The Coalition cordon is quite wide and rather tricky. Aiden and Slaine have had to do a lot of crawling, holding still and careful maneuvering to get past it, but get past it they have and entered the ruined but nontheless impressively labyrinthine bowls of the Pentagon.
Their contact, a red headed woman in a dark uniform calling her self Samantha Styles met them at the perscribed time and has been quiet thus far, trusting Slaine, Aiden and their ‘otherworldly powers’ to get them past the network of patrols and sensors that litter the preimeter. It was a near thing too, with one of those patrols being Dog Boys.
Now that their inside though she’s looking around to get her bearings while Aiden catches his breath from his last use of telekinesis in what was probably a storage room on the first sublevel but has since been emptied of everything but dirt and cobwebs… and doesn’t have a door.
Another redhead. They seem to be a dime a dozen on Rifts Earth. Might be something to do with the magic.
Slaines been quiet on their way in, using her magic bend light and move rubble as they need, the gem in the Crown of Command glowing as she uses her abilities. She’s on edge, that much is clear – but perhaps she can’t be blamed for that, they are now deep in CS territory.
Leaning against one the walls, the small mystic is also catching her breath as she looks around, mostly at that doorway that they probably have to go through.
“Okay…” Samantha says. “I am… pretty sure that we need to get around to the other side of the facility. The good news is that we don’t have to go all the way around it. There’s a tunnel network that’ll take us pretty well directly where we need to be. The bad news is that it’s two levels down and the power isn’t working in this wing.”
“The other issue is that since we’re looking for a system the CS is using to coordinate searches, there’ll be soldiers near it.” Aiden grunts
“Ah yes, well we can probably access one of the main comms trunks but… uh… they’re hard to get to. Kind of, buried. You’d need someone small ish to get to them.”
She looks meaningfulyl at Slaine.
It’s not news they have to get across the facility. Slaine would have laid dollars to donuts that that was the case. “Are there ladders or tunnels to get down the levels?” she asks Samantha. Power being out is probably not really a problem but it’s good to know what they’re dealing with.
At the mention of the comms trunks and the womans next assertion, Slaine gives her a rather flat lookk “An’ where do ye think ye’re goin’ find someone who’ll crawl into them?”
“Well he’s too big.” Samantha gestures to Aiden. “And I’m too big. You might just about fit where we need you to… and you do want the information right? The alternative is fighting soldiers and trying to not raise an alarm.”
Aiden watches Slaine. He can’t make the decision for her. They could just give up on the information and leave but he suspects she’ll think – and certain he thinks – that they have to make an effort.
A noise echoes down the hallway and the psychic concentrates for a moment. “Footsteps.”
“An’ I’m jus’ the right size …” Slaines eyes slide to Aiden and she nods slowly. He’s right and he knows it, Slaine will do it but she might grumble a bit. Later.
“Where are these ducts and will I have to move to the earth around them before I can access them?” That’s to Samantha. She’s still slouching against the wall but at Aidens words she straightens, the gem in the Crown glowing a little brighter as she does. “Do we hide?” Or does she have to bend light again to obscure them? That… could be dangerous at close quarters.
Aiden leans out the doorway to check. “It’s still distant. We can keep ahead of whomever it is, I think. Which way, Samantha?”
The redhead prowls – it’s something in the way she moves – to the edge of the room and glances. “That way. Come on.”
Aiden nods and motions to Slaine. They set off at a brisk pace along a hallway that curves gently to the right.
After a few minutes the sound of steps starts to fall behind and the intel Agent whispers: “We’re looking for an elevator shaft. Something we can use to get do-”
She comes to an abrupt halt. Aiden does too. The hallway ahead is covered – blocked really – by cobwebs. Big ones. The strands of the webbing as think as one of Sline’s fingers.
“Uh…” Aiden’s worried suddenly for very obvious reasons. There’s an elevator shaft. He can see it and it’s not behind the webbing… but it is right at the edge of it.
Slaines silent again as they move, keeping up well enough with both Aiden and Samantha. When the pair ahead of her stops, she nearly runs into them, peering around them to see …
“Have I told ye how much I hate spiders?” she mutters, assessing the area and the elevator shaft. “What’s the bet it nestin’ in the shaft itself?” she rolls her eyes. “I don’ do fire well, but I migh’ be able to burn this down … an’ not incinerate us.”
It’s … all she can think of at the moment.
“It probably is…” Aiden steps over to the shaft and… doesn’t visibly do anything though Slaine might correctly suspect he’s telekinetically blocking it.
“Go ahead Slaine. Just hurry. I can hear footsteps again.”
Samantha looks worried as she looks over the web. “Might be a rock-nid. They’re… well they infest certain parts of the city. They’re pack hunters. If there’s one…”
“Then ye better hope it’s not…” Slaine mutters to Samantha as her eyes start to glow, the gem in the Crown brightening significantly. As she murmurs unintelligible words, fiery arcane symbols form causing flames to spring to life on the webbing and down the inside of the shaft.
It’s not easy for her. Earth is her element, fire is so volatile in comparison. Perhaps that’s why it’s not her element – the earth at least is deep and steadying – a good counterpoint to the Mystics nature.
The flames leap and dance and it seems that she might lose control of them – but she doesn’t. At least, not yet.
The moment the fire touches the webbing something slams into Aiden’s barrier. It’s very much like a spider and big enough that it’s splayed out legs take up most of the elevator doorway. It can’t get out. Aiden is holding it there, but if he drops it…
Below, if Slaine bothers to look – Samantha certainly does – it looks like there’s more. And in the webbing as Slaine burns it… there are bones. Yeah, these things have been living here.
“Hurry up Slaine.” Aiden grunts. He can DEFINTIELY hear footsteps now and these spider things are starting to… shriek a little.
Okay, a lot.
Slaine jumps as something hits Aidens barrier, the flames licking out and nearly catching on him. She doesn’t look, her concentration is all on that spell and the flames – fire is volatile and needs a lot of focus.
The fire moves as her hands do, up and down the walls burning the webbing away. Bones rattle and clatter as they fall free and the shrieking causes the Mystic to frown even more.
“I’m workin’ as fast as I can. Why don’ ye do this and I’ll hold the barrier?” she manages to grunt at the psychic as the spell starts to fade.
“Because you can’t do this…” Aiden concentrates and the shaft starts to tremble. He’s pulling inward, trying to collapse the top part of the shaft in to make a permanent barrier, but that’s going to make a lot of noise and it will take him a minute.
Samantha finally produces a vibro knife and starts hacking at some of the webbing, helping Slaine clear a passage. She’s making better progress than maybe she expects. She’s almost through there’s just a couple more…
“Hey? Who’se there?!” Someone calls from… still fairly well down the hall but the footsteps turn to running. They need to go. And now.
“Then let me do what I need to and stop naggin’.” Slaine grunts. She could collapse the shaft but it would be the whole shaft and not only would that be counterproductive, it would likely be noisy.
The flames leap to life again, more directed this time as the gem in the Crown glows brightly. Aiden should really worry about that – and what it’s doing to Slaine but right now, it seems to be helping.
At the voices, Slaine sighs “Out of the way, Samantha, Vargr….”
If they’re watching, they’ll see the light of the gem reflect off the walls as it brightens more. And then a fireball //whooshes// through the last of the passage.
The elevator shaft crumbles and Aiden turns and breaks into a run. He grabs Slaine’s arm as he passes her. Samantha breaks into a run behind them.
“Halt!” Whomever it is can’t see them but can definitely hear them. The sound of boots on concrete echoes behind them.
“Where can we go, Samantha?”
“Stairwell, up ahead and on the left.”
Aiden nods. He slams the door open before they reach it with his mind and then ushers the other two in. “You two go ahead.” He says shutting the door behind them.
Something hits the door from the other side, trying to force it open.
“I’ll… deal with this and catch up.”
If Slaine weren’t so tired, she’d shake Aidens grip off and complain that she has this. But she doesn’t. She just casts the psychic a baleful look and nearly trips as he drags her. She recovers quickly enough though.
“No…” The small redhead argues as he elects to stay behind but Samantha grabs her arm and tugs her along. “No… we’re no’ leavin’ him here to deal with that… alone.” she protests as her booted feet hit the stairwell, her mind whirling as she tries to think.
All the while, Samantha is towing her along. She’ll have words with him later.
Presumably, from the sounds, Aiden is just trying to barricade them. That means they’ll need another way out but it’s better than being followed. The alarm will be raised presumably but the CS won’t know exactly where they are or where they’re going so…
It’s dark down here. None of the lights are working but there is a thrum of electrical power and Samantha guides Slaine unerringly toward it, feeling her way using the walls. She seems to have the layout of this place memorized which suggests she’s been here before. A lot.
At length she stops and kneels down. Light from a hand held torch splits the darkness and reveals a large conduit. Samantha opens it. There’s a lot of electronics and fiber optics inside. Someone might fit inside but it’ll be a tight, tight squeeze.
“Right. This is the main comms trunk. Whatever they’re looking for all the information will pass through here. We just need to harvest it.”
She pulls out what Slaine will probably recognize as a computer chip. “There’s a maintenance box in there designed for just that. All you have to do is put this in it. But it’s probably… twenty feet back. And it’ll be tight.”
Slaine will say something later. If they’re going to need a way out she could have collapsed the roof behind them. Not ideal, but it would have kept them together and she wouldn’t be fretting about Aiden and distracted right now.
So distracted she forgets to summon magelights for the first metres of the corridor. Eventually though, with a flick of her hand and casually murmurmed words, little lights start to bob above them cutting the gloom enough to see.
Slaine might be small but that space isn’t very wide and she stares when Samantha reveals it. “I’m no’ sure I’ll fit … ” she mutters again. Her hips, at least, are likely to catch in places at the most inconvenient of times. “Who designed this place. The ancients weren’t that small, I’m sure…”
Taking the chip from the woman and placing it in a pocket, the small Mystic gestures again and a magelight enters the conduit ahead of her. “Listen for Vargr and help if ye can. I’ll be as quick as I can…”
It //is// tight in there and the redhead is glad for her leathers though they’ll be scuffed at least, if not torn by the edges of the trays and cables clips as she passes. At one point, she gets stuck and she has to back up and turn //just so// to get through. Getting back is //not// going to be a picnic.
But eventually she makes and inserts the chip she given – almost dropping it as she does. “It’s in …” she’s not leaving just yet, not until Samantha says it’s ok. She probably has to take that chip with her anyway.
“The ancients had drones for this, I’m fairly sure.” Samantha says. She doesn’t say much else. Just watches as Slaine goes in.
The mystic is half way when someone else’s voice flows into the crawlspace. “Half Pint? I’m here. Rear stairs are barricaded but I’m fairly sure someone’s bringing explosives so we need to hurry it up.” Getting away is going to be a trick but Aiden has an idea for that. It’s called ‘get Slaine to tunnel out.’
“Hang on… reseat the chip.” Samantha says. Once Slaine does she can hear beeping. “Alright. I have access to the trunk. You can come out there. I just need a couple of minutes to pull everything.”
“Don’ ye leave me like that again, Vargr…” Slaine grumbles at him. He can’t hear the sigh of relief or see her shoulders relax when she hears him. She’s fairly certain she knows how he wants to get out and she’s good with that. She’s good //at// that.
“Do what?” she calls back to Samantha, shaking her head. Technology. Give her magic any day. She jiggles the chip in the repository, making sure it’s seated nice and snug.
Getting out … well that’s interesting. She doesn’t try to turn around. Just walks backwards, getting caught and nearly stumbling a couple of times.
It’s a rumpled little Mystic that appears to Samantha and Aiden some time later. “Was that quick enough for ye?” she says to Aiden. Not really snarking but clearly discomfitted by all this. “Which way are we goin’ and what do ye need me to do?”
They can plan while Samantha does this technology thing… although, maybe they should be watching – given they don’t trust her to give them everything.
“If I knew the CS, and I’m sad to say I do, they’ll be locking down the perimeter by now. We need to, ideally, exit some distance from it. Which means going underground. So if you could get us a tunnel that’d be ideal. And if you can close up the wall behind us that’ll prevent us from being followed.”
It’s a great deal of exertion for the mystic and he knows that but it’s her specialty and if she can do it… it might save their lives.
“I’ve… got something. But it doesn’t make any sense to me.” Samantha announces.
“They’re searching for four somethings. People maybe? They call them an ‘Apocalypse Quartet.'”
“Apocalypse …” Slaine frowns and shakes her head. She’s tired and tiring even more quickly now. Even with the Crown, she’s taxed herself and will pay for it later. Aiden might need to find a nice leyline for her to sleep on. That will be fun. “That sounds familiar but I can’ think. What else can ye tell us?” She says to Samantha.
“I can, there won’ be much left though. If ye need me when we’re out, it’s goin’ to be tough.” the small Mystic finds an appropriate wall and the gem in the Crown flares to life again and blue arcane symbols form on the surface. It takes some time, more than Aiden likes probably, to get the tunnel started and reinforced enough for them to enter. “Go ahead … ” Slaine gestures to the other two as the mage lights bob above them. She’ll follow them in and close the entrance up. Whoever follows now, will have to look to find the patch on the wall that looks different.
Also. She’s going to have to build the tunnel as they walk.
“Whatever they are, it’s got them worried. They’ve got a general search area in the mountains, several hundred miles from the coast. No exact location but they seem convinced that they need to lay their hands on any golden age weapons they can find…”
“We’ll take a closer look at it later. We know what and roughly where, so we should be able to work it out. But now…”
A small boom sounds in the distance. Explosives?
“Now we really should go. Slaine, if you please?”
Meeting up with the guide they'd been offered, Aiden and Slaine recover necessary and concerning information.
June 08, 2411
Pentagon - Old Washington DC