Jump to content

Recommended Posts

20 Miles Out from the Senkaku Islands

Saturday, November 29th

0800 Local Time

Cannonade looked out at the listless gray skies over the East China Sea, trying to focus on the task ahead of him. Then again, that might have been easier if he knew anything about what it was. He had some idea of why he was flying over international waters in one of AEGIS' high velocity planes, but he was a bit flaky on the fine details.

He could, as always, blame Commander Grayston for all of this. He'd answered the knock at his door Saturday afternoon thinking it was Andy coming over to talk about all the things that he'd experienced during the semester up in Boston. He'd actually fought to stifle a groan when he saw who was standing there instead.

"Come on," he'd said, "it's Thanksgiving..."

"Exactly," Grayston had said, "so think of the ones who didn't make it home to their families."

That had shut Joe up real quick. Once Grayston had settled in and salvaged some coffee from Joe's kitchen, he laid all that was known on the table. An AEGIS light aircraft had experienced heavy turbulence while returning from a mission in Japan, and had gone down somewhere around the Senkaku Islands. A transceiver in the plane's black box logged the crashdown site as 20 miles out from one of the islands, and there was a chance the three agents on board had made it to shore.

"The Senkaku Islands have been in dispute for years. Japan, Taiwan, and the People's Republic of China all think they have a claim to them, and each one calls them by something different. This island, however... no one seems to be champing at the bit for it. If anything, we've intercepted intelligence that indicates Taiwan has tried to foist it upon Japan in return for claims to one of the others. Our information on it is spotty at best, and neither nation wants to disclose much about it. The best we have to go on is that Japanese intelligence has referred to it as Avici."

"Guessing it ain't after the DJ."

"No. It's a term for the lowest level of the Buddhist Hells, the place from which sinners have no escape."

"Great. So, if the survivors made it there..."

"They're capable men and women. But this island has folklore associated with it going back centuries, little of it pleasant. There's no clear, concise picture of what may be dwelling on it, but whatever it is, it has teeth. We need somebody who can get in there, get the agents, and get out before that beast wakes."

"Well, it's been a while since I went on a nature hike through Hell itself --"

"You're the muscle for the operation. You'll be accompanied by specialists better suited for the... eccentricities of the terrain."

Link to comment

Tona Baudin stood at the prow of the boat, her legs easily bracing her against the swell and roll of the ocean as she considered the island hanging on the horizon. She could see the deep greenery that embraced the edges of the spit of land, hinting at darkness deeper in. She turned just slightly, still keeping her attention focused on the island. “You said the plane went down over the island?â€

“Not quite,†the AEGIS agent said, adjusting the tiller a touch. “They went down twenty miles off-shore, but this is the only bit of land close enough for them to reach.â€

Tona nodded slightly. She distantly wished for a map of the surrounding ocean, something that would tell her exactly where else the agents might have washed up, but she wasn’t a dozen different women; if AEGIS thought the agents were here, she would look for them here. It was a hell of a lot better than swinging through the chill air of Freedom City, at least.

She considered the island, and the waters surrounding it. Behind her the agent went on about the local governments and what some folks called the island, but the archer had different concerns. Moving more to the center of the boat and taking a seat, she began unpacking and repacking the survival gear she had chosen for this situation. “I want to get between the island and the place where the agents plane went down,†she said, planning her next few days. “Drop me off about a kilometer off-shore.â€

Edited by Raveled
Link to comment

Today Lucy should have been spending her day at a nice quiet barbque with her on again, off again maybe boyfriend. But he was off in space busy with some kind of emergency. So instead she was at the shelter giving out meals to the needy. Whilst she was a little disappointed she wasn’t particularly upset, apparently they’d have plenty of time in the future to do such things, though he didn’t seem the type to retire.


They were half way through dishing up when the AEGIS agent appeared at the door of the shelter, with his buttoned up uniform and ken face. Generally she’d kept her distance from the organisation, not because she didn’t trust them more because what she tended to get involved in was very separate from what they dealt with.


“Sorry Mother Superior I’ll deal with this.â€


She strolled over to the young man giving the general air of not being pleased taking off her sunglasses she looked at him with her pure black eye. The poor boys confidence seem to evaporate and he began to shuffle nervously.


“We... we have something that could use you help.â€


She could never manage to do the whole sturn serious thing for very long, she was far to good natured for that. She gave the poor boy a broad smile.


“Okay you can explain it to me on the way.â€

Link to comment

The boat came to a stop by where the AEGIS plane had supposedly come to its final destination. There was some surf, but the waters were relatively calm - it wouldn't be too hard for a stranded veteran agent to break free from the ship and make a swim for it. And Avici was visible in the distance, a brown and green dot against the vast sea. Odds were that if anyone had managed to make it off the ship, they would have gone there.


Cannonade, meanwhile, looked over to Revenant. He gave her a smile and a nod. It had been a while since they'd last worked together, but she was pretty capable. Still, he didn't imagine her expertise usually extended to matters of intelligence and geopolitics - well, it might have, but he hadn't dug too deep. But he did know she knew a lot about the weird and the arcane. So, if she's here, odds are Hell ain't just a name for the island...

The thought was banished as the alarm went off and the light at the end of the bay went green. The doors opened, and Cannonade ran out. He and Revenant had been given a rudimentary training course in parachuting from such great heights. He wasn't entirely sure he needed the parachute, but it couldn't hurt. At the appointed height, he pulled the cord and felt gravity leave him for a second. He felt himself drifting slowly to the ground, which was a strange feeling for someone used to the thrill of plummeting.

His feet touched down on the sandy beaches. Once he came to a stop, he discarded the parachute and took a look around. The beach was fairly short, and quickly led in to a thick green forest. There was the sound of the surf crashing against the beach... but little else. No bird song, no insects buzzing, nothing of the sort.

"I'd hate to sound like a cliche, but... it's quiet..."

Link to comment

As they approached the site, Tona busied herself with the lifejackets. She bound up her supplies in a single, compact back, her bow and quiver sitting on top, then threaded the uninflated life jackets through the webbing. The boat came to rest in place, the AEGIS agent turning and eyeing the package. “Uh, you left me a jacket, right?†Tona smiled at him and wordlessly lifted the package up to the railing, pulled the line on each lifejacket in turn, and then jumped into the water with it.

She treaded there, double-checking the knots and experimentally pushing the package down into the water, watching it buoy back up again. The jury-rigged contraption seemed to be working, so she slung the extra rope around her chest and set off for the island. It was just a smear on the horizon, but with each stroke it grew steadily closer.

There wasn’t much to think about on the long swim. She checked the island’s position regularly, to make sure she wasn’t drifting off course, but mostly she focused on her form. One stroke after another, her head going under and then coming back up. If the AEGIS agents had survived the crash, their swim would be much longer, but hopefully they would wash up on the same stretch of beach she was headed towards. With any luck the young woman would be in the same state of mind as the missing AEGIS agents, and that would give her an edge in finding them.

Link to comment
  • 5 weeks later...

When she was little Lucy would excitedly read about the various adventuresses and there exciting adventure in the mysterious part of the world. Now few of there names were remembered and those dark places didn’t need exploring after all.


But still it was exciting to go on an adventure and even though she probably didn’t need it she patiently listened to them as they explained how the parachute was going to be used. And indeed despite her best efforts she landed badly with a snap as something in her leg went from the shuddering landing. Still her amazing undead body was already repairing itself as she got back to her unsteady feet.


“What is it they say about walking away from a landing?†she gave an easy smile “Shall we go see what’s going on here?â€

Link to comment

"Sounds like a good idea," Cannonade said, "though I think we're supposed to be making contact with the survival expert first. Wonder where she --" Just as he was saying it, he saw the young woman pulling out on the surf and walking onto the beach. He smiled when he noticed her face. "They dragged you into this too, huh, Blue Jay? Didn't really know this kind of thing was your deal." He looked off into the thick of the forest - despite the fact that it was mostly overgrown, the glimmer of a trail could be detected. "I think someone cut a path. Maybe we can find something down that way."

In the thick of the forest, things were even more muted than outside. The canopy hadn't looked that thick from the beach, but there was precious little sunlight shining down on the trail. The bark on the trees appeared more black than brown, and the leaves had something of a waxy, ashen tint to them. Cannonade stepped carefully, checking for branches and pits. He couldn't help but feel that he was treading somewhere he shouldn't...

Link to comment

After a long swim, Tona felt her toes begin to touch sandy bottom with each kick. She kept going, though, until her fingertips started to catch sand with each stroke. Then she stopped and moved from swimming to walking, carefully dragging her floating gear up onto the beach with her. She was panting and beaming a happy smile at the dense undergrowth of the forest, feeling the happy burn in her muscles. She would be sore in the morning, but right now everything felt right with the world.

“Bien sur, Cannonade,†she said. “AEGIS said they lost their people on an uninhabited island. I couldn’t get out here fast enough!†She nodded to the pale woman she didn’t know and sat down on the beach, pulling her bag into the circle of her legs and rummaging through it.

With her feet in view, it was clear to see that there was a long gash on the sole of her right foot. She pulled out a package of gauze and wrapped it around her limb many times, until the blood stopped seeping through. “I cut my foot on some coral around the island,†she explained, digging out a pair of boots and some socks. “The agents should have gotten cut on it, too. That means they’ll be leaving blood behind them.â€

Properly shod, Tona moved to the edge of the foliage and started searching. It wasn’t long before she found a break in the undergrowth, and a reddish-brown smear on the grass. “Through here,†she called out to Cannonade and Revenant. “They passed through at this point.â€

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Whilst she’d inherited much from her vampire father-in-darkness an affinity with blood wasn’t one of them, which was one thing she was quite glad about. So wisely she stayed at the back and allowed Blue Jay to do what apparently she did best. If they were all lucky they wouldn’t need much of her help at all, maybe just help carry out survivors.


The fact that AEGIS had asked her along suggested that they thought otherwise.

Link to comment

The group continued along the rough trail, trying to follow the traces that the agents had left. To Tona, they stood out quite clearly, even though the agents had done their best to obscure them. While they'd taken the effort to try and cover up their path, they'd done so too hastily and with too much effort, leaving smears of smoothed-out soil that left just as much of a trail as footprints would have. The trail was still dark - although the group could see, there was still a general lack of peripheral vision for Cannonade. Even Blue Jay's infravision was having trouble picking up on heat signatures - it was as if everything in the forest was slightly colder than it should be. Revenant, on the other hand, could easily pick up on the trail and everything off in the distance.


Particularly, she could see the movement in the distant bushes, 100 feet out from the group. There was little noise other than that, and she couldn't make out what had disturbed it - could have been a boar, could have been a man. But it was something...

Link to comment

Tona crept silently though the forest, her feet naturally finding the places where she could tread without snapping branches or disturbing the undergrowth. Even though the pair behind her were cutting the equivalent of a highway behind her. Still, her senses were alert and as she caught sight of the distant motion, she froze, putting one hand in the air to stop the two following her. Keeping her eye on the rustling underbrush, she stepped backwards until she could whisper to Cannonade. "One hundred paces ahead," she informed him. "Movement, in the bushes." It took a few more instructions before she was sure that they were both focusing on the same portion o the undergrowth, but she kept at it. "I'm going to break left and approach from an angle," she told him. "Wait two minutes, then approach it. I'll be flanking."

With that the archer stepped off the path and disappeared into the jungle. She moved quickly now that she wasn't following someone else's trail, but she was still soundless and impossible to pick out from the surrounding foliage. She pulled out her bow and took several arrows in hand, but for now she mostly used her hands to steady the brush as she moved through it. Soon though, she started cutting back towards where she had spotted the movement. With luck the heroes would catch whoever or whatever it was in a pincer.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Lucy had always been a city girl and hadn’t spent long out in the wild, she’d always prefered her creature comforts. So she was more than happy to let the young woman take the lead and do her stuff. Whilst the various living thing of the forest didn’t bother her, she wasn’t a tempting meal being undead, but her clothing whilst sensible for the city weren’t that helpful in the wild.


“Sure i can do that.†she kept her voice low and quiet “Any idea of who or what we’re dealing with?â€

Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

"None whatsoever," whispered Cannonade. "All I heard from the guy who gave me the mission is that this place has a lot of folklore about it. And not exactly the happy shiny folklore." His hand brushed against a low-hanging leaf as he stepped forward. As it brushed over his skin, it sent up a shudder through him. The leaf felt like wax in the shape of plant life, some crude facsimile of life. The place wasn't dead, but it felt like it had grown up in strange soil. "We should probably --" 


A hollow shriek emerged from the bush as a pallid shape burst from the bushes. It barreled past Cannonade, nearly knocking him to the ground, before coming to rest a few feet behind him. It was dressed in tattered robes, and its finger nails were more like talons. It locked eyes with him and the others, sweeping out its arm and gesturing towards itself with the palm.


A challenge. 

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Blue Jay found a spot in the concealing brush and, after a moment's thought, nocked a white-fletched arrow. Whatever was making that noise, they probably needed to slow it down and talk to it, not knock it unconscious or burn it with acid. She waited, and as the shaking intensified drew the bowstring back to her ear. She didn't flinch when a pale human figure burst from the bush and flung himself at the other pair of heroes. She tracked it and waited, patiently for it to stop and turn and gesture, and then loosed the arrow.

The shaft flew true through the concealing leaves, cutting a path straight at the strange creature. It seemed unawares, but at the last moment the creature spun and deflected the arrow with inhuman speed and precision. It bounced off into the woods somewhere behind the creature, and before anyone could react it was back in its stance.

Link to comment

Lucy was rarely shocked by anything, surprised maybe but never shocked, so the appearance of this man gave her only a moment pause.


“I guess this is why they asked me along, though he’s a new one on me.â€


She went for the nearest thing to hand to help subdue this creature, a fallen tree trunk, and swung it towards the man. She hadn’t gotten the balance quite right and it went souring past the creature.

Link to comment

The dead thing looked at Revenant, studying her as if trying to judge an old acquaintance. But whatever it judged her as - and whatever she was swinging at him - seemed to bare little interest. At least, compared to Blue Jay. The vampire challenged strength into its jerky-like legs and took off with unnatural grace, soaring through the air like the hero of a wuxia film. Cannonade raced to catch up with it as it landed right in front of Blue Jay - and, before she could duck out of the way, delivered a blow right to her chest. She could feel something cold and biting racing through her, making her very muscles and nerves rebel against her. 


"Hey!" he yelled. "Don't care how long you've been on this godforsaken rock--" His fist collided with the thing's head with the force of a speeding car. "No eating my friends."


The thing spun, locking dead, milky eyes on Cannonade. At the very least, he'd gotten its attention...

Link to comment

Blue Jay was shocked with the speed this thing moved at. It blurred and was suddenly in her face, striking at her! The touches were light, but blindingly fast, and she tried to defend herself in vain. It might have been her imagination, but the creature seemed to grin hideously at her with the last touch. It certainly wasn’t her imagination when she felt the cold moving in her body, making her heart ache and making her feel sluggish and weak.

It was obvious that she wouldn’t be able to run away from the monster, so instead Blue Jay turned to an attack. She struck out with her hands and elbows, drawing on moves ingrained on her muscle memory. She was so slow though, that by the end it was futile. The creature swept her attacks aide and she wasn’t able to land so much as a finger.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Whilst the weight of the log caused Lucy no problems whatsoever she still had to deal with the momentum of swinging such a massive chunk of wood. As well as trying to figure out exactly what was going on here.

“Well I can honestly say this wasn’t what I expected when the day started.”

As she spoke she found herself a much better stance and grip on the impromptu weapon and lined another strike at the foreign vampire. The time spent was obviously worth it as the strike looked to be pretty straight and true.

Link to comment

The log managed to catch the spry corpse broadsides, almost lifting him off his feet. But somehow, the body managed to resist being hurled from the earth, remaining fixed in place - and once the impact cleared, it looked as if he'd managed to weather the blow. The vampire spun around, eyes glowing with fire the color of death. Something the color of dried blood and oil formed at the back of his throat; he drew his head back and spat it out, the spectral blast striking Revenant in the chest.

"Here I thought wood took out vampires!" yelled Cannonade. He drove his fist towards the creature's chest, but again, he managed to duck out of the blow with all the grace of a ballet dancer. "What kind of crap happens on this island?" 

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Blue Jay retreated back a step, trying to reassess the situation. The three heroes could barely land a finger on this hopping, striking, spitting nightmare. If it continued like this, AEGIS would be sending in another rescue team to look for them! Jay decided it was time to shift the battlefield in their favor; she reached back and pulled an arrow out of her quiver, one with neon green fletching and a bulbous, glass vial behind the head. She chose her moment carefully, waiting until the monster was fully engaged with Revenant and Cannonade before jumping back in and literally stabbing it in the back. The glass broke and the acid was forced deep into the creature's body, burning and scalding it. The archer ducked out of the way of a hasty retaliatory strike and tried to put more room between her and it.

Link to comment

Lucy kept plugging away with her large wooden weapon having gotten a pretty good grip on the improvised weapon. She faced a few vampire in her time but mostly they were of the western type and definitely nothing like this.

“It seems they seem to be in no hurry to explain themselves to us, though I do expect they are the reason why we’re on this little island.”

A lot of vampire she’d faced had loved the sound of their own voice, maybe they could encourage this vampire to do much the same thing.

Link to comment

Blue Jay's barrage managed to strike the spry corpse right in the chest. The caustic agent managed to sear a hole in the thing's robes, causing hardened dead flesh to peel and crack, revealing meat desiccated and throbbing with dark veins. The vampire locked eyes with Blue Jay and let out a terrible roar, like a beast that had just been stabbed by its prey. Blue Jay could feel something primal welling in her mind, the instinct of small and furry ancestors millennia back to run, run, get away...

Cannonade, meanwhile, reached for the thing's robes - but it had broken from its offensive long enough to become aware of the attack, and just harmlessly duck out of the way. "So, what, we found Dracula's summer home?" he said. "And since when do they make vampire ninjas? That's just two kinds of horsecrap right there!" 

Link to comment

Lucy gave a little frown at the latest set back they’d suffered since landing on the island. As she shifted the weight around to get another hit she considered there options.

“Go make sure that Blue Jay is alright, I’ll keep this one busy whilst to do so.” she gave a reassuring smile at Nick “Don’t worry about me I’m a tough old bird, it’ll take more than a hopping idiot to take me down.”

To illustrate the point she again swung the tree at the oriental vampire catching him with what she hoped was a fairly solid blow.

Link to comment

"Good idea," said Cannonade. "If there are more of these things, last thing we want is her running into them the hard way. I can take on this guy." He swung his fist at the vampire, aiming to catch its robes. "You just --"

He didn't even finish his sentence. His fist connected with a part of the vampire's chest that had caught the brunt of Blue Jay's acid arrow. It hit hard, and the dead flesh crumpled under impact. The vampire let out a sigh like a death rattle and flopped over like a marionette with strings cut. Cannonade looked down to make sure the thing was well and truly dead - well, truly dead - but took a step back as he heard the ground rumble under him. The soil melted like snow, turning into quicksand, and dragged the vampire's body back under. A few seconds later, he tentatively tapped his boot on the soil - relatively solid again.

"...this place is more screwed up than I thought." 


Blue Jay, meanwhile, ran through the trees, trying to get as much distance between her and the threat as possible. Things hung in the edge of her vision - bamboo constructs, talismans, stone ruins - but she didn't have time to process them as she ran past. She just had to run...

Link to comment

Blue Jay felt a surge of triumph as she finally, finally, landed a hit on this hopping kung-fu menace. She watched for a moment as the acid began eating into the creature's chest, peeling away layers of defenses. She was feeling pretty smug when she looked up and locked eyes with the monster, and an a moment it all changed. Fear filled her from her head on down, feeling like ice water was being injected into her veins and spreading to every part of her. Instantly, Blue Jay's heart started hammering in her chest and she started trembling from the sudden adrenaline hit.

There wasn't any thought or plan to her action. The archer just turned and started running, fleeing blindly into the forest. She needed to hide, she needed to defend herself, but most of all she needed to get away!

Link to comment
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...