Dresden Files

Novel 4 - Deathwish

Meeting the enemy

Several weeks after the guys handed over the locket to the White Council, life is business as usual. Sebastian’s club is almost rebuilt, Johan has nearly completed work on the 1969 Ford Mustang, Mireille has been busy doing the odd security job and Evan has mostly been lying low, trying to avoid the attention of his patron. So far he has succeeded. Almost two weeks ago Ric has left Amsterdam on White Council business. No one has heard from him since, but everyone expects him to turn up again sooner or later.

It was the end of the day when Mireille received the call of a Securitec representative. The company has been given the task of cleaning up all recordings that were made of the bombing of the Noord-Zuidlijn Exposition Center. It seems that Securitec has found new information and would like Mireille to come over to see the footage for herself. She agrees and calls up her comrades to go with her.

When they arrive the are shown a recording that was made at a nearby gas station, a few hours prior to the explosion. The footage shows a hooded figure walking away from the Exposition Center, along the canal, towards the camera and carrying a sports bag. However, since the camera is panning left to right, the figure is not shown in full detail. What the crew is able to make out, is that the figure is most likely a man, judging by his gait, and that at one point in the recording he has dropped the sports bag, probably into the canal.
Even though the event was recorded more than 6 months ago, Johan still suggests that they should investigate the scene, since they have nothing else to go on.

Once there they quickly find the spot that the camera recorded. There is no sports bag lying in the grass, so it has either been moved, or dropped into the water. Evan summons the pixie Marble to ask if he has seen anything at the water’s edge 6 months ago. Marble recalls that there was a figure who dropped something in the water, but when he flies over the water to show Evan the approximate site, he is attacked by a tentacle that suddenly shoots up from the water. It is clear that some creature is lying in waiting.

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Sebastian calls up a former lover of his, Cela. She is a marine biologist and has access to a remote operated submersible. When she arrives she almost ravishes Sebastian and starts to work on operating the ROV. On a remote display it shows that the water is very dark and visibility is next to nothing. However, at about four meters depth, it does show a leather loop lying on the bottom of the canal. At the same time the camera on the ROV jumps sideways, as if being hit by something heavy. From the surface the group can see the water starting to roil and the ROV is making loud, grating noises. The camera suddenly shows a large, bulbous eye that is attached to something chitinous.

Realising the ROV costs hundreds of thousands of euros, which would get Cela into big trouble of it got destroyed, Sebastian jumps into the water. However, in stead of rescuing the ROV, he goes straight for the leather loop he saw lying on the bottom of the canal. Visibility is next to nothing, but in the head light of the ROV he does see several long tentacles wrapped around it. Assuming the creature is busy with the vehicle, Sebastian quickly grabs the leather loop and with a sharp pull releases it from the canal floor. At that point he feels a sharp, burning pain in his neck and his body goes almost completely rigid for a second. With some effort he manages to keep control of his body and with a strong kick he pushes himself against the canal floor and propels himself upward. Once up he throws the bag on dry land, but manages to get stung again by a tentacle. His friends lift him up from out of the water and notice several deep red marks on his skin, as if he was stung by a large jellyfish. Evan suggests that they may be a subset of Fomor, an ancient, water based race of Fae that have been absent from the earth for millennia.

When things have quieted down again, the crew investigates the bag. There is not much to find: a few broken electronics, that Johan suggests could have been used as detonators, an almost disintegrated business card that reads BAG Construction, and an embroidering of the Alitalia logo on the bag itself.
Feeling tired and wet, the troupe decides to go home and clean themselves. In the downtime Mireille asks some of her contacts to cross reference names from Alitalia employees to BAG employees. There is only one name that pops up: Vito Salleri, a baggage handler at Schiphol Airport.

The group decides to confront Vito directly at his place of work the next morning, but not before Sebastian has someone have the ROV recording edited so that he is removed from all frames that can become public. Then Cela is sent on her merry way.

At 6Am the next morning Schiphol is already very busy. In the crowd it is hard to spot Vito, but then Mireille sees him entering the employee entrance. She calls out for him and when Vito sees her, he immediate starts to run. Mireille is just in time to keep the door open, after he escapes through it, into Schiphol’s baggage handling hall. Sebastian quickly pursues him, trying to stop him with an lightning quick kick in the head. However, Sebastian finds to his surprise that Vito is almost as quick as he is, and manages to stop him dead in his tracks by delivering a round-house kick to Sebastian’s face in response, and Vito runs away again, towards a security guard. Vito starts to grab the guard’s gun.

201407301545203390_cont.pngIn the meantime Evan has Veiled Mireille, and he and Johan also start to pursue Vito. Mireille rushes past Sebastian and grabs her knife, while Sebastian gets up on his feet again and jumps toward Vito with the intention to jump kick him in the chest. Vito is prepared though, and manages to grab Sebastian’s foot and wrenches him to the floor again. This is the opening Mireille needs and gashes Vito’s arm with her knife. Evan summons a huge blast of Force and manages to pin Vito, the guard and Mireille against the wall. Suitcases and bags fly open and cover the entire baggage handling area in underwear and flip-flops.
In this commotion, Mireille’s shirt becomes undone and her necklace is briefly visible. Vito’s eyes grow huge. “You?” he froths. “Where did you get that, bitch?” When Mireille explains that she found it he laughs. “It more likely has found you,” he cackles. “Why are you not insane yet?”
The sight of the necklace seemed to give Vito a new wind, and he wrestles free from Evan’s Force hold, grabbing the security guard by the neck and dragging him with him, towards another security door. And despite another skull shattering blow from Sebastian to Vito’s face, the baggage handler manages to escape through it, leaving the group with a hall of conveyor belts in chaos.

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Aghris

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