con.
welp, managed to miss the whole thread. Too much afterglow from London to remember to check twitter, I guess.
We've had detectives, hackers, army, samurai, and now we've got rangers wrangling some demons. What's their melee weapon of choice?
Anything involving Petra getting up to shenanigans, but the thread "High Impact Sexual Violence" stands out for being a marvelous exercise in controlling my facial expressions in public.
Bowie knife is the main melee weapon, but only for emergencies and extreme close quarters combat situations. Devil Busters in the Old West tend to rely more on enchanted/silver bullets, demon-infused shooting irons and actual demons at range rather than getting up close and personal with the enemy.
(Posting from mobile)
I'm actually not that good at 2D Fighters. The vidya games I play are more along the veins of Dark Souls, Total War and other miscellaneous games on my PC and PlayStation.
Could possibly be. Anything's possible in the wild, Wild West.