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Demon Worship For Dummies

Posted on Wed Jul 26th, 2023 @ 4:33am by Team Leader Arani Ravenlocke & Regular Haren Moira & Regular Asa Nox

Mission: Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)
Location: Drake Garden Projects

Finding the place wasn't hard at all. Drake Garden Projects was like any other overdeveloped city housing project - concrete towers full of misery and broken dreams and vaguely Soviet in design. It was the kind of place that some would spend all their lives trying to get out of while others would simply embrace the misery and contribute to it. More to the point - it was exactly the kind of place that gangs and cults thrived in.

Which was why Arani wasn't taking any chances - on top of the pistol she always had on her, she had a knife. It was a simple commando fighting knife, the same kind favored by British soldiers in World War Two, the final relic of an old friend. She wore simple clothes, a black t-shirt, jeans, hiking shoes, her brown leather jacket and a black baseball cap.

She looked to the other two as they approached the building indicated in the police report, keeping her voice down so only Asa and Moira could hear.

"Are either of you two packing? Fine either way, but just good to know in case things go sideways." Arani asked.

Asa nodded, undoing the cassock for only a moment to show on her hips two holsters, and in each two grips. A curved revolver grip pointed forward, impeccably clean. Next to it the straight handle of a rondel. All four pieces of equipment were old but deadly, and were the weapons of her people. The only distinction between the two sides of her hips was the difference in color and design of the revolvers, obviously not of the same set.

Moira had a small pistol on a hip holder. Small caliber, nothing that was going to start a war or anything. Arani knew the truth, though: Her weapon was her mind.

Well, the nine pounds of gallium and mithral that was coursing through her body, to be precise. Nothing like her prior days of corporate employ, but the full potential of her cyberware was literally locked behind a paywall. For now, she'd do.

"Just a small one." A SIG, P320 from the looks of it. They came in vending machines these days, and were often the object used by Fabricators when a gun from the ether was needed. Reliable, lightweight, cheap. Essentially the college pizza of handguns. Well, except the gun was reliable. And light.

"GPD is going to be useless but the subnet might be useful. I'll keep my focus here on the real." she offered, "No point in filming my own execution."

"Good. We'll try to keep it quiet and stick to just poking around the scene. Try to avoid any trouble but if things go sideways, do what we gotta do." Arani replied, nodding with approval.

The easiest access to the basement was the direct way - a concrete stairwell led down to a door to the basement hallway and was located by the front entrance. This wasn't unusual, the basement was either good for storage or utilities access, which meant that it was a mausoleum for forgotten boxes enshrined in piping and warning signs. Lighting wasn't great but was enough to see and there was plenty of graffiti with varying degrees of meaning and elaboration.

Finding the scene wasn't hard for two reasons - firstly, the GPD "CRIME SCENE - DO NOT ENTER" yellow tape was still hanging on the door. Well, some of it, the rest was clearly ripped down with no concern and tossed aside with even less. And secondly, there was the thumping bass of death metal techno coming from inside.

Entry wasn't going to be a problem, it was so loud that one could feel the bass in their gut as surely as if it had a physical presence. The inside was garishly lit with red lamps in many places, crude shrines and...the smell of blood.

Arani turned her baseball cap around to open up her field of view and keep her hair down as she opened the door and gestured to the others to follow. It was obnoxiously loud in here. Someone had converted this place into a death techno cult shrine.

Asa folded her ears back, the noise much more than she had heard in a long time. She gingerlly followed Arani, watching each foot step out of the corner of her eye while taking in all of the surroundings.

In the next room, there was a dead woman on a table, drained of blood by the looks of it, and stabbed a few times in the chest. But she was of Gnomish decent - the victim they were here about was Human.

Stopping for a moment, Asa bowed her head for the dead. A moment of prayer for the body and soul. Almost without missing a beat, she continued on with the group.

Arani checked the woman and looked to the others to shake her head, she then peeked around the corner into the following room and then looked back, gesturing to her eyes and then in the room and holding up a single finger. Someone was in there.

Another body, another victim, another people. Not their missing person, but another on the way it would seem. While the more spiritual of the three paid their respects to the departed, Moira slid her hand back to her hip to gently remove her sidearm. God was where you found him. Arani's gestures caught her attention. Eyes. Room. One. Moira gave a nod.

There was a moment, a brief moment when those lovely eyes of Moira's lit up, almost literally lit up. The shine of blue they acquired was beautiful. Elegant. Otherworldly. It was beautiful. It was... short lived. She motioned skyward, then made a circular motion with her hand, before running it across her neck. Apparently, the Etheralnet connection down here was garbage. Nothing to use to get eyes on the scene. She'd need a dedicated connection to root through their system, and by then the threat in the other room would be neutralized. Sidearm at the ready, Moira gave a nod.

Asa looked at the other two, sliding a paw inside the cassock. It was open enough to slide in and out without becoming a waving burden in movement. The paw sat neatly between two grips, ready to draw either if needed. She knew the disadvatange of not drawing first but could not in her conscious do it either. She looked again at the two, then directly to Arani, nodding, then towards the door, ready to go in.

Arani nodded back to both and drew both her knife and pistol. The music was loud enough to muffle any movement sounds but she still crouched down and moved slowly - most anyone's eye was still drawn to movement. Unless they were either totally oblivious or bombed out of their skulls, anyways.

The figure wore dark clothes, leather and spikes with hand drawn markings all over. His head was completely shaved, but he was facing away from the group, looking into a large freezer for something.

Arani didn't let him finish, instead gesturing to the door next to the freezer for the others to cover that as she moved up. The first blow was across his head with the butt of her pistol. It hit solidly and the man staggered forward, so Arani slammed the open freezer lid onto the top of his head and dropped him like a sack of potatoes.

She then got close enough to be heard by the others.

"Asa, can you look over his markings, see if you recognize any of them? And Moira - are you able to maybe use a more local connection? Maybe Bluetooth or something? I'm getting an idea about how to use their sound system to our advantage."

Asa nodded, moving swiftly to the unconscious body. She mumbled to herself as she moved the body around, examining all the markings. Lifting the head, she moved it side to side, leaning in every so often to get a closer look. She set the head down and picked up each arm, turning them slowly, at a reading pace. She lifted her sunglasses momentarily to get a good look at one forearm. She took a moment to think before looking at the others. "Devout, has been moved around to more than one cultist sect and has had more than one owner. However, nothing of value. Low value individual."

Moira gave a nod. "I can. Give me a moment." she paused. Connecting to Blutooth was like talking to a vagrant about how the universe worked. Sure, they might have had AN answer, but it was never a conversation you wanted to have. Opening up a public port to such an unsecured bandwidth was almost made her feel like some form of exhibitionist. Those beautiful eyes of hers dazzled as she switched her thinking from analog and words to digital and concepts. Digital handshakes. Host Files.

Spooftoof 4.3e Running
Login: ********
Passw: ********

Success. Securing connection. [**********]100%
Connection Secured. Listening to open ports.
Device Status
Junebug GLX43 OPEN
Idris Beats 44 OPEN
Wallflr Mouse 4 OPEN

Connecting to: Idris Beats 44
Establishing Sideline connection................................OK
Encrypting Connection..........................................................OK


"I'm in." she said with a grin to Arani. "Ready to bridge the connection on your go." Moira informed, ready to hand off the connection to another device at the ready. Until then, the music played, and none were the wiser.

Arani looked over to Asa and nodded. "Well, as long as we didn't just piss off some major player, that's fine. We can't dive in like that at this stage."

She then reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone, pulling up her music player app and opened the Bluetooth connection.

"Can you bump off their music and force my playlist onto it?" Arani asked Moira, "We can hopefully act on the distraction it'll cause. Either we can slip further in and try to find our victim or we go loud and use it to sweep these spawn worshipers aside to work in peace. I've no compunction against it, they're hardly upstanding types but I don't want to start a firefight that either of you are against. We're a team."

She glanced to both Moira and Asa - their input was equally valid as her own and they still had the luxury to act more democratically.

"It's far from what it was, but..." rather than reaching for her sidearm, she tugged at the nail and first full knuckle of her left thumb, which was a very well made facsimile. The piece of tech slid off, with a thin thin length of steel trailing behind it. A monowire. Cleverly using what must have been a demonstration of shame as a weapon.

The rabbitess turned to look at Arani. Sometimes, in the day or three that the two knew each other, there was warmth in that glance. There was something behind those eyes. Then the sparkle lit those eyes up, and it almost felt like she was looking through you. Beyond. Deeper. The warmth and friendship in that glance left and was replaced by something cold. Mechanical. Unfeeling.

Connecting to: Nokia Blade 15S
Establishing Sideline connection................................OK
Encrypting Connection..........................................................OK

Loading Bricklaya 4.5.2..................................OK

Download Contacts? [Y/N] - N
Download Files? [Y/N] - N
Establish Backdoor? [Y/N]

Query timeout
Establish Backdoor? [Y/N] - N

"There you are...." she said in a sing song voice, but the tune was unsettling. "You're live on your go. It'll keep playing his tunes until you hit play. I'm the bridge."

"Attempting to slip in seems wise while forcing as many out as we can. While I have no doubt we could take any one of them, the less there are the better our odds," Asa responded. "Ready on your call."

Arani arched an eyebrow at Moira's tone change but left it alone. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone and queued up her Bardify app and selected her main playlist.

The death techno stopped almost instantly, the silence was almost just as jarring.

"If you change your mind
(Take a chance take a chance take a chance)
I'm the first in line
(Take a chance take a chance take a chance)
Baby I'm still free
(Take a chance take a chance take a chance)
Take a chance on me"

Naturally, the shift from the typical death techno to ABBA's "Take A Chance On Me" provoked confusion, groans of displeasure and then additional confusion by the one who was providing the music and jeers from his compatriots that he had such a "wussy and girly" song on his playlist.

"...about the desired response." She had a wry smirk as she pocketed her phone. "Okay. Asa, go in, left and grab the first piece of cover you can. Moria, same but go right. I'll go center. If they spot either of you before you're in cover, put down cover fire and get down first. Then work on picking them off. If they scatter and run, let 'em go."

Arani knew the song by heart and was keeping with the beat to time their window. As soon as the chorus started, she nodded, "Go."

Moira was used to ruining lives. Doing it personally felt messy. Wet. Cold. A new thrill, or something to reflect on later. In any case if she was one inch off her game, she and others would pay the price. No time for morals, it was time to become the professional she was. Stepping lightly to position, at the call to arms she moved to strike against the musician as it were. A thin length of cord deployed from its spool probably somewhere in her wrist, coiling out through the prosthetic thumb as she looped it behind the thug's neck, then around the front. Then came the squeeze. Her soft, plush fur... soft, plush form... pressed tight against his back as the thin cable caught against his neck. Tighter, tighter, tighter. He started to struggle, started to squirm, started to grab for the cord. Amateur moves. Like he'd never choked someone. Or been choked himself.

Pathetic. But his squirming did give a greater window of distraction for her compatriots.

Asa moved left quickly, her cassock flowing subtly behind her steps. The first person to notice her came at her quick. Her eyes darted between her intended destination and the person moving towards her. A flash of something shiny in their hand left hand. Asa's right paw reached across and inside the cassock. When the person was just outside of reach, her hand drew the rondel and she pushed right, smashing the pommel into the face of the person who was not ready for the sudden movement. She did not slow down, hearing the thud of the person hitting the ground cold. Blood made a river out of both nostrils.

As she approached her concealment, a table she kicked over, she recognized the confusion in the club became also panic. With no one around her for the moment, her eyes darted to the other two. A person trying to get onto the low platform with the slumping DJ and Moira. She pulled a revolver with her left hand, felt two clicks of the hammer setting the cylinder and trigger, aimed, and squeezed. If ABBA was not enough to agitate and confuse, the sound of a black powder revolver would definitely sink the situation home. Asa watched the thug spin and fall, hit in the arm with an obvious entry wound and shattered humerus. Not her aimpoint, but close enough.

It became clear to Arani that the three of them not only had different fighting styles, but that the styles couldn't have come from more different worlds. Moira's came from about 10 years in the future, Asa had a further connection to the past than even Arani did. Whereas Arani probably had the embodiment of the last 40 years of low intensity conflicts...

The commotion finally got the attention of everyone else in the cultist hangout that had taken over this basement. Her pistol and knife came up, the former braced over the latter, and one hooded fellow with...was that a fire axe? Came rushing at them. Arani went for his left knee first, pitching him to the floor. As he sat up, he caught another bullet to the head.

Another had a sawed off double barrel shotgun with some kind of blade duct taped to it. Well, she'd seen the "zip guns" used by poachers while operating in Africa and Brazil, this was at least less likely to kill the operator. He was met with a Mozambique Drill, three shots in two seconds - two in the chest, one in the head.

An overturned fridge became her cover, not sure she wanted to know what the hell was in it but it likely wasn't ice cream and microwaveable dinners. There were three, maybe four more cultists left. No one was likely to pull out anything too sophisticated or impactful.

The DJ went limp, but his music still silently ran. His rig's connection to the speaker long since co-opted by the rabbitess, his sweet beats just rang into dead air. As for him, dead air seemed to work for his condition as well. Moira slide her hand down and plucked out his gun, a simple sidearm. No bells no whistles. Literally invisible in the digital age. "Going to need to borrow this. And this." she commented, her eyes gleaming.

Seeking Access Port....... OK!
Reading for Skillshard............ OK!
Copying from Skillsh--


"Damnit. Oh well, back to basics." She cursed, drawing the gun and holding it for a moment. She knew WHAT she was doing, she knew HOW to go through the motions, but it wouldn't be pretty. It wouldn't be flashy.

She drew a bead on the next cultist target and squeezed off a few shots. The first went wide, while the next two struck solid cover. Moira wasn't going to be winning any awards for marksmanship on this mission, but what she did provide was an opening.

Another shooter meant another angle, and the cultists she targeted turned their attention to see where the shots came from. A momentary lapse, but perhaps one to be capitalized on.

Asa mumbled to herself, "5, 6," as she watched her two compatriots, returning the weapons in both hands to their holsters. Her eyes moved quickly around the room, watching for movement and trying to get a more clear picture of what was around them. She instantly looked towards Haren as she shot, seeing her handiwork. The handiwork slowed another cultist, whose back was squared right to Asa. With her right paw she drew a revolver, feeling the two clicks as she leveled on the cultist. A subtle squeeze and the revolver announced itself with the smell and smoke of blackpowder, and another cultist dropped. "4, 6" she mumbled to herself afterwards.

Arani swung out of cover, bringing up her aging pistol and combat knife as another cultist got blasted by the past, quite literally. But the last one was right behind her cover and he began trying to wrestle her pistol away. He reeked of more than just BO and it made her want to gag. Like a butcher who had also worked in the hot sun.

But his mistake was he went for the gun, ignoring the knife. She jammed the steel blade into the underside of his arm gripping for the pistol, causing him to howl in pain but he didn't let go. So she twisted it to shift the angle he was deflecting the pistol back into his chest. As soon as the muzzle was aimed at him, she squeezed the trigger as fast as she could.

So many armchair enthusiasts complained that 9mm wouldn't stop a berserker in full rage, but that wasn't her experience - she never relied on one when 6 would do. All the more if it was in the right place. The cultist slid backwards, now with far more structurally superfluous holes and still with an old knife in his arm. The last round went to his head and that was when she extracted the knife.

The music was now gone, just the ringing in her ears and the smoke of the various guns that went off.

"...I think we're good here. Anyone hit?" Arani asked, extracting the nearly empty magazine for a full one.

The question that hung in the air with the smoke though was...what was the next move...


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