A Frosty Coven

December 13, 2018:

Blade and Moon Knight converge on a vampire data mine; Neopolitan and Lena are already there, working their own angle.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Log Commenced: 13-Dec-18 07:41PM EST

*

Once every three complete lunar cycles, half of Chinatown goes dark for an hour. The public is told that this is for ceremonial reasons, for cultural traditions.

Naturally, it's not remotely true.

Beneath a fishmonger's shop is a massive array of dark web servers and GPUs that normally work to mine cryptocurrencies and amass occult lore. This data alone makes the site a high-value target for entrepreneuring burglars.

During the hour of darkness, however, the neighborhood's power is used here for its real purpose: to calculate the computational spells necessary to draw out powerful demonic forces through the dimensional veil.

So, tonight, the neighborhood goes dark as a man in a white business suit and full head mask dials his cell phone. "Right on schedule. 59 minutes and counting." He looks around. "And I have to admit, with the change in lighting … something feels oddly familiar, but I can't put my finger on it."

*

The Moon Knight steps out into the middle of an empty street and stares at the fishmonger's shop. "Let's do this."

*

+MEET: Ne has arrived via +meet.

*

Blade just grunts at Moon Knight's assesment, peeling away from the shadows as if born from them. He produces a heavily modified Vektor submachine gun from under his duster, peeling the bolt back a quarter inch to ensure it's loaded. The weapon's stowed again and he tugs his duster into place, though it doesn't conceal the blade hilt sticking up behind his head.

"Hope your intel was good, Knight," Blade growls, in his sibilant baritone. "Last thing we need is to put Chinatown into a panic. Where's this datamining facility at?" he asks, head panning left and right. He sniffs through his nose. "They must be shielding it somehow. Can't smell ozone anywhere."

*

Some might be out for sinister reasons, others? For the hunt of those dangers. Neon? Her own hunt was far more serious in the young mutant's mind; she was trying to find that bakery she'd visited months ago. A demonic invasion wasn't great for certainty that the businesses are still standing! Of course, so far the icecream colored girl hadn't had much luck between unfamilarity and being mute, especially since she didn't 'speak' chinese. Now that things were shut down? She was simply left wandering with a slight frown on her face.

How rude! She just wanted a pastry or two damn it!

*

Perhaps, he could smell the cold. Currency is currency is currency, and as times progress, the type of payout does, too. This wasn't pretty. It didn't glimmer or shine, nor did it make the eyes grow wide when one looks upon it - data mining and cryptocurrency were produced on banks of metallic boxes, all whirling and humming together, latching up in a network of wires. At least her intel was right - there was a black out, and that would be very useful. Blackouts were good, and for a set up for mining, they would always have some back up generator to allow the process to continue. You couldn't waist a second with these things.

There was always something new in this city, though. The girl dressed in a heavy jacket with fur lining its hood, dark pants, boots, bloves, and a silver visor covering her eyes, was starting to really loathe the inconsistancies. People were already standing in front of her destination. It was enough to cause her to glare and mutter under her breath. Slipping away and around, she aims for the back entry point of the shop instead.

*

"Yeah," Moon Knight replies into his phone. "I'm standing right in front of it." He looks at the unlit sign in front of him. "I have no idea what the sign says, but the two big guys with pistols under their arms kind of give it away."

The two men, in fact, begin walking toward the man in white. He raises a finger. "Just a sec," Knight says loudly before saying into the phone, "I'll keep these occupied if you've had enough time to stretch."

Ending the call, Moon Knight flings his phone at one of the guards. It makes contact with the bridge of the man's nose and he staggers backward in pain. The second guard reaches for his gun, but the Knight seems to conjure a crescent-shaped throwing weapon out of nowhere with his other hand, and it pins the guard's hand to his chest. He screams.

The back door to the facility is heavily locked but apparently unguarded. The owner is, after all, among the most powerful of New York's triads. Who would have enough of a death wish to get on his bad side?

Inside, it's clearer that this is the right place for the server farm - the fish on the floor are jiggling lightly from the deep thrum from below.

Downstairs, things are illuminated only by the lights of the machinery. Blinking green and yellow lights. In the darker corners of the basement, there also appear to be red lights … that don't blink.

*

Blade just follows in Marc's wake. The Moon Knight's more than capable as far as a fighter goes, and it frees Blade's attention up to sniff the night air. He turns his head around just in time to miss Lena's departure down a side alley, eyes narrowing behind his glasses.

Then his comrade is hailing him, and Blade focuses on Marc. "Right behind you," he gravels, and steps up to trail the white-draped warrior like a shadow. Yin and yang, these two, and he follows Marc deeper into the building.

*

As interesting as her search for treats might be, even for Ne it fell second to survival. If one lives long enough on the streets, they learn to listen out for the sounds of trouble. Then again, the pained 'blade through the hand' scream wasn't exactly subtle. Of course, most people would take that as reason enough to go walking in the opposite direction, but the girl wasn't most people. Instead one hand comes up to lazily brush a two-tone bang out of her eyes and she too creeps closer, headed for the alley where she can follow the source of the trouble.

She's quick enough to catch a glimpse of the monochromatic pair slipping into the building, strange enough a sight that she bites her lip.

Curious. The hero types she'd been around lately would follow up to ensure the innocent weren't being hurt and the thief she'd been would follow just to see if whatever they were here for was valuable… Whatever her reason, she silently creeps towards the door a few seconds lag behind. Curiousity had clearly gotten the better of her.

*

Lena glances up at the sounds of fighting. Her fingers, however, are making quick work down the line of locks that keep the barrier shut before her. Her lips move, silently speaking to herself before the door cracks and her supplies are put away. "Forty…I'm getting slow." She tsks before bracing her cold gun and entering cautiously. The smell causes her nostrils to flare and twitch, but the gateway to the lower level, and her goal, was easy enough to find.

Step by step, she eases down, listening for the hum of technology and her pending pay day. The green lights as they click and go about their duties is promising, but its the red that catches her attention. Eyes forward in the dark, her visor allowing her some vision to twist and bend around the darkness, it all causes the girl to sigh. "Hell…" The cold gun's energy source lights up, a neon blue-white shattering the shadows as she shoots out and against her would be attackers.

*

With Blade behind him, Moon Knight heads toward the stairwell leading down into the dark basement. He pauses at the top of it and lets out a deep breath.

"You know, maybe it's better if you go first from this point. After all, you -" Knight nods in the general direction of the woman following them, responding to some sound or glimpse of … something. "Uh. I guess we might have company. Hey!" he calls. "Hail the 'great darkness', am I right?"

Down below, there's a loud crackle of energy that echoes up to the main floor. A red-eyed creature of the night swoops toward Lena in response to her blast, but its forelimb - which appears to be halfway between an arm and a bat wing - freezes, causing it to veer shoulder-first against one of the server arrays with an inhuman shriek. It bares its fangs and tenses into a crouch before swiping with its good limb toward the jacketed woman's torso.

Another pair of creatures race up the steps, launching themselves at Blade and Moon Knight. The latter hero falls backwards from being tackled, shoving a baton into his assailant's mouth while it wildly tries to bite him.

"What the …?" Moon Knight asks between grunts of effort. "The ceiling … I've seen that pattern before!"

The architectural design of the fishmonger's building has a strange, asymmetrical layout that, at a glance, resembles simple cartoons - or cuneiforms.

*

Marc's lame attempt at greeting the woman is met with a steady, skeptical glare from Blade. Dark sunglasses notwithstanding, the thin press of his lips suggests his dissastifaction more readily than words could.

"Hail the great darkness?" he asks Moon Knight.

But then there's the crackle of a weapon discharging and the sounds of combat from below, and Blade's sword appears in his hand with preternatural swiftness. "Stay back," he warns Ne— and charges down the stairs, swift and silent as a passing shadow.

*

Hail the what now? The two-tone girl actually gives Marc a slow blink like he'd just sprouted a second head. She doesn't answer him, at least not verbally, instead those ever-so-slightly glowing eyes just sort of stare for a moment. People were strange! The sudden blast's light from downstairs however has her looking past the weirdly dressed pair. That was weird…maybe a mutant power or some kind of laser weapon? It certainly had her rather curious.

Then those bat things came charging and pouncing, and there was even more 'weird' about.

Blade's warning is indeed heard as the big man goes charging into the dark with his sword, but Neon instead turns her gaze towards the still-pounced Moon Knight and shrugs her shoulders before lifting a hand that emits a bright bolt of icey energy towards the thing. Must be some sort of leftover demon, right? Those hadn't stood up to flash-freezing all that well…but Moon Knight might be left feeling a little on the cold side.

*

Lena ducks against the twist and turn of the winged creatures flail. Growling as this 'easy' score was now turning into a freakish shitshow, the girl turns up the juice on her gun and widens the spread. Claws and fang alike rip at her jacket, digging into underarmor and sending cotton flying into the air. A shot here, another here, each popping off with an almost melodic ring, she focuses on joints and limbs. Once frozen through, they get a heavy plant of chunky boot sole, shattering the zones into hundreds of glimmering pieces.

The space was cramped enough without someone else joining the frey, and at the sound of someone else heading down the steps, the girl lifts her gun only for her hood to be snatched by a needle like fingers, yanking her back and prone, driving the air from her lungs. Teeth down, she shoves the triangle barrel of her weapon into its mouth, squeezing the trigger.

*

"Look, I - gahh," Moon Knight attempts to respond to Blade. "I just figured - oof! - maybe that'd draw someone out, I don't know!"

Ne's cold blast knocks the vampire off of Moon Knight, and he uses the momentum to wrestle himself on top of his opponent and drives the baton further into its now-frozen mouth, separating its lower jaw from its skull. The vampire screams, flops, and then dissipates into a pile of ice chips that quickly melt into flakes of ash.

With a rush of breath, Moon Knight gets to his feet and points up. "This building has a kind of warding. Or insulation. It says something about …" He spends a long moment reading silently. "This place is hidden, Blade. Hidden from Khonshu. There's darkness here - defined however literally or figuratively you want - so deep that the moon god can't shine his light over it."

In the server room, there's a muffled bursting sound as the vampire clawing at Lena is transformed into a one-man snowstorm, icy ash-flakes coating the room as they disintegrate.

With a moment's respite, though, it becomes clearer that the lights here aren't just reflective of server hardware - they're arranged in a way to suggest some arcane glyphs, like a much creepier version of a sorcerer's circle of protection.

Of course, the clock's still ticking, and that data isn't going to steal itself!

*

"Break the warding circle," Blade tells Moon Knight. His voice is slightly tense, though still breathtakingly relaxed in the face of the flying energies and explosive battle. His sword dips and spins twice, separating two vampires at the neck from their heads, and he holds it in a high guard position over his head, ready for the next attack.

"They're either keeping something in or keeping something out. Either way, break the damn circle," he tells Marc.

"And get that data before the drives are slagged!"

*

There was a quick rapid-fire gesturing of Neon's hands at Moon Knight, but unless the man understood sign language the message was probably lost on him. Then again, she didn't quite understand all this talk of rituals and warding circles either. Instead? Her gaze goes to the next rushing monster past Blade, adept as the man clearly was at dealing with them, and she flicks her wrist. A glowing energy twists through the air only to harden into an icy shard intended to impale into the next creature. It might just be a hunch, but it wasn't hard to guess who was probably the 'bad' guys here.

The flash of chilling energy deeper in the darkness has her tilting her head while she holds her still-glowing hands extended before her gaze spots the parka-padded Lena. Since when did they make guns that could do what she did?

*

Lena wasn't working with these two. She didn't listen to anything regarding 'darkness', nor warding circles or anything else that sounded like 1-800 mumbo-jumbo. She did know that, now, with a dusting of ash and frost, that the attackers were gone. She had her purpose, it just seemed to fall in line with something they were doing. She earned this score. Slipping her gun away onto a maglock system on her thigh, she rushes toward the green lights only then noting their pattern. Soon enough it would break as her fingers get to work against the wiring. Unlatching, unhooking, and protective of what was inside the component, she drags out stacks of five at a time and starts laying them on the floor. Tossing down a duffle bag, she stuffs the stacks in.

She was content with twenty boxes, that should be enough to shuffle through and see the amounts each bank had to offer. Twenty was fine and getting away from this mess was even better. Lugging the bag onto her back, she snatches up her gun once more and aims at what's left. Trigger down, the area glows with a brilliant light as she begins freezing off and destroy the remaining stacks.

*

"Alright, alright!" Moon Knight grumbles. "It just makes my head hurt, is all." He fishes for something in his suit jacket before retrieving a small sphere.

Then, he tosses it up into the ceiling, where it promptly explodes on contact. Part of the roof blows out into the street. The structural 'meaning' is definitely disrupted.

Moon Knight laughs softly. "There you are," he mutters before straightening up, as if listening to something or someone next to him.

The hard drives are slipped easily enough into duffel bags, and the arrays getting frozen begin to groan from the extreme cold they're beginning to suffer. There are other groans, too, like yowls of agony from something else inside, or perhaps part of, the machines.

With the ceiling and server 'circles' now marred, Moon Knight snaps his fingers. "Blade! Something's happened. This place was hiding important info - but it's visible now, like that map in the Hobbit. Secrets uncovered in the moonlight."

He turns to the cold-wielding woman. "I can't sign, I'm sorry. But if you're hunting vampires, you're my kind of person. If not … good thing you can do /that/." He points to her hands.

Then, Moon Knight glances toward the basement stairwell. "Whatever the hell's going on down there, we should probably go. I figure the explosion's going to bring attention before our hour is up. And I know where we need to go next …" He gestures to empty space.

There are, indeed, squealing wheels in the distance approaching. No sirens - not police - but rather the likely protectors of this part of the neighborhood.

*

"What the *fuck* is a Hobbit?" Blade demands of Marc.

His gloved fingers snap a reply off to Neon, silent except for the woman to comprehend. <Talk later. Fight now. More vampires coming.>

He sniffs the air. "Fifteen, maybe twenty suckheads coming," he growls at Marc. "Freshly fed, too. Shock troops. We ain't getting out of here alive if they hit us all at once," he warns his ad hoc allies. His chin uplifts at a barred iron door, including Lena in that expression. "Door. Can you break it down?" he asks of the ice-wielding thief. It's a sturdy, redoubtable old thing, but like all metal the real weakness is rust— and the expansion of ice.

*

A blink comes at the word vampires out of Moon Knight's mouth. Neon wasn't deaf, just mute after all. Of course, Blade's quick signing lit only by her own neon glowing hands confirms the word. Vampire's are real? Why was she suprised after all the crazy she'd seen? Lena gets stared at for a moment, if only for the curiousity of the gun before she blinks again. She hadn't noticed the men had an ally sneaking in after all, perhaps Lena was simply stealthy. She'd never guess the other woman had simply stumbled on things as much as she had.

Still, a question was being asked about the door and Neon bites her lip before stepping forwards, lifting a digit to point at the hinges of the door. They were sort of past the subtle point, even if she still wasn't entirely sure what was going on, but it seems she was along for the ride!

*

Lena wrinkles her face, it was the first time she had heard hardware groan as if it was in actual pain. Brow knitting, she keeps at her work, turning the basement into an icebox all its own. Pale and white, fluttering with snow and ice, she lowers her gun just in time for Blade to sign and then ask about the door. She glances at the door then to the pair near by (Ne included). She motions at her with the gun, "Mute, you can just talk to her." She clarifies in a monotone voice. "No." She answers at length. "You got this. Later, losers."

Turning on her heel, the girl moves up the steps and making way back out the door she originally came in through. There was more danger coming, the sounds of cars reeving and barreling in their direction. She didn't want to be anywhere near whatever she had walked in on.

*

A limousine pulls up out front.

"Our ride's here - for anyone looking to get out of here in style, even if it's super obvious," Moon Knight says calmly. As Lena heads off in her own direction, the man in white shrugs. "Guess that means more room for us."

"Unless," he adds with a look at Blade, "you really want to get an evening's workout in. But I have the feeling that there'll be a scramble to relocate things if we sleep on it."

He begins to walk to the front door. At the end of the block, several cars peel around the corner toward the fishmonger's building.

*

"Time to go, then," Blade tells Moon Knight tersely. He waits for a patient eternity as ice swells and growls around the steel, pushing and twisting it. Five seconds, ten… fifteen… there's the pounding of boots and the hissing of inhuman voices…

Abruptly, the hinges snap and the door *cracks* loose, falling to the floor with a mighty clatter and evoking a fresh howling of deranged screeches.

"Go go go!" Blade barks, taking up a rearguard position. He digs in his vest for what looks like a grenade made of glass, and rips the safety ring out with his teeth and *phufts* it sideways.

"Don't look at the light unless you like bein' blind," he advises his allies, with a fierce and humorless grin.

*

Okay, so Lena wasn't with them…or she wasn't their best team player. Neon actually watches the technological ice-caster walk away with a blink before turning her gaze back to the pair left in the lurch. No words are spoken, but the slight parting of her lips and raise of her eyebrows was a pretty clear questioning expression. Questions that would have to wait, since more was coming and now people were throwing grenades (weird ones!).

A shake of her head, Ne seems to 'flash' out of existance, a streak of light through the doorway faster than one could really blink. By the time people make it out to the car? She's sitting on the roof with her hands on her knees, a thin layer of frost coating the metal around where the icecream colored mutant sits.

*

[Lena returns to OOC Land.]

*

The limo's rear doors open and Moon Knight pauses to extend a hand to Neon sitting atop it. "The inside's much more comfortable," he notes with a nod toward the seats within.

Blade's grenade detonates and Moon Knight slips into the car. He clears his throat and says to no one in particular, "Frenchie, prepare a route to the Garment District. With a hostile tail."

The tires begin to spin, while the oncoming cars approach the limo's position. "Blade!" Moon Knight shouts. "Jump! In!"

Then, the limo spins about 180 degrees, fishtailing as it takes off to the north.

*

Blade snorts at Marc and lands on the roof of the limo. "Just drive," he growls through the open skylight. One hand wraps around the lip of the opening for purchase, and with the other he digs his little SMG out under his cloak and aims it behind him. The limo screeches off, making his duster flare dramatically, and Blade fires bursts of controlled automatic fire with little *thudududud* burps from the weapon, deterring their pursuers until they're in the clear.

*

Most people knew that accepting rides in limos from strangers was generally not a good thing, especially heavily armed strangers. Maybe that's why Lena had 'noped' out? Either way, most people weren't also able to snap-freeze an entire room and everyone in it when pushed. Hopefully curiousity would keep its lethality purely to cats tonight. A shrug, she slides off the roof herself after Blade's more weighted landing and slips in through the open door a moment before the car takes off.

She even takes the time to buckle up before she looks around. The mutant had never actually been in a limo before…or a car. Huh.

*

The limo interior is posh - black leather and Egyptian motifs. Moon Knight stretches out on one of the side-facing seats as the car races through Chinatown.

The path the car takes is not direct, but it does have the effect of throwing off some of the pursuing vehicles, thanks to a combination of turns, greater presence of other cars, and what might be a coordinated manipulation of traffic signals.

"Drink?" Moon Knight asks Neon, gesturing to a mini-fridge near one of the back doors.

The limo veers hard to the left around a turn, and the souped-up car chasing it most closely is forced to swerve to avoid a delivery truck. It hits an unexpected curb and is launched into the air, landing hood-first into a newsstand.

"Blade," Moon Knight shouts with a rap of his knuckles on the interior roof. "If we can take out this site, we'll make things much easier for us! Basically - ruin the 'birthplace' before the festivities and they'll have to start back over again." He pauses. "Well, mostly, at least."

*

Blade's already gone. The stealthy black-clad dhampir had vanished into the night silently as he'd come, flitting across the rooftops on a mission of his own. Because there were still vampires alive, and while Blade could have handled a score of the vampires twenty-to-one, picking them off from the shadows is even easier.

He's a hunter. And his prey is still out and about.

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