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Disastrous Delinquency

Brown Dynamite

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The West End, Freedom City, New Jersey

Monday, December 8th, 2013

5:16 PM



The cool Winter breeze did nothing to slow down the liveliness in the West End.  The spiritual epicenter of Freedom City had a penchant for celebration that was not to be taken lightly.  Today in particular the streets were filled to the brim with exquisite wooden floats in celebration of Bodhi Day, also known as the Day of Enlightenment or Vesak in which Buddha experienced spiritual enlightenment.  The community welcomed any and all to come and participate in the celebration.  


There were stands as far as the eye could see with vendors marketing exotic foods an trinkets.  On the floats performance artists could be seen wowing the crowd with their various talents.  Including some mystics whom had prepared a spell for a firework like display to light up the streets without leaving any residue.  There were various pamphlets being passed abound to educate people in the meaning of the celebration while wishing upon them good fortune.  All in all it was to be a joyous party.


Or at least that was the scene before everything turned to utter chaos.  An orange float shaped like a demonic looking cat had suddenly joined the parade.  Laughing mischieviously with a cheshire grin plastered on its face,  the cat would begin to grow exponentially in size before finally popping like a balloon.  Goo had covered every inch of the scene with the unfortunate onlookers drenched in the monster's gooey insides.  Including the two unfortunate teenage heroines whom had found themselves at the scene.

Edited by HG Morrison
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"And so I said to her-" Whatever the punchline of that story was, it gets interrupted by some strange laughter. Then...


And then, orange everywhere. Sam mutters something in an unfamiliar language, but from the tone, it's pretty clear it's not the sort of word you teach a child. She chucks her now-ruined lollipop in the trash and wipes her face clear.

"Pretty sure this isn't part of the party, Lia."

She looks down at her outfit. White blouse, slacks, scarf, dress shoes. "This is the third time I've replaced this outfit," she huffs. At least it wasn't her blood ruining it this time. She doffs her unsalvageable fedora and tosses it in the trash as well. "And I just bought that one yesterday."

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Thaelia, or Lia, as Sam had referred to her was visibly fuming. The Atlantean had her own set of Atlantean profanities to fall back on. Some of which couldn't properly be enunciated outside of the water. But Thaelia was certainly making a sport at trying. She wasn't wearing her armored toga despite it being her favored outfit of choice, simply in a pair of blue jeans and a white shirt and a set of sandals as the cold temperature wasn't of concern. Far from fancy attire to anyone else, but the orange insult to Thaelia's concept of going local had definitely struck a chord.


"I do believe you are correct."  Thaelia replied while looking around not yet making the effort to clean herself in the midst of her furor.  Spitting out as she tasted a bit of the aftermath.  "The evening is about to be ruined.  For someone other than ourselves."

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"Oh, yes. Let's just follow the license plate on the giant Cheshire cat."

Sam pulls a handkerchief from the relative safety of her pocket and finishes cleaning her face and hands, more or less. At an experimental sniff, the thing smells more like candy than guts, but it's still disgusting.

"Let's check if we can find anything at ground zero. But I am definitely going to get a shower and get changed before we go ruin anybody's day!"

And hopefully, Lia is, too. Wouldn't do to go very far with someone still coated in slime. Not exactly inconspicuous.

Edited by Blue Rose
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Nearby an odd pair of men were tripping over each other thanks in part to the new orange scenery.  One a short portly looking man with a barely held together comb over.  The other a stringy man with a pencil thin moustache.  The portly man's blue apron could barely made out under all the gunk covering him, whereas his thin companion looked relatively clean under what appeared to be a brand new. Other than the goo the officer had accrued on his shirt while fighting for dear life in avoiding being crushed by the man near him.  "I say, this is the second time something like this has happened this week.  When are you going to do something about it?  My stall is ruined, do you know how much money I lost do you?!"  The portly man sputtered while spitting the orange insides all over the young police officer obviously at the festival for less than altruistic reasons.


The officer looked as if he couldn't have been more than a week out of the academy, obviously just at the parade to pull security on the technicality that such a public event needed officers on hand for safety reasons.  Frightened the rookie officer barely managed to squeak, "Sir, I'm just as upset about this as you.  But there's really nothing I can do without anything to go o-."  Thankfully the officer was saved by the prompt interruption of the radio attached to his chest.  All nearby officers respond.  There is a disturbance at the Franklin Tate Pet Cemetary on 88th Avenue...again.

Edited by HG Morrison
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Thaelia examined her clothes before turning to respond towards Sam.  Flicking her hands into the air with mild discomfort.  "Yes, I believe we can hold ourselves off before running around the city.  The smell is slightly nauseating, I do not care for such sweets."  The Atlantean of course overheard the nearby conversation.  There wasn't exactly a sense of privacy going on after the spectacle that just occurred.  It seemed as if the parade street wasn't the only area having a rough go at it.


Thaelia shivered not out of frost or any such nonsense, goop had actually slid down her back giving her a disgusting feeling as if a creature was sliding down her back.  And shivering was about as close as Thaelia came to screaming out in fright or disgust.  "As much as I would enjoy wringing someone's neck.  I must  admit aside from the necessary personal hygiene a change of attire is also in order.  I would rather not end up on the wrong end of the local gossip pages due to this appearance."

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Of course, even with the mess, investigating takes priority. Something about time-sensitive objectives taking priority. She raises a hand slightly in a subtle gesture for Thaelia to wait as she goes to get some intel. Because Thaelia does both subtle and waiting.

A pair of number twos, but which to ask after first? Cemeteries tend to focus a lot of mojo, and the cop should be an easy mark. She turns on the puppy dog eyes and makes her approach. "S-s-sir... did they say 'again?' S-s-someone is disturbing Mitsy?" Sam is a girl of many talents. At her size, she counts looking a lot younger than she is on demand among them. And the ability to turn the tears on and off almost at a whim has many, many applications. Pretending to be a kid on the brink of tears because her beloved pet's remains might be disturbed isn't exactly the most dignified of paths, but information spends better than dignity, and the faster she gets it, the sooner she gets to take a shower.

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The green officer practically jumped out of his shoes as Sam walked up to him.  He has already on edge with the abrasive man, and was caught practically off guard by the arrival of someone else.  The officer would have yelled out as a frightened response.  But then came the big puffy eyes.  The one absolute truth he had learned about himself after barely crossing two decades of life?  He sucked at dealing with crying females.


The stocky abrasive man did not stick around.  The sight of the teen practically in tears quickly deterred him from pursuing any further action against the officer.  He actually felt a little silly about it, although that was far from glaringly obvious by the tone of his grumbles as he scuffled away.  Putting two and two together, the officer was easily fooled by the girl's confidence play. Looking down with big empathetic eyes, the officer tried his best to reassure Sam that her nonexistent deceased pet would be alright.  


Considering her age the man's speech would be considered patronizing if it wasn't entirely within Sam's intentions.  "There, there.  I'm sure your little Mitsy is going to be fine.  Some mean people have been causing troube.  Playing with all the kitties and doggies there with no permission.  Making them run around again.  But even though it sounds fun, the animals are supposed to be sleeping.  So the police will punish the mean people so your little Mitsy can go back to sleeping...as soon as we can find them.  Please don't cry."

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Thaelia did a good job at staying still.  If there was one thing she had taken from having Giang as a roommate it was learning the value of patience.  Subtlety on the other hand....well the school year wasn't over.  While Sam was making progress in her pursuits, the Atlantean was busy tapping her feet rhythmically on the pavement while waiting for Sam to return.  Coupled with her superhuman strength, it soon became a very audible attention grabber.  With half the people in the immediate area taking at least one confused glance in her direction.


Not that Thaelia noticed.  The raven haired Atlantean was instead focusing on the song she was whistling.  An old folk tune from a tribe underneath the indian Ocean.  Or maybe they were from Michigan.  Thaelia was never clear on the roots of the song.    But with nothing to take out her immediate goop covered frustrations on she needed a release and wasted little opportunity to take one.

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Wait, what? Did he just say there was a zombie outbreak at the pet cemetery? This guy really isn't any good at that whole 'reassuring' thing. Mitsy doesn't even exist and Sam's a little worried for her.

Note to self: When Soot goes, cremate.

But the show must go on. She swallows hard, and forces her face from 'about to cry' to something just slightly more stable. "Thank you, sir," she says in a tone just level enough to give the cop room to go away and leave her be.

When Officer Green is out of her hair, Sam makes her way back to Thaelia. "Bad news. Cops got a call to Franklin Tate Pet Cemetery. Zombie pet parade. Apparently, it's turning into a trend. I think the timing's a bit precise, don't you? I think it's worth a look." She waves her friend over to a shadowy alley.

"Shower first, but fast. I wanna get there before the cops scare everything away." One hop through shadows is all it takes to get back to Claremont. Assuming, of course, there are no objections.

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Thaelia tilted her head down to look at Sam after arriving in the alley. Nodding along without an ounce of complaint to the girl's plan of action. "Let us make haste then.  Your pets get their own cemetery?" She wasn't judging the concept. It was just altogether a foreign idea in her mind. Companion animal burials were an accepted part of her culture. But there was no set location in mind just for the animals.

Loyal creatures sometimes earned themselves a place near their master's burial site. But many were just as likely to be buried near where they died. It was a process comparable to the ancient greco-roman practices as with many other cultural norms for her. Still she wasn't going to stand around worrying about that when cleaning up was far more pressing.

Edited by HG Morrison
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"Some do, some don't," Sam says, the quick answer being enough for now.

And with that, she takes the Atlantean's hand. "Relax for me." A moment later, the pair melts into the shadows. A spine-chilling nothingness as the world fades to black, and then a new one fades back in. A cluster of trees out front of the dorms.

"Alright, meet you back out here... fast. Just rinse off and change and we'll get going."

With that, she breaks into a light jog all the way up to her room. When anyone asks her what's going on, it just gets a, "Long story, tell you later."

Upstairs, she tosses her clothes in a trash bag, then sets to cleaning, worried more about getting wet than getting dry. Her hair's still dripping when she gets dressed, this time in considerably more expendable clothes. Jeans, tee shirt, hoodie, sneakers. She looks up the pet cemetery on her phone as she walks back out, and it's back to the tree in a flash.

There might have been a bit of a stop to satisfy Soot's demands for cuddles, but shut up.

When Thaelia shows up, Sam offers her hand without a word and it's off to the cemetery for recon.

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Upon arriving at the Franklin Tate Cemetery, named after Dr. Franklin Tate an  avid animal's rights activist whom died during the Terminus Invasion twenty years ago, the pair was treated to quite a sight.  The foul smell of rotting flesh lingered in the air as a wide variety of undead animals ran around the grounds.   Some in better conditions than others.  A few animals were actually just skeletons running around.  However, despite what the common pop culture leanings of zombies and their ilk was the animals for the most part were friendly.


Dogs were tussling on the grounds.  Cats were chasing around smaller undead creatures like hamsters.  Birds were chirping with an unusual level of ease despite being surrounded by so many of things that would scare them to death.  A benefit of being already dead perhaps.  With the nature of Freedom City being what it was, there were a few oddities in the mix.  On top of an undisturbed tombstone, showing that not every animal in the mix had risen from its grave, an undead gorilla was banging on it's chest.  Hitting an exposed rib cage.  In front of it a half flesh half skeletal tiger was growling back at the gorilla in defiance.


As far as bystanders went there was a crowd slowly forming.  But no one dared actually step inside the reaches of the grounds.  Even the officers on the scene were on stand by.  Seemingly waiting for whatever set protocol they have in place to take effect cordoning off the cemetary from all.  With the exception of the new mix of hustle and muscle that had appeared unto the grounds through the shadows.

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Sam takes a moment to admire the spectacle. And case the scene, of course. "Okay, I admit it. This is the most adorable abomination against nature I have ever seen."

She loosens up, then heads off, waving Thaelia to follow. "Let's take the back way."

She leads the long way around, then through the trees to get to the fence unseen. "They don't look hostile. Step easy and we should be able to get in, find something out, and leave without any trouble." Which is the polite way of saying, 'Please don't try and solve everything by punching it really hard in the face.' Some folks in this line of work aren't good at that. Thaelia... seems like she might be in that category.

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Thaelia of course followed along decidedly less concealed than Sam.  Their experience in areas of subterfuge were wildly different.  If the short girl wanted to get in and out without any excitement that was her prerogative.  Now if trouble found them there wasn't a guarantee that Thaelia wouldn't  go in swinging.  That was just good sense according to the Atlantean.  "How many abominations against nature do you have to reference against?"  The muscular girl asked clearly intrigued.


Perfectly content in taking Sam's lead in the aspect of sleuthing.  Thaelia knew her own strengths and weaknesses.  And investigating a cemetery for leads was not at the top of her strength column.  Fighting the undead tiger or gorilla was more her speed, but even if either creature noticed them judging by how the rest of the creatures were acting there was little chance of the outcome leading to violence there.

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Now there's getting into a touchy subject. "Let's just say I've seen my share. Usually not this friendly."

She stops outside the cemetery fence to observe, and to plot. "Follow me. Stay low, keep quiet."

She makes her way through the tumult of unliving pets, letting the chaos hide her passing. She tries to avoid anything too dangerous, mainly the gorilla and the tiger, and keeps her eyes open for anything out of sorts, by the standards of the world's largest zombie pet play date.

A sign of a ritual, a person who shouldn't be there, these are good things to keep an eye out for, but if whoever did this probably went here for mojo, and pets don't offer much of that. Whatever she's looking for is probably going to be at the oldest grave around.

Edited by Blue Rose
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Thaelia began visually inspecting the pet cemetary as well.   Unsure of what exactly Sam was hoping they would find here, and how it could all be related to them getting slimed earlier.  A memory she still felt bitter about.  Uncomfortably crouching down to stay low as requested her eyes ran through the various creatures running around.


She wouldn't openly say it, but Thaelia had to partly admit it was sort of cute.  In its own way.  She would have preferred sharper toothed animals.  Maybe a shark.  But there weren't exactly landsharks running around.  At least as far as she knew.


What she lacked in biology, she made up with actual magical reference.  "I assume these are not consecrated grounds?  Do you think the dead were awoken to take something from this grave?"

Edited by HG Morrison
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Sam pulls out her phone and starts taking pictures of the site, then pulls out a pad and copies down the arcane mark, in case it doesn't develop properly. And, while she's at it, she jots down the pet's information from the tombstone.

At Thaelia's question, Sam pauses. "A pet cemetery might not be consecrated. Seems like a good reason to raid it. And, remember it was a cat float that went boom?" She points to the arcane mark, then the cat skeleton. "Though I wonder if there's something special about this cat in particular... gonna need to do some research when we get back." She places her hand a few inches from the mark, "But this is definitely real. Whatever they did, it was here."

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Squinting her eyes at the mark Sam was pointing to Thaelia recognized the symbols behind it.  It was carved to resist the intrusions of a variety of evil forces.  "It is a protection symbol.  Intended to ward off psychic spirits, demons, and  sorcerers.  But that makes no sense, why would the corpse of a cat need protection?  I assume simply a token of affection from its owner."

Shrugging after her explanation no less confused than when she opened her mouth her mind went on to wishing it was a problem she could just punch. A looming feeling of a long study session creeping up on her was a downright frightening notion. Admitting Sam brought up an extremely good point with the giant float that blew up and covered them in goop, for lack of a better term, being feline as well.

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A skeletal cat had made its way over to the two teens looking up at them curiously.  The creature gave a solitary pint sized meow before lowering its head once more.  Curling its little bony tail before stretching out the mortally challenged feline would walk over to Sam where it would rub itself against the girl's leg and begin to purr.  For all the lack of flesh the bony feline was no more malevolent than an ordinary house cat.  It had quickly become apparent that the cat had found itself taken with Sam.

Of course the girls weren't there to scour for new pets.  Not that the skeletal feline cared about the investigation underway in the slightest.  It simply wanted affection.  Unfortunately for the cat there was a moment when it tried to run around Sam's legs that it found itself slipping and falling into the grave.  Obviously not falling under the specifications of what was being warded off.

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Sam screws up her face as the cat nuzzles her leg and she reflexively moves to pet it, the shock of fingers stroking hard bone instead of soft fur snapping her out of her reflection. As the friendly little abomination slips, Sam's hand darts after him... her... it? She catches it and pulls it back out.

It's probably not wise. It's a walking ball of dark magic and who-knows-what, but... it's hard not to think of it as just another victim in all of this. Couldn't just let the thing get hurt.

She cradles the unliving animal in her arms and talks, "If it is just a token, it makes this place handy. Do dark magic from inside the protection of this grave. Use the rest of the dead to call up some dark spirit. Send it on its way to do mischief." Though the skeleton already inside the grave bears another look. "Or maybe the cat is the important part. A witch's familiar, buried with some sort of charm? Dunno..."

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Thaelia watched Sam as she cradled the undead cat before answering.  Not bothered by the sight though admittedly curious about how much of a sensation a skeleton really got from the affection.  "Would there be a record anywhere on something an owner would bury their companion with?  I do not understand how one would annotate such matters if it is even necessary.  The possibility of using the location as a safe place to cast dark arts is also most feasible.  Keeping oneself safe inside a location designed to prevent the very acts you are committing from affecting it in case something goes wrong.  However, it sounds very disrespectful to the dead."

She didn't like not knowing which course of speculation was correct. If either were even correct. Crinkling her face in silent agitation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"At a guess? We'll find what we need right there." She pokes a thumb in the direction of a small office building on the grounds. "Good thing it's normal business hours. C'mon."

She sets down her new friend and creeps through the fields of frolicking once again, to the back door of the office, out of sight and out of mind. Pause to check for a security system, ask the door nicely to get out of her way with little bits of wire, et voila. In theory. Hopefully.

'Cuz it would be embarrassing to mess up busting into a no-account box of barely relevant file cabinets.

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The office was all but abandoned by the staff whom were less pleased than Sam to find undead animals roaming around.  They made sure to lock up before leaving, but the pins were practically ancient and Sam was easily able to make short work of them.  Once inside the small office building the teens were treated to the sight of a very cluttered office.  There were three desks, each workstation outfitted with a separate computer and phone.  Piles of paper stacked one on top of the other in a jumbled mess.  Five file cabinets older than the girls stood in the corner labeled alphabetically.


There was a door that led further to the back with a more recently renovated lock system on the door.  A few off the papers on the top of the piles showed that the clutter came from complaints levied against the pet cemetery for the past week.  Once again confirming that it wasn't the first time the grave site had been used for whatever magical purposes occurred there.

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Sam tugs at her gloves as she enters A thin, cloth number. Cheap. Expendable. Keeps your fingerprints off of stuff without sacrificing manual dexterity. Handy to have anywhere near a crime scene. She offers Thaelia an oversized pair she keeps handy. Once they're in, she closes the door behind them; one little friend on her heels is plenty.

"Start with the filing cabinets for that cat. I'll check the computer. And mind the forensics; we'd rather not get pegged a person of interest."

At that, she makes her way over to the most important-looking desk to take a crack at the computer. Maybe they actually bothered keeping a modern database. Because that's clearly a priority.

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