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Tiffany Korta

Bedlam Burning : The Quiet Place

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St. Romuald’s, Hardwick Park

10:00am, Tuesday, 23rd July 2019

 

In an area known for the dominance of one gang it was rare to find a place that managed to remain neutral, though no one would dare speak out, and until recently St Romuald had been known as neutral ground. Padre Miguel was a bear of a man who few would dare tussle with.

 

That was until recently when suddenly and without rhyme or reason he began to subtly, and not so subtly, change. With everyone concerned about the other problems going on around Hardwick Park very few were paying any attention, but there were a few that were paying attention... 

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Nicki Dee

Nicki had to admit that St Romuald was an impressive structure, in a rather bland town that reminded her of Lincoln turned up to eleven. Truth be told she wouldn’t have be here if she wasn’t following a trail that led from Freedom City to here. She’d already had some success but this was the final piece to try and find out who was behind this plan.

 

Merge Trois

Whist Nicki went in through the front door a Merge was sneaking around the back in what passed for subtle in her mind, a black catsuit with a zipped low an her blonde hair tied back in a ponytail a black stripe down the middle and another around the middle of the ponytail.

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Theo Ward knew Padre Miguel pretty well. They weren't quiet to the point of "weekly coffee and theology" but there had been rumbles about them and a couple of other pastors and priests organizing such a thing. So when Theo heard the Padre wasn't himself, he got moving as soon as he could to go visit. So it was that while others might be trying to stealth their way in, Pastor Ward was just strolling in, wearing a tshirt and skinny jeans, umbrella tucked under one arm ("just in case!"), and a grocery bag with a couple of "get well soon buddy" snacks in it. 

 

When he reached the door to the parish residence, he frowned at a passing feeling, then shook his head and knocked. 

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Wadjet 

 

Across the street, Esperanza put down her binoculars and cursed. She'd thought she'd have had the Padre to herself, but today was like Pulgas Day. Well, she wasn't going to let herself be scared off by all the new arrivals; and if she got a chance to make more people understand the venom of the Wadjet, good for her. After some consideration, she lowered herself off the rooftop where she'd been hiding and began the process of making her way towards the back door. Hey, if that lady was a bad guy, that really did make her the hero, right? 

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GM Post

Front of the Residency

The door to the residence was opened by a rather sour faced looking woman, who quickly looked Theo up and down and passed a less than positive rating.

 

“I’m sorry he’s already seeing...”

 

She was quickly cut off by the booming voice of the Padre, she rolled her eyes by stepped aside to let him into the house and led through to meet the man himself. A large well built man he didn’t quite seem to fit within the room, he was sat with a well dressed young woman.

 

“Mz Dee has travelled all the way from the East coast to come interview me! Why don’t you join us?”

 

Back of the Residency

From her vantage point Esperanza watched the strange woman wander up to the back and stare through the door for a few seconds, then things got a little stranger. The door was opened from the other side by someone who looked exactly the same, down to weird black steak through the hair.

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Wadjet took a few breaths and considered just turning around and leaving - or maybe putting a ball of fire into the house as she left. But what the hell, she was no coward, and she had no way of knowing if this situation was actually hostile. Figuring that the two women she'd seen must have been in a gang, she made her way slowly towards the building,  staying under cover until she'd reached the back door. It took several minutes, but she figured it was worth the trouble. Once there, she peered in the rear kitchen window, trying to scope the building out before she actually entered. 

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Theo gave an easy smile to the woman, then shrugged as the Padre invited them in. He set the bag of snacks down on a nearby end table.

 

"You need to get on the old ladies in your flock, Padre. I heard rumors you were under the weather but I think they just wanted to wag their tongues. An interview, you say? What about? If it's okay to join you I'd be more than happy to do so!"

 

He gave his fellow shepherd, and this apparent journalist, a nervous smile, even as he adjusted his glasses. 

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Nicki Dee

With a smile the young woman offered her hand to the newcomer.

 

“Nicki Dee, Freedom Ledger, please to me you sir.” she pointed to her press pass, that she’d borrow from some reporter she bumped into before she left freedom

 

 

“I’m here to do a piece on the good and bad of the city and I heard that this was a good place to start!”

 

This was a blip in her plan to find out what was going on, but she was happy to roll with the punches. It was always the fun part of this kind of investigation.

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Merge Trois

Now three the Merge’s were searching the kitchen, helpfully someone was watching those in the other room meaning she could search safely without worrying. In her overconfidence she’d missed that Wadjet was watching from the window.

 

Merge wasn’t quite sure what they’d fine, all they had was a name and vague hints of what was going on here, but they were somehow tied to what she’d found out back in Freedom and this was as good a place to look as the other places she’d checked out with her two undead boys.

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Wadjet thought about how to deal with this. Her instinct was to fire a smoke bomb into the building, make everyone run outside, and then go in and scope the place out and maybe lift some jewelry or something while she was in there. But the old lady had been on her case lately about making friends, and so with some reluctance she decided to try it. After drawing and cocking her chemical gun, anyway - there was no use in getting herself in trouble if it turned out there were fifty of what's her name in there and they'd all eaten the padre. You never could tell with Bedlam. 

 

From the back door she hissed, "Yo! Hickory Dickery Dock, what the #)# are you doing here?

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Theo smiled at the reporter. She seemed like a breath of fresh air in this city.

 

"Well, while some might argue there's a lot of bad and not a lot of good, I think you're in just the right place. Padre Miguel here is a fantastic beacon in the community, and I've come to him more than once to help sort out a problem. I'm more than willing to pitch in but I think he'll be your real ticket for the 'good stuff' angle, Miss Dee."

 

He stood from the chair he'd been in and turned toward the kitchen and hummed a bit.

 

"I'm thirsty. Does anyone want some tea or coffee or anything? I can get something cooking."

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Nicki Dee

Luckily Nicki was an expert in dealing with crisis situations, and smoothly smiled as she began to get up again from her seat.

 

“That sound delightful, I’ll come and help you out. No, no I insist it's the least I can do after such a nice welcome to your home. If you’ll just give me a second.”

 

Merge Trois

Merge was slightly less ladylike swearing as she was surprised by Wadjet. The two Merge’s snapped back to just the one as she gestured to the newcomer.

 

“Look I’ll explain in a moment, but we need to hide right now. This is all on the level I promise you!”

 

She gestured to the kitchens larder nearby with apparent urgency.

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Wadjet glared for just a moment (her face hidden behind her mask) - but then went for the larder, making sure that Merge Trois went in first. Wonder if she's going to pull her duplicate out and then set the place on fire, she thought as she took shelter inside the pantry. She found herself more intrigued than concerned by the idea. 

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Theo let the eager journalist lead the way. He called back over his shoulder to the priest as he walked.

 

"One or two sugars, Padre? You know how my sweet tooth is but you can never make up your mind."

 

He followed Nicki to the kitchen door; when he got there he stopped for a second as a frown flickered across his face. He shook his head, and the smile returned as he spoke with an ever-so-slight drawl.

 

"Gonna be honest ma'am, I mostly just know how to make bagged tea. Last few times I've been here, I just used those and a couple of sweetener packets. Not sure if you had fancier ideas, coming from a big, shiny city like Freedom."

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Merge Trois

Sneaking around the pantry Merge looked fo a good position to make sure neither were caught, having eye outside made it easy to know what was going on and not rely on peaking outside. However then one of her platforms made a hollower and rather loud clunk as she stood on it.

 

I think there something down here! Maybe stairs downwards?” she looked at her companion before she realized what she’d done.

 

Even with a perfect shared mind like Merge you could still do things without thinking, it was just that she had more brains to realized what they’d done.

 

Okay I guess time to come clean, the woman out there is with me we’re looking into what happened to the Padre.”

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Nicki Dee

It wasn’t often that Nicki was without words, she’d lived by controlling as much as she could in her environment. But apparently this city didn't want her to do that, and Merge for once had made a mistake, finding a potential clue as it happened but that was unusual.

 

She considered trying to bluff there way through this, maybe a simple rat knocking over boxes or something. But time was short to follow this lead and she might need help if this was more complicated.

 

Okay I guess time to come clean, the woman over there is with me we’re looking into what happened to the Padre.” the two spoke in almost unison as if they were somehow the same person.

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Theo blinked and tilted his head, almost canine in his curiosity. Then his eyes narrowed as he looked between the two women who spoke as one. 

 

"Who are you? And what, exactly, do you mean, what happened to him?"

 

He stood straighter, his slight frame somehow acting like it filled more space than it actually did. He frowned deeply and reached up to lift his glasses away from his face. He used the opening to rub the bridge of his nose.

 

"Why are you here, now, like this? If you're planning to hurt him, I'm warning you how bad of an idea that is."

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Wadjet threw open the larder door and declared in a tone of deep frustration, "We wouldn't be here talking about it, would we? Priest goes wrong, gotta be something bad. Lots of people already want his head on a plate.There, Mama, who says I don't pay attention to the priest's lesson?  

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The skinny preacher boy looked annoyed now.

 

"I'm not calling for help so clearly I at least somewhat believe you. But standing around, growling and posturing, doesn't help. I know something's up but for all I know he could be legitimately sick. What do you both know? Why are, are...supers...involved in this?"

This was Bedlam. You didn't say "hero" unless you were pretty darn sure. 

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Merge Trois and Nicki Dee

The friendlier looking of the two, Nicki in this case, spoke first as she began to explain what they knew.

 

The truth is that we are from Freedom, but I’m not a reporter. This was just the easiest way to get to talk to the Padre.”

 

Let’s just cut to the chase he’s not the real Padre.” Merge added a little curt

 

I was getting to that! We found out that someone here is trying to buy out and sell this area to Freedom City investors, but the Padre was the big holdout making the local resist the offers.”

 

So they’ve replaced him with some sort of mimic, that why he’s apparently been so off.”

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Wadjet 

 

Wadjet said a foul word in Ancient Egyptian. "Well let's kick his ass," she opined a moment after that. "Shapeshifter'll turn back if you hit him hard enough, then we can make him squeal." She racked the slide on her gun and looked at the others, her masked face implacable. She considered how to answer the question about why she was involved, then grunted. "Like I said. Priest goes bad - hurts everybody.

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Theo's eyes widened a bit at the accusation of the Father not being himself in a literal sense. They then narrowed as the other person menaced things with a gun.

 

"Whoa whoa whoa hold on. Do you have...proof? I'm not saying it's completely unbelievable, but that's a pretty big claim to make, right? How did they even do that? Do you have some kind of test we can do? I don't want to let you just go in there guns blazing."

 

He eyed Wadjet with some suspicion and plenty of concern. She seemed a bit too eager.

 

Inside his heart and soul, his power, his other self, stirred angrily. If these words were true, there was a debt to pay. 

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"Wasn't gonna shoot him, man," said Wadjet, "Just beat him up a little bit, really piss him off so he does the tentacle thing." She mimed it. "You know, like with Grue?

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"Can we maybe not immediately go to pistol-whipping a priest? Like, you're asserting he's been replaced. What if he's possessed? Or, much more likely, they shoved some kind of worm in his brain?"

 

Theo ran a hand through his hair and looked back toward the living room, taking a step closer to the two women and lowering his voice further. He was clearly no threat, so the step wasn't something to elicit a counter-move.

 

"I'm as upset about this idea as anyone. The father is a friend of mine. Unlike you, Big City Girl, or you Miss I Like Guns, I actually know and care about this man."

 

There was some anger in his voice; some directed at Wadjet, but some at the situation.

"Look, let's try this. I go in there and see if I can trip up this mimic or alien brain bug or whatever. If he flips out and comes after me, you two bust in and distract him. I have a...friend...who can come help, he's, ah, nearby. I can dash out and get him, and he can come in and help you two. Would that work?"

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Nicki Dee

Nicki was almost exasperated by this violent child desire to create bedlam in well Bedlam. At least the priests seemed to have some common sense about him. Though she really wished she’d had a chance to do this with just the two of her.

 

I agree plugging the Padre in front of his house keeper is not a good idea in the slightest! Our best bet is to split up and double our chances, this shifter need to keep the original around so if the two of you check out the basement or crypt or whatever he has under his pantry.”

 

It wasn’t much of a plan, but it was the only one they really had.

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