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[Interceptors] Zombie Powder is a Helluva Drug [IC]

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Date: February 6th, 2010 (Saturday)

Time: 7:00pm, an hour and a half past sunset.

25 degrees F, winds NNW @ 15 mph (wind chill 13 degrees F), overcast skies.

14.6 inches of snow fell the previous night, a new record. And it's all still on the ground.

The good news: Colt, Grimalkin, and Jack of All Blades were inside, out of the bitter cold (not that it really bothered Grim much). Sure, they were inside a run-down, abandoned house in the Fens, but at least the howling winds weren't bothering them.

The bad news: the dozens of howling zombies outside, banging on the doors and boarded-up windows, were a concern.

It had seemed like a good place to go to at the time. This is where their leads told them one of the two new drug labs was set up. They expected resistance, but not this!

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"Well, now you know!" Jack replied flippantly. The swashbuckler has formed a sword from a sliver of Grim's glamour magic, reasoning that of his available choices it was the one to which the shambling masses outside were least likely to be resistant. The pale green blade shimmered, spiraling about lazily in his grip. "It's kind of poetic," he continued as he looked about for furniture to push against the doors and windows. "We were looking for drugs, we found zombies. It's like a metaphor, huh? A regular Interceptors After School Special."

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Grim poked her head up to take a look out a window, then turned back to yell at Colt, her breath clouding before her face. "Hey, I don't see why you're complaining, you've got guns!" She flicked out her wicked claws and flexed her fingers. "I actually have to touch the ugly bastards!" She made a nauseated face.

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Most of the available furniture -- a worn couch, a few mattresses from upstairs, and the tables and chairs of the drug lab setup -- had already been used to block the doors (one in front, one on the side) and fill in the gaps at the already-boarded up windows.

The only thing in the house that wasn't being used to shore up defenses was the body of an unconscious man, which lie curled on the floor. He might be able to help sort things out... if the Interceptors could get him out alive.

The zombies outside continue hammering with their bare fists, fists that show remarkable strength as the punch holes in the doors and windows, and makes the walls of the house shake.

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With his back to the wall, Colt quickly reached into his coat and withdrew a shiny steel colored shotgun. Checking to see that it was loaded, he called to grim, "Think fast!" and tossed the shotgun her direction.

"Now ya won't have ta worry 'bout breakin' a nail. Here. I reckon y'll need these too." Colt slid a box of shotgun shells along the ground to stop a Grim's feet.

Rolling away from cover, he stuck Marlin's barrel through one of the holes a zombie had just created and fired it. "Yer gonna have ta work fer yer meal!"

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Grim's eyes popped out of her head when she realized what she'd just caught. "You threw me a shotgun?! I've never fired a gun in my life, you crazy redneck!" However, the fact that they were in fact fighting zombies did make the gun a good idea, at least as long as they were still outside the building. "Fine, but if I hit one of you two, you'll be sorry!"

It took her a few seconds to figure the simple mechanism out, but as soon as she did she jammed the barrel through one of the new zombie-created holes.

"Here, chew on this, you disgusting meatsack!"


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"What, you have extra guns just on you?" Jack asked Colt as he moved to the center of the room. "Just in case you need a housewarming gift or party favours suddenly?" There wasn't much the swordsman could do to battle the horde outside until they broke into the building, so he resolved to take the opportunity to concentrate solely on his metahuman energy awareness, extending it to it's outer limits and searching for an explanation to their unbelievable situation. Are these things the same as Dead Head, or are we dealing with something totally different? And what's their connection to this drug lab?

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The gathered creatures finally batter down the front door, and you can at last see exactly what they are. They shuffle like zombies, they beat down doors like zombies, they moan like zombies, they stare unblinkingly like zombies, but they are dressed in the fashion of common gangbangers. In fact, they all look like they could've been members of one of the two gangs you faced earlier today, the one which had been accused of stealing large quantities of drugs and money from the other gang, an action which had started the mini-war which brought you all out here in the first place.

Grim takes careful aim... squeezes the trigger... and is knocked back a bit as the zombie's head asplodes.

Jack's senses tell him that they are truly undead. In fact, the energy animating them appears to be the same as that which drives Dead Head, though where Dead Head is a raging bonfire, these are but tiny embers. And there was another 'ember' inside the gang member crumpled on the floor!

Colt & Marlin takes out three, the one he'd aimed at and two directly behind it.

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Jack opened his eyes with a grimace. Necromancy always squicked him out; the animating magics felt almost like normal humans, but just a little bit off, like a piano out of tune or rotting fruit. It made his skin crawl. Flippin' uncanny valley... Shaking it off, he turned to the man on the floor as he called to the others. "Good news, bad news time, kids. Those things are dead enough we can go all out, and they're pretty weak, but whatever's got them doing the Thriller reenactment, this punk's got it too. It's like... an infection or taint. Only he's still kicking. I don't really get what the deal is, but I'm thinking we don't want to risk getting bitten or anything. I'm way too pretty to be a rotting corpse."

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"Good news, bad news time, kids. Those things are dead enough we can go all out, and they're pretty weak, but whatever's got them doing the Thriller reenactment, this punk's got it too. It's like... an infection or taint. Only he's still kicking. I don't really get what the deal is, but I'm thinking we don't want to risk getting bitten or anything. I'm way too pretty to be a rotting corpse."

Grim laughed mirthlessly as she worked the pump action; she really needed to talk to Colt about gun training in the future if he was going to keep throwing shotguns at her. "Yeah, and these guys are too rotting to be pretty!" The shapeshifter leveled her weapon at another shambling corpse and fired. She indicated the man on the floor with a jerk of her chin. "So do we think we can save this guy, or is he a lost cause?"

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Jack shrugged irritably. "What am I, a zombologist? I don't know." Seeing his teammates fell the undead horde one at a time with their firearms was frustrating for the fencer, and not just because of his strong dislike of guns in the first place. The hero wasn't one to sit out a crisis and let others handle things. At this rate, by the time the shambling monsters had gotten close enough for him to work, there would be little left for him to do. As a trio of zombies crashed through the window and tore their way inside the house, he made up his mind.

"Right, you ugly cusses, time for a lesson in why Jack of all Blades is the sex," he informed his oblivious opponents as he stalked forward, shimmering blade held loosely at his side. As he approached, one of the creatures finally noticed him and looked up, just in time to have it's skull bisected directly through its gummy orbs. Capitalizing on the momentum of his swing, Jack carved the next zombie in line from the top of its ear down through its opposite shoulder before pressing on and splitting the third from its navel to its scalp.

Brushing past the corpses as they toppled to the floor, the swashbuckler casually skewered the beast immediately outside the broken window through is vacant face. "Pheh," he grunted in disdain, vaulting over the shards of glass and outside. The leap added power to a broad swing that brought down another set of zombies before the swordsman's feet had touched the ground. Bounding forward again, he began to cut a swath through the mob, gore and partially congealed body fluids trailing from his energy rapier as he moved through the crowd with a deadly grace. For once Jack was able to cut loose and reveal the full extent of his terrible mastery.

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Colt looked at Grim. "Hold down th' fort. I reckon this won't take'a minute." He ran at the same window Jack had just exited. Tucking, and rolling through the remaining glass shards, he tumbled into the small area of empty street that Jack had just created. Rolling up into a standing position he shot a look at Jack. "You slice'n'dice. I'll make them fries."

Colt drew Jericho from the holster at his hip. He shot at the nearest zombie, the bullet took it's head clean off. Without releasing the trigger, he used his left hand to hammer the weapon, firing another bullet. This one shot towards Jack, taking out another zombie just on the other side of him. Three more zombies to Colt's left bit the dust after literally eating three more bullets. Another three zombies in front of Colt lost arms and legs to his shots. The eight chamber revolver emptied, Colt drew a clip of bullets from his pocket. He tossed it into the air, rolled backwards into a standing position, and emptied the current clip all in the same motion. The airborne clip fell right into his outstretched hand and he slammed it into Jericho's chamber. Colt was now moving so fast that it was difficult to see him clearly. Before Jack or Grim knew what happened, the remaining seven zombies had fallen.

"An' that's how ya do it." Colt drawled, taking the time to blow the smoke from Jericho's barrel before he twirled it around a finger and dropped it back into its holster.

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Jack of All Blades kayaked through half of the zombie horde, while Colt took out the other half with a flurry of well-aimed rapid-fire shots. In a flash, the three dozen undead were merely dead-dead.

As the trio calmed down, but before Jack made it back into the house, Colt & Grim heard a sound, a sound of something heavy slowly skittering towards them.

It was the man who'd been in the center of the room, who'd "fainted" after you had all heard the zombies approaching the building. Judging by his jerky movements and thousand-yard stare, it would appear his collapse was less "fainting spell" and more "failure of an already drug-damaged heart." And now he was a zombie, scrabbling (slowly) towards Grimalkin.

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Grim was pretty stunned by the impressive body count her two teammates racked up. "Wow, you killed them all in like less than thirty seconds! Mad props to the manly killin' dudes!" Then she saw the man they'd hope to save crawling towards her, his eyes and jaw slack.

"Ahh!" :o

She pointed the shotgun right at his head and let 'er rip.

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"Honestly, Sweetie," Colt addressed Grim as he climbed back through the window. "I reckon I'd be upset if'n we didn't take'em all out that fast. It's what we do." Colt unloaded his pistol, and reloaded it. It was a calming motion. Once the chambers were full, he slid it back into it's holster.

"Now, what've we got here?" Colt looked around, trying to take stock of there surroundings. They had been forced to rush into the shelter, and hadn't yet had time to observe their surroundings.

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"Pfft, check out Mr. Zombies-Are-No-Big," Jack snorted as he ambled over, flicking his arms to slough gore from his sleeves. Not for the first time, the swordsman was glad he'd included gloves in his outfit. "Who am I?" Jack spread his hands before him, palms outward and waving back and forth in mock panic. He adopted an exaggerated version of Colt's signature twang. "Zombies?! Why didn't nobody tell me 'bout all the zombies?! Nobody said nothin' bout no zombies!" Dropping his hands to his sides and resuming his normal tone, he cracked his neck. "And I'm going to assume you learned to do all that shooting on robot drones or something," he added dryly.

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The place was a shambles, though it had not exactly been in pristine condition when you three had arrived. What spares furniture there was had been moved to block the windows and doors, but those were now all broken.

The place had been a crack house, one of many in the Fens. All of you had seen these types of places, though Grim was particularly familiar with the type. The first piece of furniture that had been taken to bar the entries was a large table which had held assorted drug-making paraphernalia (which now lay strewn about and smashed on the floor; when Colt had taken that table, that's when the drug peddler's drug-taxed heart gave out and he collapsed.

An examination of the drug peddler's wares would reveal it was two drugs, a liquid in dozens of small syringes (some adorned with a red bull, some with a red bear), and a gray powder in small snuff boxes. Grimalkin knew these were Max (a steroid used by adrenaline junkies and eXtreme sports figures) and Zombie Powder (which gave a preternatural sense of calm, but was also rumored to raise you as a zombie if you died while under its effects).

Jack's energy senses picked up faint traces of necromantic magic in the powder, the same type he'd sense in the zombies.

Colt's found that one of the snuff boxes was slightly heavier than the others. Tentatively opening it, he found it to be filled with a gray sludge instead of the fine gray powder.

No one had yet to touch, much less search, the dozens of dead bodies strewn about the place.

Bitingly cold winds blew through the open door and smashed windows.

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"Cans of pork and beans, actually." Came Colt's droll response. He said this as he closed the sludge filled snuff box and dropped it into one of the pockets of his coat. "Reckon we might be needin' somethin' like this later. At the very least, maybe we c'n take it back ta the Underground'n get it analyzed."

He turned to Jack before he collected another few samples of the drugs. "An fer yer information, I wasn't expectin' them zombie's ta be such pushovers. Not after all'a the movies I seen."

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It took a while for Grim to call down, and even longer for her to release her death grip on the shotgun and engage the safety before gently setting it down.

"And once again, reality is far less fun than the movies; Bruce campbell lied to us!"

With the undead peril defeated (for the moment!), the diminutive shapeshifter began poking around the filthy shack, nose twitching and pointed ears flicking as she dropped to all fours to give the place a thorough going over. She even crawled up the walls to check over the doorways and window ledges. Crouched on the ceiling, she shook her head.

"Well we've got a lot of Zombie Powder and enough doses of Max to make an army bulked up and impotent; I'll put a call in to Detective Colby in a little bit, so her boys can seize all this crap."

She dropped to the floor in a smooth crouch, then wrinkled her nose in disgust as she peered at the blood-spattered emains of her last victim. "Uh, I guess I'll start going through pockets, checking IDs and whatnot..."

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Jack poked the Zombie Power gingerly with the tip of his shimmering blade. "Holy snap, you guys, this is magic crack!" He turned to the others, gesturing emphatically with his free hand. "I mean, they're drugs... which are magic. It's all squicked with necro-juice. This is zombie blow." He paused, noting Colt and Grim's reactions. "C'mon, I'm not the only one who thinks that's just a little bit hilarious, right?"

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Colt was a little bit more somber than his swordsman teammate. "I reckon it ain't hilarious if'n people're dyin'." Colt frowned, continuing to look over their surroundings with a cursory eye. "But it's good knowin' its magic. It's at least'a start'n the right direction. We gotta find out whatever we c'n find 'bout this here set'a drugs."

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Jack gave his gun toting teammate a flat look. "They're drugs," he reiterated, "that make zombies. Honestly, all things considered, I think we gotta take our laughs where we can find them." He turned to the third Interceptor. "You find anything, Grim? Were all of these guys card-carrying members of the same gym or something?"

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"Heh." Colt smiled, chuckling in spite of himself. With a finger wag at Jack he added, "Now I reckon that's funny." Colt stooped to check another pile of knocked over merchandise. He was shaking his head and still chuckling a little. "If'n there is anythin' else here, it's well hidden."

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Even before she began to give the fallen foes a thorough rummaging, Grim could note some commonalities among them. All were young, high school age, and of a moderately athletic build. Judging by the clothing, they were all from the poorer parts of town, except for a few whose clothes were too evenly dirty, too cleanly ripped, as if they'd been trying to fit in. All of them wore athletic shoes of some type.

Grim found the expected contents in their pockets -- cash, high school id and gym membership cards, cell phones, fake jewelry (though a few odds and ends were the real thing); about a third had drugs on them, mostly assorted stimulants (including Max). All were students at either Joseph Clark or FDR high. The ones whose clothes were not quite right had a greater quantity and variety of drugs on them, and tattoos on their upper arms, a blood red skull with light blue crosses in the eyesockets; the cross in the left eyesocket was inverted.

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