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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Plot Explosion!

    Christie’s head felt no better a few hours later. The world seemed to shift slightly whenever she turned her head, and she had needed to retch more than once. She had been unconscious far longer than she had originally realized, and Agent Thomas was anxious to move deeper into the city. The agent paced the tops of the palates, her rifle tucked under her arm, her trigger finger tapping against the stock.

            For Christie, the frustration of the situation was far worse than the headache, however, and she found her thoughts focused entirely on Steven. With every minute that passed, the chances of finding him alive and uninfected got exponentially lower, if they were going to find him at all. She leaned her throbbing head against the corrugated steel and let out a long breath before she muttered, “I don’t understand why we are just sitting here.”
            Agent Thomas looked down at her sharply, “We are waiting for Agent Jones. Once she gets back from reconnaissance and the sun gets a little lower, we’ll press on.”
            “If you wanted to leave in the evening, why did we set out at sunrise?”
            Thomas glowered, “That was always the plan, Agent Steele. If you hadn’t forced yourself into it, it would have run much more smoothly.” she let out a long breath and pinched the bridge of her nose, “We can’t move forward blind, and I assume that Agent Jones knows what she’s doing. Once she gets back, we can move.”
            Christie glanced over at Chevalier, who had been lying against a stack of palates for the past few hours, his eyes closed. He appeared to either not notice or not care about the trickle of blood that ran from his tear ducts and was drying on his cheeks. He flinched slightly and he turned his face towards her.
            “I can feel you staring.”
            Agent Steele flushed and looked away, “Sorry.”
            “Can I help you with something?”
            She cleared her throat, “My superiors told me when I went to pick you up that you had Cutaneous Porphyria.”
            His eyes opened slowly, and slid over to stare at her face, “Excusez-moi?”
            “You know, a skin disease.”
            “I do not know.” He managed a weak smile, “It is most likely a story they made up to explain things that are above your clearance.”
            “But…you and Agent Jones both had that...specific reaction to sunlight. That is not normal.”
            Chevalier’s smile broadened, but it was in no way warm, “Again, Agent Steele, this is not something you need to know. However, you can know that it is indeed ‘not normal,’ and that it does hurt as much as it appears to.” His eyes closed again and he let out a long breath.
            “Will you be able to move when we have to?”
            He snickered, “I would be more concerned about your ability to move. You’re the one who is struggling.”
            Christie’s hand went to the bandage on her forehead self-consciously. Thomas had wrapped up her cut skin tightly, enigmatically muttering, “For safety.” The look on her face had betrayed the fact that she wasn’t referring to infection: her eyes had been trained on Chevalier the whole time.
            The French agent went on, “Why the concern to get going? Concern over your doctor friend?”
            Christie looked at him sharply, which sent an arch of pain shooting through her skull like electricity. She composed herself and grunted, “You listen to other people’s conversations a lot, don’t you?”
            “It is hard not to, and you aren’t subtle. You stink of worry for your doctor friend. I hope you understand that the chances of finding him still alive are astronomically bad.” He made a sound somewhere between a chuckle and a groan.
            “I’m glad you think that this is funny.” Christie snarled.
            “When you have seen as much as I have, every thing has the potential for humor.” He murmured.
            Thomas suddenly stiffened in her perch and brought her M4 up to her cheek, her steely eyes narrowing down the sights. She had glimpsed the slightest of movements from the corner of her eye, but every hair on the back of her neck had stood straight up simultaneously. In her years working in the stranger end of the FBI, she had come to trust her gut more than her senses, and her instincts once again proved themselves: a human-shaped shadow was making its way silently towards their position. She glanced down the sight intently, and her finger suddenly relaxed when she noticed the tangle of dreadlocks attached to her quarry. It was Tisiphone.
            In only a few seconds, the Southern vampire reached their position, and it was immediately obvious that her trip had been an eventful one. She sat down and wiped her brow reflexively, her eyes wide and unfocused. Thomas hurried down and cleared her throat loudly, “What did you see?”
            Christie turned abruptly. ‘Agent Jones’ had returned so silently that she had been completely unaware that she was sitting only a few feet away, and that revelation made her skin crawl.
            Tisiphone looked better than Chevalier did, but she was still ghastly pale and had the residue of blood on her cheeks. However, her expression and that clump of what looked like human hair stuck in the curve of her nails made her far more ghoul-like.
            “It is bad.” Tisiphone said quietly, “The town is completely compromised.”
            Thomas scowled darkly and Christie caught her breath in her throat. Chevalier’s eyes opened slowly, and an intensity that was more like a cat’s than a human’s leaked out of them.
Agent Thomas knelt down and cradled her gun across her lap, “Did you see anything that we could use to determine the cause?”
“No.” Tisiphone shook her head, “We’ll need to go deeper. Most of the town is on fire, however, and the rest is-“ she was interrupted as the ground suddenly pitched and heaved beneath them. The palates around them pitched violently and began to collapse onto the ground, and Christie had to scramble to avoid being pinned beneath them.
“What the fuck just happened?” She shrieked, but the hissing roar that slammed into her eardrums and the concussion that felled her like a blow to the face drowned her voice out. Chevalier bared his teeth and staggered to his feet, and Thomas frantically scrabbled at her radio, trying to stop the sudden shriek of static that exploded out of it.
As suddenly as it had happened, the pitching tremors and the noise stopped, and through the high-pitched ringing of her own ears, Christie heard Tisiphone shout, “That was an explosion!”
Thomas finally managed to shut off the radio and she roared, “On your feet!” she cocked her M4 and brought it up to her cheek, “Come on!”
Chevalier and Tisiphone fell in step with her, and Christie struggled to get to her feet. It was obvious that the others were not going to wait for her, so despite the fact that she felt violently sick, she hurried after them and out of the warehouse. The sun was blacked out by the huge cloud of smoke that was billowing up from ridge above the warehouse district, but both Chevalier and Tisiphone still flinched and remained under the relative shelter of the large awning above the door.
Thomas lowered her gun in disbelief, her eyes huge as she whispered, “That’s…that’s the camp…”
They stood in stunned silence for a moment before Chevalier hissed, “It would appear that someone was expecting us, n’es pas?”

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