Just Like Clockwork: Scene VIII - Caelan, Erin, Ilkin, Rakesh, Rose

Cae did her best to ignore the many preserved brains (not to mention the mutilated corpse). She stared up at the dark hole and chewed on her cheek with a sharp canine.

"He isn't," she affirmed to Erin. "I don't know if he ever was, or if he's possessed or..." Cae suppressed a shudder. Tentacles!

She then focused on Ilkin, pointedly avoiding a glance at what he held in his hand. "Did he make it?"

"I can't tell just yet," the mage replied, "One or more of the creatures up there could be changelings but I can't tell. Hold on."

He narrowed his eyes and linked out, seeking the place in the timeline where Robert had called him. He checked his phone briefly to get the exact time, then locked on.

Dice Roll: 6d10s8e
d10 Results: 4, 7, 1, 4, 7, 9 (Total Successes = 1)
Postcognition (Time + Gnosis)

One minute from the time the phone call with Robert ended.

Dice Roll: 11d10s8e9
d10 Results: 4, 7, 10, 8, 8, 4, 10, 8, 9, 10, 9, 9, 3, 5, 8, 6, 10, 4 (Total Successes = 11)
Canine Perception, Using Luck Charm

Rakesh, meanwhile, had been doing a search in his own way. For the werewolf, this involved first a great deal of walking around the security room, examining the late clockwork servitor, and finally exiting the room for a moment. While Rakesh was perfectly willing to transform in public, it was one of those things that were preferably done in private. In part because it was the sort of thing that tended to make you lose your most recent meal.

A few moments later, a large, black-grey wolf padded into the security room. Rakesh walked through the room, his black nose just a few inches above the ground. With barely audible sniffs, the werewolf made his way slowly to right below the tunnel, then lifted his head. Rakesh's nostrils flared.

"I believe I know where Hammond went." Rakesh said with a calm voice. He stepped away from the tunnel, then ignoring modesty transformed back to his human shape. This involved a certain amount of melting and reshaping of flesh, rapidly receding hair, and generally other things that looked as though they had been sped up via a video filter, save that they were happening directly in front of you. "Hammond was around here for some time, his scent is all in the air. Then I believe the clockwork corpse found him, I would say five minutes ago. They haven't begun to putrefy yet, but they're soaked through with fear toxins, it gives them a rather unpleasant tang. In any case, I think Hammond handled it, judging from what we found."

"Afterwards... there's a smell of ozone and formaldehyde in the tunnel and directly below it. I conjecture that this was Schafer. She has this faint formaldehyde scent to her, and ozone is usually associated with the use of Arcana." The werewolf continued, his tone still rather bloodless. "Schafer didn't leave the area immediately below the tunnel. Robert's smell seems to be going up through the tunnel, so it seems that the two of them left by means of that egress, not more than a few minutes ago."

"At the far end of the tunnel..." Rakesh paused. "We're dealing with at least one more clockwork servitor and with Schafer. I'm almost certain Hammond is right above us as well. The rest... I can smell a rather expensive cologne. Wormwood?"

"Oh, that's neat, Mr. Clements. You can tell who is up there with magic." Erin looked up blankly at the ladder and chute. "Schafer can do that too, then. There is no more point in being quiet. Let's go get Mr. Hammond."

She had at least enough wits to linger and see if someone capable of taking a Wormwood to the chest - or moving fast enough to avoid it - was planning on going up first, but she fully intended to skitter up the ladder alone if it came down to it.

Ilkin grinned. "Thank you, Miss Lamothe, I'm charmed."

He pulled out his gun and checked the clip. "Let's get up there. As much as I'd love to stop Wormwood, my first priority is saving Robert and putting Schafer down. Besides, Wormwood has the Gentry on his trail for some reason. Those privateers won't be easily stopped."

The Acanthus warped Fate around him once again, pulling fortuitous strands onto his thread of the Tapestry. Then he flashed a grin at Seventeen. "Obrimos, right?" he asked, "Good thing there are no Sleepers here. Fire and lightning will come in handy."

Rose shifted her weight from right to left slowly but constantly, subconsciously shifting as the tick tock droned on.
"Oh, that's neat, Mr. Clements. You can tell who is up there with magic."
"Thank you, Miss Lamothe, I'm charmed."
"Is there really a point in all this Mister and Miss crap?" Rose said this more in impatiences then anything else, they were wasting precious seconds here, seconds that were ticking by... ticking.. and tocking.. and ticking some more.

"So your like a giant magic GPS and Fido over there is Lassie in a suit." GeGe's excitement at the unknown seemed to change in to edginess by the time it go to Rose. The naked man had gotten to see magic worked and a transformation and now he knew it was almost time to play with his ghost friend again! It was probably one of the most interesting things for him since he loved surprises. The dead man fixed his censor bar and swapped card fingers back and forth, the only thing on them were question marks.

Rose stepped carefully, each step taken with that same subconscious rhythm keeping until she reached the ladder. One hand gripped the side of it while she looked at her companions. "We really need to get going, GeGe has a friend he wants to chat with and standing here isn't going to help." she may have said this but the stripper made no move herself to actually climb the ladder, instead she paused hopeing someone else would like to go first so she could continue second or better yet third.

"Fido?!" This hurt. The werewolf cast a gimlet eye at Rose, though his eyes inevitably slid upwards to Gege. Rose, noticeable as she was, still faced stiff competition in the attention-capturing business. The werewolf muttered something impolite under his breath, then moved towards the ladder. He reached out and grabbed the bottom rung of the ladder, then began to pull himself up.

"Good luck everyone." Seventeen said grimly, then followed the werewolf. Cuchulainn was next, and in short order the rest of you headed up the tunnel, into the chamber of horrors and into a confrontation.


Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tick. Tock. Tock. Tick. Tick. Tock. Tock.

It was cold in the chamber, and the kind of frigid chill that left the breath smoking and formed little patterns of frost on metal or glass, given enough time. On the whole, the room was rather plain, especially compared to the panoramas which had greeted you throughout the transformed museum. Just a plan chamber with wooden floors and stout, brick walls. Several bookshelves lined with tomes from a long ago past ran along one wall, and a second was given over to a set of medical equipment, the height of early 19th century technology. There was a door, leading out to some strange corridor, and there were a handful of windows, showing an otherwise pleasant London night.

There was an operating table. The operating table, the one which Oleg Chernenko had wheeled in earlier this night, the one thing in this room which was actually real. Robert Hammond sat on the operating table, apparently unharmed, at least for the moment. The changeling was unbound, but there was an unpleasantly vague look in his eyes. They were glazed over, and utterly vacant. Beside the changeling stood one of the corpses which had so recently been messily executed on the floor of the Curio Room. In life, he had been a minor gang member. A tough man, nothing more. Now his skull was sawed open, and where his brain had been a device of clockwork and ectoplasm ticked away, slowly but surely. This was in one corner of the room.

In the second stood Fraulein Schäfer, ticking gently, forever 45. She was dressed in an apron stained with oil over a plain dress from an earlier age. Her aquiline, noble face was impassive. Her eyes were made of metal and glass, the ends of microscopes with those tiny ground glass lenses, set in those flat circles of shining brass. And the ticking came from her brain, the top of her head missing, the flesh at the edges of the open skull above her ears sealed with narrow bands of riveted brass, and the clockwork brain, the Schäfer Movement,in the open air, working in her head. She stood impassive, watching you with those alien eyes, while the long-dead mind still worked within that clockwork machine.

And in the third corner of the room sat Oleg Chernenko. Wormwood, the Poison Star. He looked... normal. In this madhouse of the past, Oleg looked like a white-collar worker on a lunch-break at first glance. Even sitting down, he was a tall man, cadaverous and thin, and he was ugly. His face was scarred by pockmarks, skin deeply lined. He had a neat beard, and his salt-and-pepper hair looked recently combed. He had taken off his jacket, the kind of garment that cost more than most of you were likely to earn in a year, and had spread it on the ground. His sleeves were rolled up and his tie were loosened, and he sat upon the casually discarded jacket, pouring himself a tumbler of rich, amber liquid from a bottle marked Glenfiddich.

Across his lap lay a single, steel baton. Thirty centimeters precisely from one end to the other, chill steel nevertheless somewhat rusted with age.

“I told you, Hippolyte, someone would show up.” Chernenko told the impassive ghost, raising the glass of whiskey in a toast.

Cuchulainn shot him before he took the first sip. From somewhere not heretofore seen, the mage withdrew a revolver, a huge gun with bullets in calibers usually reserved for shotguns. It took Wormwood in the chest, causing him to twist and jerk. Blood abruptly stained his shirt and coat. The Guardian must have hit him in the heart or an artery. Chernenko blinked and looked at the red spreading over his shirt.

“Always, the interruptions. No culture today.” Oleg said in a sharp, ugly voice. “I had not even made the introductions. There are proprieties to observe.”

Seventeen, caring precious little for proprieties, raised his hands and began to incant. Slippery, twisting words fell from his mouth, sounding like only so much glossalia to one not of the Awakened. Wormwood sighed and folded his arms, making a little “move this along” gesture with one hand until Seventeen finished. Then the Mage pointed his hand at Chernenko, and a bolt of lightning leaped from his hand. The air was filled with a sudden, acrid smell of burning flesh, as a fair portion of Chernenko's upper chest sizzled and boiled under the intense heat of the lightning.

“Guardians... pfah, I've lost my train of thought.” Chernenko said, then closed his grip on the steel baton in his lap. “Fraulein?”

From within a pocket of her apron, Hippolyte Schäfer withdrew a baton, precisely identical to the one in Chernenko's hand. Without a wasted movement, she swished it through the air like an orchestral conductor, gathering up energy and then releasing it in a spell of her own.

It was the same spell she had afflicted Caelan and Rakesh with before. Cuchulainn stumbled to his knees, clutching his head as if hit. The revolver clattered to the ground. Seventeen merely stood, eyes wide and staring, murmuring something in a horrified tone under his breath. “No... no... no...

“So.” Chernenko said, grinning broadly at the Guardians' distress. “Introductions?”

"Hello, Mr. Chernenko," Erin replied, rather impassively. "I'm Erin Lamothe. I'm part of the movie crew." She pulled herself out of the ladder chute, up next to Rakesh. "You don't mind if I go check on Mr. Hammond, do you, Mr. Chernenko? He is my boss, after all. He's not looking very well."

She walked over to Robert, barring psychic mind rape or a tentacle to the chest. Erin put an arm around the vacant-eyed man's shoulders, hugging him to lean slightly against her. He likely would have flinched, or acted terribly uncomfortable, if had been at all himself. She sighed as she brushed his temple with her fingers, murmuring quietly. "Oh, Mr. Hammond..."

And at the top of the ladder GeGe was about to, for lack of a better description, "bust-a-nut". The creepy tick tock brain woman was there for starters. Schäfer was different then last time, before she had been just a ghost and easy enough to see, this time looking at her made the poor stripper feel a bit cross eyed, like staring at a 3D movie without your glasses on.

Her eyes shifted to the top of the woman's head where the clock work brain ticked and tocked, It at least didn't have the 3D gone wrong image to it and was just a mechanical brain... though it did glow green. "Thats one," she said quietly to her geist whom vision she was perceiving the glow from.

Rose was trying to watch her when she heard a gunshot which made her jump out of her skin.

"JESUS!" she held her hand to her heart wide eyed, gun shots were not her friend right now. "Ooohch" followed by an involuntary flinch of sympathetically as she noticed a man having a picnic all by himself in the middle of the room got shot. Despite the fact that there was blood oozing around his shirt the man seemed to take it all in stride.
“Always, the interruptions. No culture today.” Oleg said in a sharp, ugly voice. “I had not even made the introductions. There are proprieties to observe.”
"Perky, isn't he." she commented right before she jumped again as a lightning bolt shot at him. "What the hell people!" rose was terribly worried she was going to have a heart attack before the end of this. Watching, the man sizzled a bit but it didn't seem to bother him all that much.

“Guardians... pfah, I've lost my train of thought.” Chernenko said, then closed his grip on the steel baton in his lap. “Fraulein?”
GeGe spotted the second glowing object in this freak game of 'Wheres Waldo' except in this edition Waldo was replaced by glowing objects. "The rod makes two." Rose squinted at the thing, it looked plain but it was defiantly one of them.

Schäfer made a move and the men in masks went down.

“So.” Chernenko said, grinning broadly at the Guardians' distress. “Introductions?”
Erin had moved over to find Robert Hammond who seemed way out of it but that wasn't the part that caught both Sin-Eater and Geists attention.

"Oh, Mr. Hammond...?"
"Mmmhmmm..." the two nodded to one another noticing the operating tables geist visioned glow. "And that makes three. Mama, Papa and baby..."

"Tables to big..." Rose muttered, it was the least confrontational object to get near but it would take to long to do anything about it. "Erin, sweetie," she called over "Why don't you stay there for a moment and let Mr. Hammond rest." She used two terms way out of line with her personality, sweetie and then calling Hammond, Mr.Hamond. Very out of place considering she had just chided everyone about formality not so long ago. At least one of there group was near the table, probably the most destructive of the group in Roses opinion.

Reaching her hands up to tug her ponytail tighter and smoothing out her borrowed shirt to excentuate her goods Rose turned her most charming smile to the half cooked-blood-stained-alcoholic in the center of the room. "Hello darling, my names Rose. I don't think we've met before." she spoke with an almost purr to her voice "I would remember a man like you with such a .... nice rod." she added a bit more emphasis and a wink to the last word. "People are so rude today, your suit is ruined but at least you didn't spill any of your drink." oddly enough this sentence was said normally and with true sincerity, partially due to GeGe hating to see liquor go to waste.

Dice Roll: 9d10s8e
d10 Results: 6, 1, 3, 8, 7, 6, 8, 8, 10, 6 (Total Successes = 4)
Spatial Map
Dice Roll: 5d10s8e
d10 Results: 6, 4, 9, 4, 2 (Total Successes = 1)
Perfect Timing

While the others talked, he spent time locking on. Apparently, that wand had some method of controlling the ghost. When Rose pointed it out, it confirmed the Acanthus's suspicions.

He let Rose and Erin chat and sidled closer to Rakesh. "Get the rod," he murmured and pulled out his gun. Then he fixed a cheery smile on Wormwood.

"Well, I believe that does it for introductions," he said, "I don't think you'll need to know my name. Besides, it wouldn't really make a difference."

And he fired.

Dice Roll: 11d10s8e9
d10 Results: 7, 1, 9, 5, 9, 3, 8, 6, 10, 9, 3, 4, 2, 2, 4 (Total Successes = 5)
Firearms - Using a 9-again on the shot, aiming to shoot the rod out of Wormy's hands.

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