EIDL | A New Beginning

Mission De-Brief & a Psychedelic Dream
I mean ... it is a dream ... right?
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After our usual celebratory swing through a fast food joint, we took the elevator deep below the Tacoma dome again. Colin was pleased we came back in one piece, but seemed very concerned about the Archive. I could tell Tychus was still hurt, and I went looking for him to help patch him up. I couldn’t find him in his usual haunts at the canteen or in his quarters. I later found out he was manhandled by nurse Sylvester – can you imagine a guy like him getting bossed around by a nurse? I’m entirely sure he had something completely different in mind. I know he later went looking for an artist, as I saw him near his quarters with some decorations on the new, undamaged set.

Unable to locate the giant of a man, instead I decided to see if I could aid in … uh… repairing? the Archive. Definitely not a hospital room, I found Jack and the creature in a workshop working diligently to replace broken parts. Fascinated by the process, I did my best to help out, but it was really beyond me. I found my job was mostly to pass tools and parts to the two – what a role reversal! After a few hours, the Archive reported being fully functional, but I was seeing significantly more metal parts than I remembered.

Colin told us we had a late morning debriefing, leaving us with some unexpected free time. I spoke with Colin briefly about the ineffectiveness of my rifle at close range, and my interest in possibly getting some training time with a shotgun, or perhaps even a good old fashioned beat stick. He was dismissive about the topic, and told me he would have a trainer meet up with me after our debrief tomorrow. He was overly curious about the function of my wrist device. I told him about how useful it was, although my desire for a more localized rather than general area impact. I could tell he was surprised, “Its new tech, we’ve never gotten it to work in the field.” I could barely contain my irritation – what kind of para-military organization sends teams out with untested or broken gear. I decided to find Tychus to share a drink and air my concerns, maybe talk about close quarters combat. It seemed he had the same idea, and Jack was also ready to go. Even the Archive seemed less reluctant than normal.

Out on ground level, we hailed a cab, Tychus, in his way, asked for a seedy bar where we could perhaps find some trouble. Cabbie McSteven McGee played dumb for a bit, then finally drove us to a suitable establishment. I have to be completely honest when I say I don’t have good memories of the place, so the bartender’s pourings must have been adequate. I do, however, and rather fondly I might add, recall that the normally impervious Archive actually seemed intoxicated! I dismissed it as excessive fatigue, possibly due to the repair work. Hmmm, I would have expected all of us would be a fair bit more exhausted than we seem to be. What the heck are we doing out partying after such a tough mission? We should be in bed! We got a ride back to base, and crashed for the evening.

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I woke up starving, but we were planning a brunch debriefing with the keeper. I’ve never understood the West Coast’s fascination with brunch. I had a cup of coffee which did little to ease my sour stomach. The debrief went remarkably well, Colin was pleased we all came back in one piece, and really, seemed as if he expected us to be more injured than we were. I’m not sure the Archive could have possibly been more hurt. He chuckled at Jack’s reference to the rat as “Splinter”. He patiently allowed us to argue out our misconceptions on lycanthropy, paying too much attention to movies, I guess. Archive was very helpful in bringing clarity on this point. Colin calls the rat “Subject A” and assures us it is being hunted by another team.

Having a week until our next assignment, we dove right into training. A quick red-headed kid came in and showed Jack and I some trick in armed close range combat without firearms. Exhausting! Tychus observed and gave pointers here and there. I saw him spit on his thumb and rub an old coin. He later showed us a small handful of shiny coins with an engraved eagle. Having just sold something similar (a guy has to plan for retirement, you know), I knew a gold coin when I saw it. Archive vaguely recognized it, as an “Andoran Eagle, its Galorian”. Whatever that even means. The Archive kept mumbling over and playing with the random bag of junk we pulled out of the cave. Apparently some of the stuff is actually useful – none of it piqued my interest.

Jack and the Archive seemed pretty excited about the implication of otherworldly coins, Tychus was excited about getting actual pay. I asked Tychus for ‘my share’, which he grudgingly agreed to. EIDL has been good about providing what we can think of before we go out on a mission, but I’m concerned about funding needs that we realize while already on assignment.

Jack and the Archive head off to the lab to run some harmonic testing on one of the coins, curious I follow to see what the two brains are up to. Jack pokes and prods the coin, and suddenly, Tychus stomps into the room in full armor carrying a duffel bag full of goodies. “If y’all going to crack that open, and some chupathingies start coming through, I want to be ready!” We laugh him off, but he is deadly serious. Jack runs more experiments, and my short hairs stood up, I was getting nervous, and stopped paying attention to what Jack was doing.

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I pulled out a shotgun out of his bag, the big man was not impressed, “I’ll give it back! I just want to have it… in case you are right.” Jack strikes the coin with some sort of tuning fork, drowning out Tychus’ response to my theft. There is a deep hum, my ears popped. In the span of a split second, the coin started vibrating, then expanded to nearly the width of the room. It snapped small, and the air around it bent, then the coin blinked out of existence, and I felt myself being sucked into the bent air, then I blacked out.

I awoke on a small isthmus, with a single tree providing … no shade? I looked to the sky and found a cool yellow sun beating down, and there to the side, a warm purple sun. I blacked out again.

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Animal Control, Pt. 2
Where's the WereRat at?

GOBLINS!!!
Yes really, we found goblins!

Not unlike the classical tales told in Deutschland for millennia, these tiny, grotesque, yet ferocious creatures were revealed to be the cause of the missing pets we were originally alerted by.
After our initial forays into their ocean side cave, we had collected our fair share of injuries, committed several tactical “miscommunications”, and even managed to capture a living specimen. (However long it lasts slung across Tychus’ back like a (disgusting, foul smelling, semi-intelligent) vicious fox caught and caged by the hounds back home.) On second hand, that is too great an insult to the foxes back home.
The subsequent discussion of whether to head back and report, or finish exploring and clearing the caves was mostly solved by our band-aids of eldritch seeming aura, and the simple reminder that this was indeed still a test of our team.
We managed to clear the rest of the caverns without much incident until we at last came to a rather large underground grotto. There groaning and calling for help next to the pool near the center of the chamber was a small man. We saw the filthy rags and heard the strangely accented english as he claimed to be a goblin captive, but did not see through his mask until it was too late. Tychus took no chances with him, roughly assessing him and making him prone before Reid could get started with a real medical exam. I (Jack) and the Archive started checking the rest of the room in opposite directions when it all went to scheisse.
First, despite Tychus’ best efforts, and Reid being in the way, the small man caught a gruesome blow across Tychus’ face, and managed to jar Reid off balance. The Archive was set upon by 2 large dogs (goblin dogs I am now sure), as well as several more of the lightly armed goblins themselves rushing through a yet unseen passageway. I was also facing 3 of the swift killers, but was able to quickly dispatch them with the timely aid of my teammates.
Unlike in our previous encounters the Archive was the first to be severely wounded, (maybe damaged is a better word for a living construct) and was unfortunately temporarily crippled by the unrelenting goblin dogs. They and their keepers left their first target immobile across the room to target the 3 flesh and blood intruders. Reid and I (Jack) managed to finally down one, while the other met with such an unexpected backswing from Tychus’ hammer that it ended pinned to a rocky spike like a giant sized (nightmarish) specimen.
The final opponent was by far one of the most incredible yet. An evil shape changing Doppelgänger of that American tmntMasterSplinter.JPGcartoon warrior Master Splinter was cavorting around the room. If I had not seen something other than Archive taunt Tychus and live I might not have believed it. While Reid and I futilely attempted fire support, our recognized heavy could not seem to even connect solidly, while at the same time being cut to ribbons in return. By the time our medic had a moment to spare from seemingly continuously molding Tychus Findlay’ wounds back together, and his wits about him he was running to assist our fallen team member. Our opponent threw one last barb, and seeing himself greatly outnumbered, he ran.

We were unable to catch him as he slipped out a crevice to the beach outside, but we were able to finally make contact mysteryvan_grou1.jpgagain with Colin. As I (Jack) explained the situation, and was about to ask for further orders or eyes, I was almost instantly cut off! Our only priority now was to secure the Archive, and bring it back to base for repair (healing?)! We quickly stabilized the worst of our wounds (pride not among them this time), and gathered a few small things from cavern for further study as we made our way back to our van, and then home. The bag of horded items from the cave with its strange sword that seems to vibrate at a most discordant frequency, our captive, and even our friend stone faced friend will require much study (and healing, or is it repair?) and effort to sort out when we get back. On the way we must celebrate, and of course, stop for our cigar chewing friend to continue his diet of terribly unhealthy vices by stopping at a hamburger drive through. Although tasty, I do not thing that I will ever fully get used to the chopping of words that Americans seem to love so much. (Burgers are magistrates, and kings are, well, Kings, and they make such a ridiculous name together.)

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At least I will have much to write about in my next email to my feste freundin (girlfriend) in central america.

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Animal Control, Pt. 1

The EIDL strike team deployed into Point Defiance park to track the source of the anomaly and disappearing animals. The mk II Laurence rabbit was released and the team followed from a safe distance while Jack tracked his chip. It seemed that the rabbit was captured and taken into a nearby cave system. Last minute preparations and an order of combat was drawn up at the cave entrance while the The Archive and Dr. Reid briefed the team on what to expect from similar scenarios. A small humanoid form about the size of a child was spotted and The Archive confirmed that we were dealing with goblins. The team rigged up lights and entered the cave.

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The first few rooms revealed small passages that the goblins might use to flank and fetid racks of meat that the goblins were curing. The party kept its lunch down but only barely. A few corridors in a small ambush was sprung with howling goblins leaping from piles of debris. They were dressed in small costumes that may have been taken from children or looted from, god knows where, but poorly armed and easily dispatched. One scampered off into a side tunnel and short pursuit revealed traps that the goblins had laid to defend their cave. Dr. Reed theorized that that may account for other teams failing in the chase and the Archive took a careful search around to clear the area of any more caltrops with its mighty wooden feet. The mk III Laurence was deemed superfluous and released into the wild before the team cleared the tunnels they had fought through and moved on to explore.

The next room yielded a woodpile and supply room alongside a much more concerted ambush led by a well armored laughing goblin. The goblins stood back and made a pincushion of Tychus while he fought in the choke point. The Archive chaffed at this tactical faux pas, while Reed andJack took a rear guard. It was well warranted as a small force of now armed and armored goblins came around to flank. The flanking forces were slain quickly but still inflicted serious wounds. With that, the team turned its whole attention to the woodpile room and began to clear it in earnest. Many goblins fell to the Archives paper swords while covering fire poured into the gap. The leading goblin ceased his laughing and taunting when Jack Killby planted a round in its head and the last remaining goblin through down its arms.

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Tychus thought he recognized the language spoken by the pitiful creature as he bound it and stuffed it into the carry case meant for the rabbits. The team also noted that the leaders armor was made of scavenged materials but backed by older leathers that were cured much better than any craft the creatures had shown thus far. Medicines were applied to various wounds and the team stopped to discuss whether to move further in or pull out and call backup.

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Gearing up for Animal Control
Research and Preparation.

Our heroes spent a significant portion of their time practicing as a team, but also researching their upcoming assignment. Special gear items were requisitioned, most granted. Reid found a small tidbit that suggested the source of the problem could be small voracious dog like creatures “goblinoid”. The research identified they have a minimal intelligence and communication skills, and they often trap their back-up exits. Colin lets the team know that Steven Payne specially requested Mike Jones, and that he will be unavailable to join them for this mission.

The team gathered their gear, donned animal control lookalike uniforms, stowed their obviously military gear into non-descript bags and loaded into a nondescript van. By mid-morning, the team successfully loaded up and headed to the Point Defiance area. During the ride, Tychus unzips one of his duffel bags and seems dismayed to find two rabbits inside. “Bait” he mutters to himself, tossing a dog treat inside. Almost as an afterthought a few moments later, he threw in the remains of one of his cigarettes as well. During the drive, a variety of tunes are played on the radio. After a time, the team makes it a point to see if they can engage the Archive in head-nodding along to a song. During one song, perhaps the Archive’s cheek twitched, but aside from that, no other reaction. They drive further up the point from the zoo, and unload.

The team fans out only slightly, searching the area. After spending a fair amount of time, Reid locates a tuft of fur that Tychus identifies as a chunk of bloody poodle fur. However, the team could not determine where the trail led from there. Tychus unzipped his bag and pulled out a very hyper rabbit. Jack rigged his pip-boy to track the rabbits movements through the wild. Tychus releases “Lawrence 2” and it randomly darts around, out of site. Jack and the Archive watch the pip-boy for clues. Suddenly, the rabbit ceases its random movement and heads out in a straight line.

Slowly approaching the start of the course change, the team searches for clues. Arriving at the site, they bungled the scene, each looking for clues, and in turn destroying it for others. With any further clues, they decide to head to the rabbit’s current location. The follow a heavy clay shoreline, and reach a cave entry, where they paused. Reid mutters a prayer, crosses himself and asks for guidance. The Archive’s speaks in an unknown tongue, summoning arcane energies focused on a small stone in the palm of its hand. The stone glows brightly for a few seconds, and the light fades away.

The peer into the dark, judging the depth of the challenge. As one, they turn to eye the duffel bag. “I’ve got one more Lawrence in the tank,” Tychus says, “But lets save it until we know we need it”. They turn to the dark portal…

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Shiny Happy People
Return from the islands, a visit to another facility

A tired team helps Mike back to the boat, along with the slightly crispy remains of one of the sea monsters. Reid examines Mike, and pronounces he will be fine, just in need of some rest. Mike continues to be spacey and lethargic, the concussion obvious. Tychus experienced some engine trouble, but Jack was able to get the motor started again, the team gets back underway.

They stowed their gear back into inconspicuous bags and wrapped the beast in a tarp preparing to make port. Colin picked them up in a large vehicle and took them to the heart of Seattle. He said he was taking us to drop off the corpse at a local research facility. A quick turn off a street and into a cargo elevator they drove, and descended down, we didn’t know how far. When the lift’s doors opened, the sight was unlike anything we had seen, something out of a sci-fi movie. Station 490 was very modern, every surface shiny and pristine. Jack was very excited by the research opportunities such a facility might present.

The team got out to stretch and tried not to stare at the impressive installation. After a short wait, they were greeted by this station’s keeper, Steven Payne. He seemed like a business executive, well dressed, large friendly smile, handshakes for everyone. He let the team know someone would be along shortly to pick up the body, and sure enough, two transporters arrived, quickly and efficiently loading the body onto a gurney and wheeling it away to lab 24. Smooth as clockwork, a cleanup team arrived to clean up the mess left behind. He shared a few curt words with Colin, then bid us all a fond farewell as we loaded up. Jack didn’t seem so excited anymore.

The team made it back “home”, got some food and rest. They spent the next week in training, then got word for a new assignment. Colin reports that we are to investigate some animal disappearances. At first some scattered reports, but a pattern emerged. Seems located to the Point Defiance area, and limited to outdoor unsupervised animals. Dogs left outdoors. A monkey from the zoo. Fish from aquariums. We will cover ourselves as an animal control team on the hunt for a possible predator in the area.

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The Island Ambush
Terror on the sea

Jack, Tychus, and the Archive have taken their places around the campfire, waiting for the sahuagin to attack Tychus and the Archive each hold a rope attached to one side of a buried net, in the hope that one can be taken alive. Reid lies in wait outside the ring of light, and Mike has opted to set up a sniper post in a gazebo further from the water, where he can clearly see the shore.

When the fire has burned low, the sahuagin make their move, three of them coming out of the water in an attempt to surround the party. Someone raises the alarm, and Tychus immediately drops the net to confront the sahuagin that has appeared from the darkness directly in front of him. Jack is thrilled that Tychus is distracting one, and tests his new shock-flashlight, which turns out to be an excellent stunner, as Tychus can attest. Tychus, enraged by this turn of events, loses control and wrestles the sahuagin into submission. Shots are heard by the party, as Mike provides support fire.

On the other side of the campfire, Reid is also surprised by the Sahuagin facing him, and fires multiple shots while retreating, still laying on the ground. The Sahuagin presses its advantage, and lands a great deal of damage during Reid’s ground-bound scramble.

The Archive, seeing that it no longer has Tychus’s assistance with the net, drops it and pulls out its paper swords, confronting the third sahuagin, which falls immediately under one efficient slice. The Archive then turns to the sahuagin pressing Reid and dispatches that one with slightly more effort. Reid pauses to care for his wounds, while the Archive advances on the last remaining sahuagin, which is still wrestling with Tychus. It picks up the net and holds it ready behind the sahuagin, hoping that Tychus will deposit his prize there, but Tychus, blinded by rage, carries the sahuagin to the embers of the campfire and throws it in.

The sahuagin wails in pain and makes good on its freedom, rushing directly for the water. The Archive manages to capture it in the net, but the sahuagin is only slowed, and drags the Archive knee-deep into the sea before Tychus catches up and kills it.

Meanwhile, Jack has noticed that the fire from the gazebo has ceases, and abandons the ongoing battle, running up the slope to find what has happened to Mike. He finds the gazebo empty, and frantically searches around buildings and up to the wood’s edge, yelling for Mike.

After killing the last sahuagin, Tychus’s rage ebbs, and he starts looking around for Jack. Reid help the Archive move the netted sahuagin’s body into their boat, thinking that EIDL might like to have a specimen, even if not a live one. They also move the other two bodies into the sea, where they will be disposed of by the sharks who can be seen circling offshore.

Tychus and Jack have entered the woods in their search for Mike. Tychus is following drag marks that he had found from the gazebo. They carefully wend their way through the narrow paths, carefully checking for ambush along the way. Reid and the Archive catch up before too long, and follow at Tychus’s inexplicably careful pace through the trees. In a small clearing, Jack spies a light resting in a birdbath. He recognizes it as a pipboy, and it can only be Mike’s.

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Jack rushes past Tychus, whose cautionary hiss goes entirely unheeded, and picks up the pipboy. Two more sahuagin enter from the trees, but one of them is different. It’s bigger, and has twice as many arms, and it goes straight for Jack. Tychus and Reid face the other sahuagin, the Archive attempts to pull the four-armed sahuagin away from Jack, and Jack yells “Not me, not again!” and runs down one path into the woods, away from the fight.

The two-armed sahuagin is quickly reduced to a stumbling, blindly swinging mess, and the four-armed one, seeing its disadvantage, retreats down the third path away from this clearing. Jack has returned from his detour, and sees it running and sprints after it. It reaches the sea and quickly outpaces him.

Back in the clearing, the rest of the party has finished the sahuagin and followed Jack, who dejectedly reports the four-armed sahuagin’s escape. The group returned to the clearing and debate what to do about Mike. Jack seems convinced that the sahuagin have taken him into the sea, but the Archive says that if that’s the case, there’s nothing they can do for him, so the best course of action is to search the rest of the woods and make sure he wasn’t dropped somewhere. If he can’t be found, then there will be reason to form a new plan. Tychus points out a path that they had passed further back, and the group returns there.

After a short way, there is another small clearing with a sign pointing out various destinations on the island. Tucked behind the sign, beaten and bloody and looking like he was mugged, is Mike, unconscious and bound. His bonds are cut, and Reid kneels next to him, placing his hands on Mike’s chest. A white mist forms around his hands, and Mike’s wounds and bruises start to look older. Not healed, but not fresh and raw, either. Tychus carries Mike back to the boat, and the group gathers up and gets ready to return.

(Sorry for the lateness. Maybe a reminder before the session starts next time so the person who’s responsible for the write up can take notes or something? I know there’s a turn order, but I will NEVER REMEMBER IT since there’s four sessions between my times.

Feel free to add anything you remember that I missed.)

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Gearing Up for Round 2!
Mental Cohesion

Nothing goes according to plan. Sometime that is exactly the plan though.

After our rather poorly received performance on our first trip into the field it was decided that we were in need of an actual training regime for our little band. Enter Keeper Colin!

Colin and his laid back approach to team integration seems to be working far better than might be expected for such an unusual set of individuals needing to be molded into and effective team. We have been working on side projects that have turned into impromptu team building exercises, and team building exercises that have lead to some (possibly scatter-brained) side projects. After the working on portals, portents, and paintball, we have been told that we are cleared to try and find out if our team can actually work in the field again.

Enter the Wide Wacky World of the Pacific Northwest. Aside from the usual suspects of Bigfoot and Cadborosaurus (sea serpents). There have been picnic goers and day trippers disappearing from the San Juan Islands lately with little to no explanation.

We are given the choice this time if we would like an invisible baby-sitter or not this time. We are given the tools we think we might need and a way to get out to the islands, and we start our investigation into the disappearances. Our best impressions, whether paintball geeks or FBI scary squad leave us with nothing after several interviews.

Our next try at another island actually gives us a good lead. With The Archive’s extra -planar knowledge about possible suspects and the evidence at hand, our target now seems as though we may be facing a sentient eating merfolk from another world.

We have set up our best trap to try to see if we can lure this man munching monster out where we can get them. Tychus is ready to bring the pain, with Reid Clemens, and Mike Jones, providing another punch, while The Archive and Jack Kilby act as bait.

Now we wait…

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Mission debrief (ps.)

Two final revelations occurred upon meeting our handler in Tacoma. One such juicy tidbit was the claim that an Agent had been right up with us in the Chupa-bungle incident. The Agent had been extremely well concealed and supposedly standing by to render emergency aid if the situation became to dire. It’s possible that he or it was following the group back to base as we trekked on foot. Since it was purportedly keeping tabs on us for the purpose of future missions, its possible that conversations previously thought to be clandestine were in fact observed.

On the other hand, the northwest station we are training at seems to have an overall low opinion and loose roll for its Agent. And, in fact they don’t seem to know or care what the agent does. But, one thing is for certain. Them Agents ain’t right.

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Mission De-brief
No good deed goes unpunished.

In the aftermath of the mission goin ass over tits, the team split up to return to base. Dr. Reid and Mike took the captured and sedated critter back to base in the transport while The Archive and Jack tromped back through the jungle, tailed by Tychus. While in the jungle, the Archive and Jack talked about new team goals, their misgivings with EIDL and how to keep themselves in the field instead of relegated to the EIDL bureaucratic death sentence. Tychus was intrigued to learn that the Archive was not from around here. The possibility of other worlds seemed tantalizing. However, this knowledge was tempered by a burnin desire to never visit the home world of chupa-things.

When the team arrived back, they split up to prepare for mission de-brief. Jack wrote up an account of the events and collaborated with Dr. Reid to ensure our side of the story was told. Dr. Reid and Jack also had a closed door discussion of the teams future.

A rather late and frazzled Al informed the team at the mission de-brief that the op had been technically a failure, but that there were mitigating circumstances. The failure to completely eliminate the threat was not positive, but the return of an intact team and a unique specimen was a positive development. The team was informed that they would be transferred to the Tacoma facility so that a teamwork specialist could trouble shoot them. Al seemed resigned as though he was sad to see us go and worried about our future. Tychus for his part held some consternation over getting re-assigned and wondered aloud how close to disbanding the team they were. Al, was so worried he even seemed apologetic to The Archive.

After individual team members sorted out their concerns with Al, the team met up for drinks and shenanigans on deck C-4. Drinking and carousing occurred. Strangely the diminutive Jack held his liquor the best and caroused the most. Meanwhile Mike and Tychus were done in by the shot of Al’s potent, “insert name.” The Archive made sure that hallucinating party members didn’t hurt themselves to badly and presumably documented the behaviors of idiots who drank glowing magic juice.

(Bort continue’s Sean’s tale)

The revelry was a nice way to close off ties with our all-too brief stay in Mexico. We flew out to Tacoma and were met by a strange man. He was large and outgoing and surprisingly friendly. He immediately put our fears about our performance to the side and took us to our new station. We got to briefly see the city, and he invited us all out to a dive where he was hosting karaoke. He drove us there in an old rig, like I hadn’t seen in years.

(Back to Sean)

Two final revelations occurred upon meeting our handler in Tacoma. One such juicy tidbit was the claim that an Agent had been right up with us in the Chupa-bungle incident. The Agent had been extremely well concealed and supposedly standing by to render emergency aid if the situation became to dire. It’s possible that he or it was following the group back to base as we trekked on foot. Since it was purportedly keeping tabs on us for the purpose of future missions, its possible that conversations previously thought to be clandestine were in fact observed.

On the other hand, the northwest station we are training at seems to have an overall low opinion and loose roll for its Agent. And, in fact they don’t seem to know or care what the agent does. But, one thing is for certain. Them Agents ain’t right.

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Hot Zone Drop
In over our heads.

Our driver, Steve (Dan? Joe?) dropped us off in the middle of the jungle. We hobbled the goat Tychus jokingly referred to as “Lawrence” and followed it into the thick jungle. Tychus & Mike took the lead, while The Archive, Jack & Reid followed a short distance behind.

If excitement was the goal, we were surely not disappointed. At first our noses found something was off, then the thick growth thinned near a stream; a fire had happened recently, and there were still embers about, slowly cooling. Following Tychus’ lead, we slowly fanned out, trying to keep our eyes on each other and Lawrence, despite the large trees and thick undergrowth.

Then movement was spotted, and all hell broke loose. First we saw a trio of the beasties, and then two more larger ones. A terrifying shriek was heard, and suddenly we were being assaulted from the air as well. Jack tranq’s one, but then the winged creature hurts him badly. The largest of the ground-bound had latched on to Reid’s shoulder. The Archive is surrounded, and the three smallest try to bring the lumbering giant down. Mike calmly puts holes in whatever target presents itself.

And then the strangest of things happens – Jack, whether in a fit of pain or a flash of brilliant insight, screams out a strange word, and the beasts stop their attacks. We paused a moment, dumbfounded, but Tychus was not to be dissuaded and he continued his assault.

Reid desperately fumbles for his wrist computer and finally hits the correct button – light blue mist fills the area and the creatures and our heroes wounds become less severe. An incredibly awkward standoff happens, as our party is torn between the mission and the feeling of being out numbered by the vicious creatures. The combatants slowly separate, and the beasts vanish into the night – leaving their drugged companion behind.

Our heroes called in our ride, and briefed the station on our findings. Command is not pleased, demanding we bring the sleeping monster back with us, lest our endeavor be classified a total failure. We argue amongst ourselves – clearly something profound has happened here, and maybe the beast should be with its own kind, not yet another test subject for a station that already has so many. It isn’t pretty. In the end, the creature is bound and loaded into the vehicle for the ride to base. A frustrated Archive opts to walk alone.

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