Putrid Air

July 30, 2016:

Jericho follows a lead to a bunker and calls in backup. Insectoid type humans greet them.

New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

From the road it doesn't look like much, which was the intention. It's just a turnoff from the state highway onto a gravel road, one of many in southern Vermont. There's a faded sign that can only be read by someone who gets out of their car and spends a lot of time peering at it. Good luck if the light's gone. The chain link fence around the property old and slightly saggy. As for the property itself, it's nothing special. Pine forest so common to the Northeast, a few dilapidated government buildings and a large oil stain where there probably used to be a 50's era motor pool.

And then there's the bunker. Most people wouldn't find it. The entrence is concealed in the middle of nowhere. Jericho wouldn't have found it if he hadn't known exactly what he was looking for. Uncovering the stairway down to the door took some work. It's a good thing that he can hulk out a bit if he needs to.

The door is sealed. Last time the door was sealed this went badly. So he calls May. And asks her to bring Simmons.

And some guns.

When Jemma arrives, with May and whoever else the SHIELD agents taps on the shoulder, she's dressed in field gear and is carrying her bag.

In many ways, things have settled for the biochem, but in others they've just got busier. "So you see, May." Jemmas been talking non-stop on their way up here "I think I might be able to use Daemonite genetic material for bio-tech implants. Particularly given its very regenerative nature."

And that should scare a whole lot of people.

Seeing Jericho, she waves "Hello Jericho."

Voodoo has thus far managed to avoid the nice Dr. lady and her frightening tests and questions but she knows it's going to happen soon. The dancer can only use "I just need a few days to settle in and adjust" for… well, a few days. So far these SHIELD people seem trustworthy but after what she's been through the past year it's going to take time and further proof before she's sure. One might think the telepathy would help but it doesn't really because she tries not to listen to people most of the time. It seems rude, it's creepy and hooollly fuck the random thoughts people have… you seriously don't even want to know.
Priscilla seems more curious than anything about where they are going though she does keep shooting Jemma nervous looks. The woman's conversation is so not helping her nerves. She's actually edging sloooowly away. Maybe this is going to be some sort of test of her abilities. Maybe they're going to lock her up or kill her or something worse… Grifter is the one she trusts the most and he isn't here. Oh shit there's the scary as hell guy she hit with the truck. She waves her fingers at him and tries a smile. Her backing away leaves the dancer almost on top of May.

Putting a hand up to keep Kitaen from backing over her, May doesn't move, and she doesn't push the woman. She just stops her from balking further. "Simmons, we're not even going to consider that possibility until every conceivable contingency or possible risk is addressed and checked eight times over. I will not take that chance with anyone's life."

When they find the 'scary guy who got hit with a truck' (oddly Jericho knows two people who fit that description) he's kneeling with his ear pressed to a the door and he looks like he's been that way for a bit. Their arrival has him rising.

"May. Simmons." Priscilla gets an interested look. Hrm. Trying her on for size are they? "Ma'am. I ran across a reference to this bunker while raiding Section data storage. The base it's on hasn't been used since the late 50's… officially. This lock though…" He gestures to a much more modern if completely non functional electronic lock. "Perhaps says otherwise. Last time I went into a bunker like this I found out that I wasn't alone."

He steps back and everyone can see his traces flush blue under his shirt as he picks up large bore weapon with a cylindrical magazine. May - and perhaps only May - will likely be familiar with the Pankor Jackhammer, an automatic 12 gage. The fact that Jericho's breaking out something like that suggests that he thinks he's gonna need a room broom.

"You'll note the door has been welded shut all the way around the edges and down the center here. The steel plate that was covering the entrence to the stairway had also been welded shut. And then someone had piled a few boulders atop it. Whatever's in here, someone didn't want anyone getting in or out."

With that, the hacker leans back and kicks the door soundly in the center. Ordinarily that'd probably do… nothing. Traced out as he is though, it breaks the weld and the locks and makes the doors swing inward with an almighty groaning sound. The air that rushes out is humid and smells of rot. There is no light in the corridors at all.

"Right. Stay close. There's a split in the corridor up ahead. One passage goes south, the other goes east. Schematics weren't clear on what was kept where so I'm blind on this one."

Jemma frowns as May puts that caveat forward. "Of course, Agent May. It's just on the drawing board, there's a lot of work to do before we get anywhere near that." Priscilla gets a slight sigh, Jemma will need to see the young woman very soon.

As Jericho explains, the biochem considers "Data to the other project we're working on?" as she speaks she takes out a normal handgun. Her ICER is in the holster on her hip, but … she knows what they might be expecting inside. "Where do you want me?"

She falls into line and follows the others in.

Turning around Voodoo apologizes to May with a sheepish expression. "Sorry, didn't see you." She turns back and listens to Jericho's explanation. Her expression slowly fades from curiousity to alarm. By the time he picks up his gun the dancer's eyes are as wide as they can be. "Well, that's not creeping or alarming at all."
Priscilla realizes she could tear the door open, probably dent it like that too and eyes her hands, some of the sudden fear fading as she thinks about it. Thus far she's mostly tried to keep from using her abilities. It's slowly beginning to occur to her how useful they might be. Plus it's getting harder to hate something that keeps saving her life. Harder, but not impossible since the changes done to her are what keeps landing her in danger. If she tries to keep May and Jericho between her and Jemma… well. The Dr. is rather terrifying. At least to her. Possibly more so than whatever is in that bunker.

May barely manages to keep herself from sighing when Jericho kicks in the door, and then she's offering Priscilla something that looks like a metal cylinder about the same dimensions as a bicycle handlebar handle. "Squeeze the grip to extend the baton," is all the instruction the younger woman gets before May is pulling her own pistol and ushering the dancer forward. She's got everyone's six.

Jericho moves forward in a tactical crouch, weapon at the ready. If he looks comfortable doing this, it's because he is. He's lived this kind of life before. He doesn't have a light but he doesn't need one. The hacker can see perfectly well in the dark. The others might want some light though.

"Just don't go wandering off, Simmons." Jericho says at a low murmur. Something goes 'squick' in front of him and he glances down. No one can see the face he makes but they can smell the suddenly near overwhelming smell of decay.

"Watch your step." If anyone glances down, there's a body. It's… clearly in a very advanced state of decay.

Up ahead is the split in the hallway. Jericho looks first one way, then the other. "Why don't we…"

Scraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaape. That's from the right hand hall. The ex-commando turns sharply to point his weapon. "We're not alone… I don't see anything though."

"I won't, Jericho." Jemma responds. She's used to this part of their missions, where she … just walks.

Wrinkling her nose at the smell, it's something that she's sort of used to. "It might be worth getting samples from that…" she murmurs. Always the Scientist.


Jemma looks up… if Jericho can't see it, does that mean …

The dancer seems okay with the baton, she really doesn't want a gun. Not even slightly, and if she's not super familiar with weapons, it's like a bat if she uses her imagination and she knows how to use a bat… just swing it at whatever is in front of her. Plus, she's a lot stronger than she used to be.
Priscilla gasps then gags as she realizes what just happened. "Ohgodohgodohgod." She turns around and dry heaves into the doorway, feeling so glad she hadn't yet eaten before they left. Aware there is probably something else awful in here still alive, she quickly turns back , giving Jemma's sample comment a disturbed look. Then, holding it out of range of the others, presses the button on the baton May gave her. When she hears the scraping, Voodoo twitches and clutches her baton but if anyone is looking they'll see an expression of determination overtake the fear. She is not going to puke or faint with fear. She's going to do something impressive dammit! If these people throw her out for being useless, she's got no where else to go.

Yeah the smell is vile. But what does it say about May that she's smelled similar before? At the scraping noise, her pistol is promptly aimed that direction even if she has even less of a chance of seeing what it out there than Jericho does.

Scraaaaaaaaaaaaaaape. It's genuinely hard to tell where it's coming from. Jericho takes a half step forward, peering into the blackness…

And then something screeches bloody murder from the side. The hacker smoothly whirls to face the other hallway and opens fire. The rapport of the twelve gage echoes like thunder in the closed confines of the bunker. The muzzle flashes reveal half a dozen things running at them. It's hard to tell with the brief glimpses of them but they look human… or like they once were. But there's chitinous patches on their skin and several of them seem to have long, scything talons made of bone or something similar in place of hands. Some of them, indeed, have more than two arms.

Two of them are cut down. The rest are most certainly hit. There's no place in that corridor to hide, but on they come. Jericho's shotgun runs dry and he tosses it aside, pulling a large combat knife as the things rush into cutting range.

Jemma yelps as the weapons start firing. What?! Regardless of everything, she's still a Scientist. Peering into the gloom, squinting as the muzzle flare highlights things. "Uh…"

Frozen for a moment, the biochem finally recalls herself, aims her sidearm and starts firing. Slowly, but steadily, something kicking in on her reflexes. Another hang over from her time in the portal? Likely.

She'll totally let the others take position in front of her as she catalogues the contents of her bag. She's got the modified seekers that shoot dendrotoxin… maybe they'll work? She's about to find out.

Three spherical balls spin into the air and head towards the oncoming mass … there aren't many payloads, but it should help.

Voodoo can see enough to be more frightened and a little confused. What the hell are those?? They aren't.. they can't be something like her, can they? It's not light enough and they are moving to fast for her to be sure but the thought enrages her. The fear melts away and the dancer cries out in rage as she steps around Jemma and thrusts her baton forward in a stabbing motion at one of the creature's eyes with all her strength.
She doesn't really think about it, it just kinda happens. Otherwise she'd probably not have gone for a killshot. Certainly not without being very desperate and the woman isn't, yet. Priscilla also kicks outward towards the same creature, trying to knock it into one of the others which will also turn out fortunate for her if she actually manages to impale it. She's probably gonna need that baton more.

"Out. NOW." May fires toward the group charging at them, her pistol sounding like little pops after that cannon of the shotgun. If Jemma doesn't start moving promptly, she'll pull the woman back by her collar. (Have to leave her hands free to fire at those things after all. "Kitaen, move."

This is the one time that Jericho's movements might be compared to dancing. He sidesteps a taloned swipe, armbars the creature and slams it into the wall. The sound of his knife making meaty thunks in the creature's back, severing the spine, is barely audible in the din of the fight. May takes down another. Kitaen the third with a strike to the eye and then a vicious kick that downs it. Jemma's balls take out the 4th, slamming into it's head and snapping it back with enough force to break the neck. That probably wasn't intentional… but it worked.

And just like that the hall is silent again.

"Clear!" Jericho calls as he recovers and reloads his shotgun. His ears are ringing a bit. It takes a moment but… he doesn't hear anything else.

Jemma looks at May and nods once, preparing to fall back until Jericho calls CLEAR.

Hesitating, she peeks around the back of everyone, recalling her drones, letting them settle - all icky looking - in their case."

Pushing past everyone, the biochem pauses over the bodies, she really wants to examine them but now probably isn't the time. "Where to, Jericho?"

Voodoo is a dancer and has been for a few years. She excels at it, it's the one thing she's very good at. Unfortunately the only training she has in using all that agility in combat is whatever the aliens inserted into her mind. Alot of it is still locked away, slowly infiltrating her mind and instincts as time goes on. Sometimes it still helps a bit but this isn't one of those times.
As the creature screams and dies, she realizes what she just did and Priscilla scrambled back. The woman doesn't need May's command to get out to hurry her. She backs up to the corner and with a half choke/ half sob turns towards the door and hugs herself. The baton is now pointed at her foot and unknowingly she hits the tazer button. There's a flash of light, a gasp and the sound of the dancer hitting the floor flailing and twitching.

Melinda May lets go of Jemma as soon as Jericho gives the all clear, holstering her pistol while looking back at Priscilla She'll give her thirty more seconds to regain her composure. "What was the original staffing of this facility, Trent?" She wants to know because this puts the body count up to thirteen, and she wants to know how many more of those zombie-like things they'll have to deal with.

"Slick." The hacker mutters hearing Kitaen drop behind him. He doesn't even look back as he starts to move.

"No." Jericho says. "The original staffing is all long since retired. Everyone who was on the books anyway." He's moving forward now, toward a room at the end of the hall.

"I got some hints that this place was being used by the Section but had been abandoned. Last bunker I raided had some.. things like that. Only a few though."

They reach what looks like a computer room. Jericho glances about and then moves to one of the computers. There are bodies scattered about the room. Several of them. All clawed to death.

And actually if anyone's looking, they were clawed to death by something really, really big. The slashes don't match the creatures they just saw…

Jemma glances at Priscilla and then to May "Perhaps we need to include the correct handling of tazers in the introductory course…" she murmurs as she follows Jericho into the next room.

Jericho can have the computers, she'll examine the bodies for the moment. She's quiet while she does, glancing thoughtfully back down the way they had come "Agent May, Jericho? There's something else, much bigger, in here…"

Priscilla slowly sits up and quietly twitches in the corner. She can definitely see advantages to this alien DNA stuff. That hurt like hell, it still hurts but she's up and climbing to her feet now. The dancer gingerly steps towards the others after picking the baton back up and holding it much more carefully.
She doesn't know to thank them for not commenting on her stupidity. Jemma probably didn't mean for her to hear the taser introduction thing and honestly, she can't disagree. So much for being impressive. She's also grateful for the dark helping hide the rose coloring her cocoa skinned face. That was so much worse than the throwing up. "I.. I didn't mean to kill him. I remembered.. things. What are they? are they all dead? They must have been so hungry and afraid. Maybe we could help them?" She quiets for a moment then whispers in a mortified voice. "Please don't Cash what I did. I'll get better. I promise." She follows Jericho then more out of a desire to get away from the creatures than curiousity. She remembers belatedly that there is tiny flashlight on her keychain and uses it to look around. This room is so not better than the hall. Slowly a frown crosses her face and she kneels near a body instead of edging away. "Um..this is wrong. I mean, it's all wrong. So damn wrong but look… those guys are small…" she points at the larger slashes. Good, Jemma sees it too.

Despite appearances Jericho is paying attention. And he didn't like what he heard just then.

"What?" His tone is firm as he turns around. It's still dark in here but he's instantly on alert. What he doesn't see, what no one may see, is a ten foot tall bipedal but distinctly insectoid creature simply 'appear' against the wall. It had been there the whole time, in reality. Just chameleoned.

It lashes out and grabs at Priscilla with a hideos screech as mantis like shredding limbs unfold from its shoulders.

"I said, there's something else mu—-" Jemma yelps as the creature appears, nearly tripping over the body behind her. "That!!" She raises her pistol but doesn't fire, Priscilla is in the way … and really, Jemma's a mediocre shot at best.

Voodoo doesn't scream aloud at least as a large buglike thing appears and grabs her, so there's that to comfort herself with later when she goes over this again on her own and thinks of all the things she did wrong, didn't do or should or could have done. She's determined to get better dammit and actually help. Instead she screams at the monsters mind like Grifter directed her to do during the flight after they saved her ass yet again.
The dancer's arms and hands transform, taking on green scales, fingers fusing and large claws replacing nails. It's starting to become a familiar sensation. So is the feeling of the large wings that sprout from her back forcefully into the face and neck of the thing holding her. She'd felt pretty nervous about leaving her jacket behind and not accepting a vest or anything but the wings are the reason why. She hates losing her clothes to the transformation. Priscilla swipes hard behind her in the direction of the bug's stomach area. Or what she thinks is it stomach and thrashes about trying to get free.

Melinda May returns from having stepped outside to report in to SHIELD and get a cleanup crew on their way, and mutters a curse in Mandarin before pulling her pistol and trying to aim for the insectoid thing. Not an easy task when Priscilla is flailing about, so she holds her shot. For the moment.

Jericho can't shoot. The weapon he has is nowhere near precise enough. He'd risk hitting Priscilla. Honestly… Jemma would too and she's got a pistol. May's good enough to take this shot even in the dark which is a good thing because she may have to..

Priscilla hears a snarl behind her as light spills into the room in the form of a glowing blue power field that slams into the creature that she's raking… and also subsequently into her. It's bleeding now, a lot. Jericho catches one of the mantis limbs and tears it off to a horrid shriek.

There's two people on this thing in melee but it's taller than both of them. Perhaps if the shooters aim high?

Jemma holds the pistol in a weavers stance, a calm washing over her. Like she's done this before.

Perhaps she has and she just can't remember.

As Jericho barrels into the thing and Priscilla attacks, she levels the pistol, aims … high and gently squeezes the trigger.

Voodoo does cry out loud this time, in pain as the field hits her as well. Her back feels like its on fire, less so on her wings but they hurt too. She can't tell through the pain if she's bleeding or cut or burned but the creature's blood is oozing onto her and she can feel that as well. Wet and sticky and horrible smelling.
The dancer does see May out of the corner of one eye and stops thrasing, stops moving at all after tucking her head against her chest. She goes limp, trying to give the lead Agent a better shot. She doesn't see Jemma fire but that's probably a good thing. It'd just scare her more.

Melinda May takes a shot a split-second after Jemma does, also aiming high, both because the thing is taller than even blue-wolf-armor-Trent and because she tends to try for head shots anyway. Call it being economical. One hit, one kill. One hopes.

The claw fight in the dark is almost impossible to track. The twin muzzle flashes from May and Jemma show that Priscilla has dropped to the floor and Jericho is knifing the creature repeatedly in the gut while his other hand holds off the remaining pinscer limb.

And then it stops. It's impossible to tell if it's Jericho's attacks or a bullet that end the creature but it goes limp and slides to the ground leaking ichor. When the cleanup crew arrives, though, they'll discover that the beast has two bullets in its head, side by side.

The only sound for a long moment is Jericho panting.

"Clear…" He says finally. His voice is a bit rough from yelling and snarling. The eyes of his power field are glowing bright blue, mirroring the almost obscured blaze of amber at their center.

"Everyone alive?"

Jemma breathes through the shot, nearly at one with the weapon. Whatever she experienced through that portal, that she had to do this a number of times is evident. Well, it would be if anyone could actually see.

As the pistol lowers, the biochem blinks several times, slowly focussing on more than the task at hand. "I'm … fine. Are you and Priscilla?" she asks, edging closer to the downed creature, taking a small flashlight from her belt and shining it over the … chameleon.

"Fine." Of course, May would likely say that if she were sporting broken bones. She has before. While Jemma moves toward the bug-thing, May pulls a flashlight of her own and approaches Priscilla. "Hey. Kitaen." She does shine the flashlight toward Jericho (but not in his face) to make sure he's okay as well.

Priscilla crawls a few feet away from the creature and slowly gets to her feet, panting and wincing in pain. "Alive." She murmurs, then louder. "Thank you." She moves to look at the insect thing with an intent and thoughtful expression. It's pretty horrifying really but at this point she's kinda past that part. There's only so many strong emotions a person can stand within a such a short period of time before they just blur together or go away entirely. Since she's curled up in a ball on the floor, mentally at least, the dancer seems to be alright.
She eyes the monster, then the bodies and glances towards the hall. If she'd thought of it, she could have tried to mentally scan this place and discover what was in here. Or felt this thing, or at least that hey weren't regular humans. She could have not electrocuted herself. Or torn the door open, or some other thing she doesn't know to do, or that she's capable of. These people can help her. THey want to help her and she wants to help them and to fullfill her promise to the ones she left behind. She's got learn how to trust again. How to move past her fear. That means letting Jemma examine her, no matter how frightening and worrisome she finds the idea.
"I'm afraid." She admits to May. "I ended up like this because of those things and their tests and experiments." She looks at Jemma. "I don't want that to happen again. I also don't want to die, and I want to help you all. I'm just.. afraid. What if I can't, or there's something I disagree with, or people die trying to help me? Will you just lock me away and do more experimens? It's just all so.." She sighs. Cole trusts them and while the dancer is a little mad at him still, she's pretty sure of the man. "I guess you have to kinda trust me too. Not to be one of them. You brought me here after all when you're lives might've depended on me. I can see how much a risk that was." She looks around again and blushes. She tazered herself, oh god. "Okay. I'll so it." Voodoo nods at Jemma. "You can look at me."

"Touching." Jericho says as his power field fades and he drops down to the floor lightly. The hacker wipes off and stores his knife and slings his shotgun again. He seems okay when May looks at him. There's something in the eyes though. Something that's… different. Off. It looks almost like when he went… er… it looks like when a training incident went wrong. Almost.

"I'm gonna work on the computers here. When your cleanup team gets here I'll be on my way. I'll let you know what I find if it turns out to be interesting."

The way things are going, he's sure it will be.

"Mean time someone see if we can vent this place? It smells like a bag of smashed ass."

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