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Bedlam City

October 31, 2020 - Sundown

 

"H-hey, how long is this gonna take already?" Robert Meza asked for the dozenth time, fiddling with the expensive looking watch on his wrist and looking about the interrogation room as though he was going to spot something new inside the four dour walls. His chair creaked as he shifted his weight about and his flop sweat made his dark hair fall limply against his forehead.

 

"You got somewhere you'd rather be, Meza? There's the door," Detective Montgomery snapped irritably. Heavyset and red faced he'd left his jacket draped over the back of the chair across from Meza while he paced back and forth in front of the two-way mirror. "The ADA's running late is all. Once she gets your statement, we get you out of the city for a while, like you asked. So until then, just shaddup, yeah?"

 

Meza drew his shoulders together and ducked his head slightly then looked about the room again. "Yeah, yeah, okay. But what's he doing here?"

 

The third man in the room, lounging in a chair in the corner raised an eyebrow over one ice blue eye. "Lucky for you your lawyer knows a police station is a pretty stupid place to go if you wanna avoid anybody on the Mara's payroll," Lou Lubrano replied dryly, smirking in Montgomery's direction. He tugged at the cuffs on his rumpled suit jacket. "Consider me insurance. You like insurance, right Robbie? Firebug like you?"

 

The informant looked away but set his jaw, hands palm down on the table in front of him. "Look, I'm not saying I'm no angel. But I hadda do something this time. Th-they was just kids, y'know? Ain't right."

 

Lubrano's expression remained impassive, partially concealed by his black beard but he paused in silence for a moment. "Yeah, Robbie. I know."

 

A tinny rendition of a cheerful pop tune broke the heavy silence permeating the room. "@#$% ringtone," Montgomery swore as he stomped back to the table and fished a phone out of his jacket pocket. "Yeah?! Of course I'm-- what? You got held up by what?!"

 

With a sudden groan Meza collapsed over the table in front of him, muscles spasming. Lubrano was on his feet in an instant but stopped mid-step at a screeching noise. Mesa's fingernails, suddenly more bestial talons than anything, were carving deep trails in the metal surface. When his head shot up it was with luminous yellow eyes and teeth too large and too sharp for his jaw. He opened his mouth to ask a question but all that came out was a confused growl. He thrashed with another spasm and the table was tossed away from him, torn free of the rusted bolts attaching it to the floor. Montgomery went for his sidearm but was caught in the shoulder by the flying furniture on its way to smash into the two-way mirror, spiderweb cracking but not quite shattering.

 

With tearing polyester, cracking bone and popping watch links Meza's form doubled then tripled in size, becoming a hulking creature covered in dark fur that towered over Lubrano. The beast stumbled froward a step before throwing its head back in a deafening howl, a sound that could be heard faintly echoed through the walls of the police station. Suddenly seized by a need to get away Meza leapt forward, swatting Lubrano aside like a straw dummy and crashing through the mirror in a rain of broken glass.

 

Forcing himself back to his feet and ignoring Montgomery's attempts to free himself from under the dented table, Lubrano looked through the broken pane to see the path the werewolf had torn through the adjoining room and out of the building. Pulling a pack of cigarettes from his pocket he shook one loose without looking away and put it unlit between his lips. "...huh."

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Wadjet

 

From her rooftop perch, Esperanza Azul watched the werewolf tear its way out of the police station and go loping away down the street. She stared, eyes wide behind her goggles, and spat está bien pijeado! under her breath. She managed a shot, wild, the ball bursting near the beast as it went loping away into the darkness. There's no way I'm fast enough to catch that thing. Luckily she knew someone who was. She took out her comm, dialed a Freedom City number - and 

 

Lady Horus 

 

"Ah jeez, ah jeez..." It had only taken a minute for Anna to get out of the bathtub, dry herself off, wrap her hair in a towel, and grab her phone. It might as well have been an eternity. "It was a -what? Did it look like it ate him? Well there'd be blood and guts and stuff, I've seen werewolves honey they ain't what you'd call dainty eaters-okay, okay, jeez! On my way! But you gotta get out there too." She zipped over to the Helm of Horus where it lay by her bed, raised it high, and called 

 

BY THE MIGHT OF HORUS!

 

And so it was a few minutes later, the Avenger of Evil, Lady Horus herself, came zipping down in front of the hole in the side of the police station, a glowing star in the darkness of the Bedlam night. The first thing she called, hands spread, was "Lo! Parley! Let us not fight each other tonight, noble guardians of justice - there are wolves in Bedlam!

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Gremlin

 

"Company incoming," a young voice warned Lou over their earbuds, watching Lady Horus go flying in through the building's new side-door. Alice Ishikawa was sitting up on the corner of a nearby building, watching the police, watching other watchers - she'd have waved at the latter, but it would have betrayed her hiding spot and her pride wouldn't have taken it. She'd also been watching a werewolf tear its way out of the building and go running off to points unknown.

 

That had been interesting, at least. Watching got boring if there was nothing fun to watch. "So, Lou," she added, conversationally, "Lou. Lou-lou, Lou. How come a wolfman came running out of your building, Lou?"

 

She brought herself upright, stretching from side to side and shaking the stakeout stiffness out of her hands. "That wasn't you, was it Lou? Did you touch a wolf? That sound pretty great," she admitted, hopping onto a fire escape and making her way down to street level. She'd pulled some long, thin cloth out of somewhere and was busy wrapping her hands and arms. "Pretty great," she repeated, "except you didn't let me pet it and also a wolfman's loose on the city. Where did you even find a wolf to touch, Lou?"

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Doctor Rosa Thorne

Something was off, not just the general ickiness of Bedlam, but the magical fields of the city seemed to be in flux. But bills needed to be paid so Liam had been in control for most of the day, trying to keep the constant grumbling of Rosa down as he followed around a potentially cheating husband. The occult related crimes didn’t pay the bills and Bedlam wasn’t a city were the supernatural folk active semi openly, it didn’t take much for a mob to form in the foul city at the best of time.

 

So it was with some surprise when driving home for a massive werewolf to come lumbering down the road, with an obvious damaged building showing where had potentially come from. It was a big enough deal, and a shock to Liam, that Rosa could easily take over and climb out of the window (it didn’t roll up anyway) to get a better look at the fleeing creature.

 

That no traditional Lycanthrope.” she loudly wandered to herself as much as the hero she caught out of the corner of her eye

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He had gone out as Judex earlier, anticipating it would be a rough night. Galen knew Halloween was not as "fun" in Bedlam as in other cities, as in his home. He'd locked up the church and his office, made his last calls for the day, then let the change take him. 

 

'How ironic, the Lord sends one who wears a mask of flesh to protect against those with a mask of cloth. The shepherd must move amidst the sheep like a robber...'

 

Judex did his best to steer clear of police stations as a general rule. But tonight was already turning strange; he'd seen several folks who looked less-controlled than normal, even for Bedlam. And he swore that three blocks back, there'd been a thug he'd driven off from a lady of the night who was starting to grow claws before the man turned and disappeared in the alleyways of the city.

 

So in the midst of it all, he'd ended up close to one of the precincts. Which is why he heard the unearthly howls, and the screams and crashes as the beast tore loose from the precinct. He was two blocks away, but it was a big werewolf. 

 

"Lord have mercy, the trials that must be faced tonight..."

 

Without a second thought, Judex began running up the street, one hand keeping his hat on in the sudden wind-gust that had come from seemingly nowhere...

 

 

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"No, I can't turn into a friggin' werewolf. Probably. That was Meza," Lou grumbled to Alice through his earpiece as he stepped out through the hole left where the metal door in the station's wall had been torn from its hinges and taken chunks of brick along with it. "And don't try to touch wolves. Christ."

 

He looked to the brightly lit figure of Lady Horus and and paused for a moment, expression stoic. He paused to rummage in his pants pocket for a lighter and lit the cigarette still held in his mouth. He took a long drag then gave the heroine a small wave. "Hey, how you doin'. Lou Lubrano. Not a cop."

 

As if on cue a trio of uniformed officers rounded the corner from the front of the station and drew their sidearms, pointing them at Lady Horus. "Freeze!" the one in the front of the pack shouted, a blond with an impressively thick neck straining the collar of his shirt.

 

"You can tell 'cause I didn't immediately embarrass myself like a $#@%," Lou clarified, raising his voice to address the officers. "The guy that just turned into a huge friggin' wolf man and booked it out of here is supposed to be testifying right now. Kinda need him back." He didn't seem at all concerned that he was standing in the line of fire as well.

 

Meza's rampage had taken him out of view of Wadjet and Alice's respective perches but from the ground level Judex and Thorne were able to see him hang a right, knocking a mailbox high into the air as he went. Another howl pieced the night but was abruptly drowned out by the sound of thundering engines as three shapes sped down the street after the arsonist turned werewolf down the cross street.

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"In Ra's name, you show wisdom today, defenders of Bedlam!" declared Lady Horus, her glowing ankh at her side but not actually deployed. "Thou art a man," she added Lou's way, thinking Well at least he ain't bad-lookin' "I do not know if thy eyes are turned to the Heavens, but this - enwolfening has spread across the globe this very night, and this fellow be not the only one so afflicted, so put thy garrison here on high alert! There must have been nigh half a dozen on the streets I spied, and for a beast against a man those be dangerous odds." Not for the first time, she regretted that vampire business kept Niccy busy in Freedom City so much. 

 

"Somebody's out there." Wadjet had made her appearance by the side of the hole, carefully positioning herself so the bulletproof Lady Horus was between herself and the armed cops. "In cars, I think, chasing the wolf.

 

"By Thoth's avian pizzle," Lady Horus declared. "Do our great foes the Mara plan so far ahead? Or is it the other - the - nay, let us not speak of him here." Looking around, she sized the group up then said, "Lubrano, hast thou a smartphone? I know one wise in the ways of magic here - perhaps the greatest such in Bedlam. But be you respectful of their pronouns, lest we have an even greater struggle afoot." The number she gave was Dr. Thorne's. 

 

"Cadaverine," commented Wadjet, a smirk in her accented voice even if her face and body were still fully concealed by her mask and costume. "Hit his ass with enough he'll be smelling up the place for days. Can probably track that.

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"Gross!" chimed Alice, brightly, dropping down to ground-level near the rest; she'd wrapped her forearms and shins, pulling the otherwise nondescript civilian clothes into an approximation of her work outfit. A nice red scarf buried her lower face and did distressingly little to suppress or muffle her sass. "Useful, but super gross. I want some."

 

Under no circumstances would anyone who knew Alice allow her anything called 'cadaverine'.

 

"So we need the wolfman back so that he can tell wolf truths in court, seems fun. Seems like-" she paused, leaning comically sideways to peer at the cops past Lou. She, too, was very carefully keeping someone durable between herself and the guns.  "....you guys are super embarrassing. Shouldn't you be, like, filing things in triplicate and shaking kids down for their candy, or whatever? Seems like the rest of us should maybe go follow the wolfman before he makes it out of the city or gets caught by the car people."

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Judex happened to spot Thorne nearby. A grin split his bushy-bearded face.

 

"Hullo friend!"

 

He kept running after the wolf, his pace exceeding that a man in his apparent condition ought to be able to achieve. Indeed, he looked to be gaining steam despite outpacing all but the most elite of sprinters...

 

"Seems we found ourselves a wolf among the sheep in flesh, instead of merely in spirit! Come, my fellow shepherd, we must protect the lambs!"

 

With a laugh, Judex leaned into his run and picked up more speed still....

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Doctor Rosa Thorne

Whilst the were creature was a fascinating beast, and part of a larger puzzle that Rosa couldn’t help but want to solve, she was aware that most of the few heroes of the city were here. Except for that vampire, who she missed, and that hammer person she very much did not. It was also important not to lose sight of the beast, so putting her fingers to her lips she whistled loudly to try and get those she knew about attention.

 

If anyone needs a lift I suggest you jump in, or one, the car right now.”

 

With a friendly wave to Judex, who obviously didn’t need her help, she slipped back into the car and began to revved the engine ready to move off as soon as possible. With the thrill of a mystery at hand she couldn’t almost see what people saw in these metal deathtraps.

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At Thorne's arrival, Lady Horus declaimed, "Lo, she comes as if summoned! The magic is strong this night indeed. Behold, companions, the Archmage of Bedlam herself!" She raised her ankh with her left hand, rising into the air, and declared, "Follow me that we may save our witness tho he bears the face of dread Anubis!" before she took off into the darkened streets of Bedlam, a shining comet of light. 

 

Wadjet said a bad word in Spanish and said, "Ah dammit. She can't smell anything with that thing on and she's faster than a car in the air. But she says the day she rides in a car when she can use her powers is the day they put her six feet under," she said to no one in particular. "Shotgun, cabrones," she added before leaping into the open front passenger window of the car, her smoothly polished paintball gun perched on her lap. "Hope you have insurance!" 

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"Appreciate you noticing," Lou drawled in response to Lady Horus affirming his gender in a manner he chose to interpret as a compliment. He produced a brick of a phone with a screen shattered just shy of becoming unreadable from his jacket while giving Alice a short, "No cadaverine, Jesus," without looking up. By the time he'd fumbled around the touchscreen menus to dial the provided number Thorne was already whistling for their attention. The officers with their guns drawn looked back and forth in distress as a wild man charged past like a galloping horse on one side and Lady Horus shot off like a comet on the other. The blond uniform cop's shoulder slumped in bewildered defeat as the remaining apparently mortal but very mouthy group walked right past them to jump in Thorne's car and head off in pursuit of the Meza's lupine form.

 

With her head start Lady Horus soon caught sight of three far more outrageous vehicles racing after her quarry. Out front was a compact rally car in gleaming candy apple red with black and white racing stripes across the roof and the muzzles of two business like machine guns dovetailing out of the hood, spray short bursts of fire as the car wove nimbly through oncoming traffic. It quickly closed the distance to Meza and raced past before spinning in a tight 180 degree turn to cut of his escape, nearby store windows shattering as bullets flew with abandon.

 

Just behind was a long nosed muscle car in faded green marred by scrapes that exposed unpainted metal with wide tires and a half dozen exhaust pipes belching gouts of flame. As the werewolf abruptly changed direction and sprinted down a side street the green car drifted effortlessly to one side, used a nearby parked car as a ramp and soared through an airborne spin to land in the correct direction and continue racing after him.

 

Bringing up the rear was a vehicle that seemed more battering ram than car. Broad, boxy and armoured, the portions that weren't covered in wrought iron spikes and blades were a cheerful baby blue. As Anna watched it rode up onto the sidewalk and plowed the its vicious looking front end into a fire hydrant, sending the metal cylinder flying away and continuing on without slowing for an instant, sending any remaining pedestrians fleeing in all directions.

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"This would be pretty great if it weren't for the guns," said Alice; there was a grin somewhere under that scarf, but her voice held less delight and more nervous energy with no outlet. Cars were too small; Alice had never been one for claustrophobia, but with fixed guns on a moving vehicle she could track trajectories in her head, map out where the bullets would go as the machine moved, and how very little space she had to dodge when stuck in a small metal box.

 

She'd never liked guns much.

 

"We should get a car," she added, apparently to Lou, though her eyes never stopped tracking the whole scene at once. "A good one. A stealth car. With rockets, and you should let me drive it all the time. We should also probably take out a tire on the heavyweight there? I bet it turns like a cow in a grocery cart even when it has all its rubber. What're the odds someone can do that without us losing the wolf I'm not supposed to touch?"

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"She says cars just get you attention from the wrong sort of cape," commented Wadjet as she cracked open her gun just long enough to load it with something from her belt. It was abundantly clear who _she_ was - "I say she just doesn't want to have to teach me how to drive. Hey Thorne, you got any magic in this engine?" she asked, trying to take aim out the window as they approached the pursuing vehicles. 

 

Up in the sky, the golden arc that was Lady Horus swooped upward impossibly fast with a boom that made Wadjet cluck her tongue. "Mierda, they really pissed the old lady off-" she commented before Lady Horus went down like a falling star towards the lead car among the hunters - and then, when she'd passed them all and let them know she was _there_, Lady Horus pulled up by Thorne's car and called 


"ART THOU READY?

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Doctor Rosa Thorne

Yes I have just a solution for that's, its called the internal combustion engine.” she floored the accelerator to make the rather ancient battered car pick up speed

 

Magic should always be used sparingly and at important things, like curing someone of this form of Lycanthropy.”

 

The other vehicles that seems to join the chase were a problem, this poor automobile wasn’t exactly at the best for this kind of encounter.

 

If you could maybe do something about those other vehicles that would be very helpful, whilst I will endeavour to keep this vehicle on the road mostly intact.”

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Judex had been trying to keep pace on foot, but he was falling behind the werewolf, and Thorne's car was rapidly catching him up. Then out of nowhere, vehicles that looked like they fit more in a Mad Max movie than anything else came roaring in. One of them had guns, and one of them was more like a small bus than a car. 

 

'Lord, this is what friends are for!' he thought to himself as Thorne pulled even with his dashing form by happenstance. 

 

"Hullo my fellow shepherds and sheepdogs! Seems we have cheetahs in the midst of the sheep now!"

 

His arm snapped out and grabbed the edge of one of the open windows, the one next to Wadjet.

 

"Fancy seeing you here, Miss Paintball!"

 

With seemingly no effort, Judex leapt into the air, swung himself about by the hand grabbing the car, and executed a perfect three-point landing on the roof. While the car was in motion. His laughter bellowed almost as loud as the sounds the werewolf made, or the roaring of the car engines. He slapped the roof once.

 

"Get me close to the big one!"

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Thorne's car didn't have much hope of keeping up with the trio of bizarre vehicles ahead of them even without a mountain of hirsute muscle on the roof but thankfully it only needed to catch up with the werewolf those cars were pursuing. Unfortunately that point wasn't lost on the hired guns either and while the green muscle car pulled a hand break turn to continue after Meza he juked about side streets and and swung from fire escape ladders the rally car spun about and began driving in reverse in front of the carpooling heroes so that they could see the gregarious smile of its driver. With a shaved head and chiseled cheekbones accentuated by light stubble he could be seen causally flipping a switch near his rearview mirror before his voice boomed over the car's sound system.

 

"Hullo Bedlam and Happy goddamn Halloween, eh?" he greeted with a pronounced Derbyshire accent. "Werewolves! You really know how to show out-of-towners a good time and we want to thank you by putting on a show." Despite looking straight at Thorne's car he was managing to artfully avoid the cars abandoned in the middle of the road by fleeing citizens. "Introductions! We're the Drive-Bys. Our adoring public call me Hard Bargain and the spicy stunt driver currently turning your snitch into roadkill is U-Crazy. But I guess the one you ought to be worried about is my mate Thru!"

 

Hard Bargain's glossy red racer abruptly spun out of the way revealing the third car slamming on its breaks in front of the heroes, creating a wall of armour plates directly in Thorne's path!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Doctor Rosa Thorne

Rosa wasn’t the greatest driver of the two but she was fascinated enough by the lycrathrope she kept control to learn what she could about the beast, besides with the sudden appearance of the werewolf another person appearing in the drivers seat may not go down well. She’d pick up enough however to release what they were going to do next, that and Liam screaming in her mind.

 

I suggest people buckle up things are probably going to get a little uncomfortable.”

 

With that she threw the wheel to avoid a potentially collision, the old car complaining loudly that it really wasn’t build for this kind of manoeuvrer.

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As the street racer mercenaries introduced themselves, Judex simply snorted in vague amusement.

 

"Wolves in tin clothing." he muttered to himself.

 

But then one of them started charging directly at Dr. Thorne's ride. Judex was a brave man, but not a stupid one. Thorne would have to swerve; the car simply couldn't take that sort of collision. Truth be told, neither could he. Or rather, he couldn't handle colliding directly with all of those armor plates. 

Now, getting over those plates, maybe getting to the windshield? That he thought he could handle. He crouched further, and his legs tensed up. When next he spoke, his Southern-accented voice thundered loud enough to be heard within Thorne's car. 

 

"The Lord made a path for the rain...."

 

Thorne's car hit the apex of its turn, and Judex bellowed his voice even as he extended his legs in a mighty leap.

 

"AND A PATH FOR THE THUNDERBOLT!"

 

His flight path took him directly at Thru's windshield....

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