Terry Fox. A week after the incident in the Sears ruin, Terry was summarily fired; the boss picked one of many possible reasons and acted on it. By the time Terry was sobering up from throwing a wake for his job, he was approached by Ty Glenderry, a private investigator working for Tally Investigative Services. Glenderry offered Terry a job for twice what he was making before, to join a stable of investigators that contract with various law firms in town to provide surveillance and investigation. Terry was initially reluctant, and he checked the company out; they had some shady tactics, sure, but they worked for and protected their wealthy clients. It didn’t seem worse than working for the police. He signed on. The job turns out to be pretty cushy, and Glenderry is a great partner. Terry has been with the company for a month, mostly doing stakeouts and legwork to check people out. At the one month mark, Ty gave him a folding knife anniversary present and a job to do some light background checking on Helouise Havershaum. Her husband was a client, and she had headaches; could there be malfeasance? Look around. Talk to the lady.
Truc Trang. A week after the incident in the Sears ruin, Terry was let go from the slaughterhouse. No reason offered. One of the fighters in his circuit, Chucklehead Casey, offered to get him a job with Darcy Private Security as a bodyguard or home security agent. Mourning the loss of the job that represented turning away from petty crime, Truc reluctantly accepted. The process was pretty smooth. He was assigned to Alex and Helouise Havershaum and their daughter Emilia (20) a student at Marlbeth University. Alex is a lawyer at Everson, Clay, Solar, and Smith. Helouise is an artist, specializing in portraits and oil paintings. His case officer is Jethro Skeen, who handles the four man team assigned to the Havershaums. Sally Ang, Tom Costner, Arby Smith.
Jason Jones. A week after the incident in the Sears ruin, Jason was contacted by Dr. Campbell, Dean of Medicine at Marlbeth. Sam Tyriex was a wealthy meat magnate, and he was suffering from inoperable bone cancer. He had his last days to live out, and he requested a doctor who was familiar with the Packers; Campbell knew of no one better. Plus, the job change would assure the financial future of the Third Son Clinic, which was increasingly shaky as a government grant fell through due to failing to meet architectural specifications. Once he was onsite in the opulent Shroud Ridge mansion, he was given very nice quarters and access to the staff. He was also expected to be the “family doctor” to assist in any delicate matters other members of the Tyriex family might have. Cam Stevens is the butler who takes care of Tyriex Manor and the servants and family members and guests. Allen Ellis is the family lawyer. Important members of the family include his son Glen Tyriex (current head of the company) and his chilly wife Ursela. Sam’s daughter Callie Rye is a partner in a law firm Downtown. He also dotes on his grandchildren, both by Glen: Helouise Havershaum (an artist of some repute) and Guy Tyriex who is intent on wasting the family fortune. Sam’s granddaughter Helouise was having intense headaches, and on Dr. Jones’ urging she was to go downtown to get some scans done.
Emilia Havershaum. She was a student at Marlbeth University with a business major. She has off-campus housing in Madvane Estates, but often lives in Shroud Ridge at the Havershaum Estate with her parents. Her father is Alex, a lawyer at Everson, Clay, Solar, and Smith. Her mother Helouise is an artist, specializing in portraits and oil paintings. The only other family she has much contact with is her great grandfather on her mother’s side, Sam Tyriex, a wealthy meat magnate suffering from inoperable bone cancer. Her grandfather, Glen Tyriex, is head of the company now. Also her great-aunt, Callie Rye, is a law firm partner Downtown; relations are a bit chilly. Her uncle Guy Tyriex is intent on wasting the family fortune, but at least he is sometimes fun.
The Big Day
On Friday, April 15, Terry headed to the Havershaum Estate in Shroud Ridge. A butler let him in, and he came face to face with Truc, who was onsite security. That was startling, but after a little conversation, Emilia arrived. Helouise had asked her to come along for moral support, since Alex was traveling in Asia. Emilia fetched Helouise from her room, seeing her mother significantly weakened by pain. Truc pulled the reinforced black SUV around so they could load up.
Dr. Jason Jones arrived just in time to go with them; traffic, always a problem. Truc, Terry, and Jason were pleased, surprised, and wary to all see each other here for unrelated reasons. They headed out to the hospital.
On the way Terry asked Helouise some questions. She couldn’t think of any special disruptions in routine or things out of place, though as an artist and lawyer with wealth, of course they had enemies. She drew Terry in four lines, capturing a weary impression. She said she used a six line drawing to capture her husband. She didn’t have much useful information to offer, but her weird intensity left its own impression.
They crossed to Downtown Island, and then to Downtown, before they ran into massive delays. One construction delay sent them to a tunnel for about 4 blocks, and once they were trapped down there with all the exhaust fumes and honking, construction workers opened another small side tunnel to relieve the traffic pressure. After Truc pulled in to it, he noticed they closed it behind him. Alone in the tunnel, right next to a tunnel full of drivers, they were accosted by four men with masks, armor, and machine guns yelling at them to get out of the car.
The back tires were blown out by stop sticks as Truc tried to escape, and more were put down in front of the way out. The attackers opened up with submachine guns, riddling the reinforced SUV with bullets; the windows gave, but no one was hit. Truc and Terry returned fire, and Truc gave Jason a backup pistol stored in the SUV for awkward moments like this.
Truc and Terry knocked down one of the four attackers, and Jason killed one with a shot. While Truc and Terry concentrated fire on the third, Jason charged the fourth, heedless of his submachine gun. In a short and sharp conflict he knocked away the man’s submachine gun and took his baton out of his hand as concentrated fire finished off the fourth attacker after Truc took a bullet to the shoulder.
Jason’s sparring partner let out a strangled scream and turned to run, and Jason pounced on him, knocking him out. Something heavy crashed down on the roof of the SUV, and peeled it open!
Emilia saw something alien and horrific, and managed to pull her mother out of the SUV. As they scrambled towards relative safety, Truc and Terry and Jason opened fire on the creature, scoring some direct hits. It flopped back off the truck, clattering down on the asphalt.
While Terry shielded the Havershaum women, Truc checked out the creature, getting a closer (nauseating) look. Its face had a compound eye in the center, and each facet was like a human eye. Its chin was full of short acidic feeder tentacle stubs flanked by mandibles. The torso of the exoskeleton was hollow, packed with a squirming mass of feeder tendrils (some of which were still hooked onto the truck, draped like meaty crepe paper streamers.) It had acidic tubes and pockets in its body that were now breaking it down, but it appeared to digest its food by spraying acid on it then feasting on the liquefying material. Mantis claws could fold over its “forearms” or extend for uncomfortably powerful ripping and gripping strength.
Unwilling to be the only one to get a better look at the thing, Truc insisted Jason take a look before bandaging his wound. They heard police sirens, but knew it would be 10 minutes (at the fastest) and maybe much longer before the police found the site of the battle. With gridlock, the city was even more difficult to navigate.
Terry used medical tape to take fingerprints, hair, and skin samples from one of the guards (who was not dead, just badly hurt and unconscious.) He also took a cell phone picture of his face. Who sent these guys, anyway?
While patching Truc up, Jason heard a cracking slithering sound, and they both looked–the thing’s “calves” had cracked open, and inside each was a tightly compacted ball of roach-like translucent bugs, pale and blue tinged. They ran for it, a few of them getting up Jason’s pant legs. Out to the sunlight!
Emilia knew of a friend who was security conscious and scandal averse whose apartment was seven blocks away. They hailed a cab, paying extra for stuffing everyone in and for ignoring guns and blood and awful smells. They visited Sven Hendrickson, or tried to.
A woman, Christina, answered the buzzer. When they said they were in some trouble, she was eager to let them in and instruct the elevator guard to allow them access. She was enthusiastic about hearing details of the “kidnapping attempt” as they chose to spin the encounter. Meanwhile they could take in the glory of Hendrickson’s lacrosse trophies from all around the world, with appropriate knick knacks to reinforce the international flavor.
The team called the family lawyer, the security companies involved, and the hospital (to cancel the appointment.) A security team from Truc’s company arrived with a convoy, and they took the group further Downtown to the Civic building, where they went to the roof and got a chopper that airlifted her back to Shroud Ridge, where her security team was waiting with the armored car to take her entourage home.
A Story, Crooked
Truc needed a long shower, fresh bandages, and clean clothes. Meanwhile the others set up a sort of war room in the basement game room. Terry started a home-brew crime lab setup, and also instructed Emilia to write out what happened, and an abridged version, so they could get the story straight. He did the same.
Jason’s socks were full of blood and he was leaving gory footprints. He realized some of the bugs in his trousers had either released acid upon being smashed, or bit him, but the chemical deadened the nerves. He had a lengthy process of washing out the wounds and bandaging himself.
Meanwhile Helouise passed out, with blood trickling from her nose. Jason was spurred into action, and they called in a helicopter life flight for her. Truc and two other guards went with the helicopter, as well as Helouise and Jason. Terry and Emilia and one guard stayed at the estate, which was locked down.
After the helicopter left, Terry got in touch with Ty, who explained he was parked down the street watching. Terry invited him in, and they had a heart-to-heart. Ty explained that orders came from above that it had to be Terry on this assignment. On this particular day. It was clear and specific. What had he gotten into? Ty strongly advised him to get some distance, because he didn’t want his partner to get wrecked by some conspiracy. Meanwhile he was working with the other security company and select friends in the police force and the family lawyer to make that car accident pretty much disappear. They could use company resources to try and identify the shooters. Ty left, but could Terry feel very reassured by this turn of events? Ty congratulated him on finding signs of malfeasance, anyway…
A Plea for Help
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Helouise got scans. Jason was as puzzled as the doctors; she appeared to have mini-concussions, small bruises and tiny leaking in the brain, but from no discernible trauma.
Helouise chose Truc to be the guard in the room. He was quietly praying, a recent habit acquired after the Sears ruin,when she beckoned him over for a private conversation. She drew an outline that he recognized as the pothole from the Sears ruin. She told him that the thing that attacked them was a spectator in the ongoing intrusions into her dreams, and she told him of a creature with a hideous visage but a natty business suit that attacked her in those painful dreams. She sensed he might be able to help, either by staying here, or elsewhere. Exhausted, she fell into a fitful sleep.
Truc brought Jason and Terry into the conversation (texting the simple outline to Terry.) Maybe they needed to find the gold-eyed man they saved from the pet shop.
Just then, a bus drove by on an overpass by the hospital. On the side was an advertisement for a law firm, Singleton, Rye, and Oaks. The man on the side of the bus was the man with the gold eyes, though in the picture they weren’t that striking color. A sign? Maybe?