Something of the Terrible

Cast: date: '30 October 2012'
place: 'The City'
participants: 'Alister, Christian, Gwyneth, Jack'
synopsis: 'Trouble brews when masks at the masquerade hide more than the usual. '
log: "“There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust.”\n\nPassing through the black door flanked by two Romanesque statues is like passing into another world and another time all at once. The regal reds and golds of Drapers Hall may not be thematic for Halloween, but candelabras and jack-o-lanterns dim those hues into deeper, darker shades, and throw shadows upon the walls and ceilings to dance along the rows of coats-of-arms that serve as decor.\n\nGuests choosing to dine first can find enough food for \"five banquets a day\" all in the Court Dining Room. Buffet tables laden with everything from filet mignon and foie gras to miniature trifles for dessert take up the center of the room, leaving the periphery for small tables where diners can take their plates full of food. Those looking for a bit of fresh air can take their drinks and cigars outside to the courtyard garden.\n\nThe main event, of course, is the ball itself, in the Livery Room, where the attendees in Venetian-style masks both grotesque and beautiful, move to the music provided by a chamber orchestra tucked in one corner. Oil-painted faces seem to watch the goings-on from their places in the royal portraits that adorn the walls behind elegant columns along the sides of the room.\n\nGwyneth arrives on Christian's arm. Or rather a Pirate and his Wench arrive. The costumes are traditional for the most part, but with their own flair. Chris is dressed in leather breeches with a full peasant style shirt, unlaced at the front to reveal part of his upper chest. He has knee-high leather boots and a vest adorned with 'treasures' like odd coins, fancy earrings, or other gems. His mask is built in to the pirate hat, and his shoulder-length blond hair has been braided here and there with leather thongs tying beads in. Gwyn is wearing layers of mismatched, colourful skirts, a little tattered, and a pair of torn stockings under them. She has old-fashioned ankle-boots with big buckles. Some of her skirts are held up at the sides by a leather belt. She's wearing a big peasant blouse as well, with a snug corset over it. Her blouse is laced at the top, lest it be too revealing. Her mask is also attached to her pirate hat, though both her mask and her hat are a little more feminine.\n\nMrs Edgebastion had been a customer at Jack's garage for some fourty years and even though the man had only been her mechanic for ten of those, she still considered him responsible for the weight of past quick-honest fixes. So it was that she appeared with a ticket, thrusting it into his hand with an uncompromising expectation that he would attend. The idea sits with him just as uncomfortably as the well tailored suit he's rented; it's clearly not something he'd usually wear. Black, with a black shirt and a black tie. The masque has had a lot of thought put into it. Except not really, knowing as much about Venetian Masquerade balls as most working class men from Hackney, so it's what they had at the store. A long nosed, black and white harlequin mask although the visible tattoos around his neck are something of a giveaway to his identity regardless. Moving into the main area, he gravitates toward the drink, which will surely be necessary for making it through this encounter.\n\n\"You owe me,\" Christian grumbles under his breath. Costumes? They are so incredibly not his thing. Underneath that mask, he's wearing a grumpy face that extends beneath it into the set of his jaw and the purse of his lips. Despite his obvious discontent with the situation, the man sure has that pirate swagger down to a perfected science. \"…paying two hundred pounds to dress up like arses,\" more grumbling, mumble, bitch, complain. No one on this earth save Gwyn could have forced this on him. Not even Mommy Dearest.\n\nThere's a certain desire to see just how old he should be. The mention of something to support veterans, well, that was a bit too convenient to pass up. So Alister arrives wearing a rather simple Venetian costume. Black dress pants and a white shirt with a black cloak over it all, parted slightly down the middle and going all the way to his shiny old 1950s-style black Italian leather shoes that he always wears. His mask is subtle, a simple white domino mask that covers his eyes and matches his gloves. Though the cigar hanging from his mouth may throw the look off a bit.\n\nRight now he's just taking a look at the fancy food, walking near the buffet tables. Half this stuff he's never even heard of before.\n\nThe music from the main room is fitting for a ball and for the looming holiday — the melody is just fast-enough enough to inspire spins around the dancefloor, but just slow enough to invite couples to clasp hands and draw closer together. The eerie minor key suits the stringed instruments perfectly, and yet it's light and sprightly enough without seeming overly ominous. The dance floor begins to grow more crowded, and those without a partner to dance with watch from the sidelines — it's hard to gauge expressions beneath masks, of course, but body language suggests very few are bored — it's hard to be when there's such a festival of sights and sounds to feast on.\n\nThe more astute and observant might notice here and there dotted among the riot of colors and festive masks that in the field of special snowflakes, what stands out are the more drab and ordinary. Over in that corner, a woman in a black gown and a matte pewter mask dances with a man bedecked in sparkling feathers and an eagle mask; over here, a man in a black robe and a similar pewter mask offers a drink to a woman in peacock blue and green with a mask to match.\n\nAnother woman, clad head to toe in black and bedecked in one of the pewter masks, curtsies near Jack and offers a hand. \"Care to dance?\" purrs out a soft voice, low but close enough to him that he can hear over the swell of the music.\n\n\"I'll make it up to you later,\" Gwyn promises the grumpy pirate with a wink. \"Besides, you look incredibly sexy.\" She pays her dues as his old lady. She keeps her mouth shut when she'd rather be telling someone off, and she never questions him or argues with him in front of other people. So she cashes it in every now and then. Tonight, for a masquerade ball.\n\nLiquor will solve everything, and Jack meanders over to that point to accept a drink, which is quickly knocked back and then refilled again. His eyes dart around, trying to spot and avoid his patron perhaps, but then there's a woman coming over and asking him to dance. That's unexpected. This will most certainly prove that Jack is not, in fact, a member of high society and completely unable to dance in any manner. So he shakes his head politely as he can, looking even more uncomfortable now. \"No, cheers darlin'. Just the drink for me now. Give me 5 or 6 of these and maybe I'll reconsider.\"\n\n\"Get me a drink, wench,\" Christian mutters, but at least there's a hint of a smile there to soften the words and a slap to her backside that might be deemed inappropriate for such a fancy shindig. He's joking, mostly… but also the payback starts here. From behind that mask, intense blue eyes scan the crowd. Maybe he's a little paranoid, but he also has more reason than some to be. He's always looking for trouble where trouble shouldn't be. \"You don't expect me to dance to this, do you?\" He and Jack, maybe on the same wavelength there?\n\nAlister may not be in a dancing mood lately, but the only way to fit into a situation is to try and do what everyone else is doing, or at least intends to do. So he starts to head on to the dance floor. At least… he gets a few steps in, then backs up a bit. He sniffs the air a few times, then just leans against the wall and watches the crowd of dancers rather intently.\n\nGwyneth laughs and releases Christian so she can get them some drinks. Champagne and orange juice. It's a thing! She orders it and pauses to pick out a few snacks. Just the ones she can tell what they are. \"One dance?\" she asks as she returns, passing a champagne flute and a small plate to her date. She's used to his continual search for danger and she doesn't really even notice it anymore.\n\n\"I'll be back, then,\" returns that sultry voice to Jack before the woman saunters off — there's something in that voice that insists Jack watches her as she leaves, and though she's clad and covered from head to toe, there's something beguiling in the way she moves that demands he continue to watch her.\n\nThat is, until she disappears into the sea of dancers, and it's hard to see where she shows up again for a few moments. Eventually she can be seen speaking to another man — this one who does deign to take a turn around the dance floor.\n\nThe woman who was talking to the eagleish looking man takes his hand and leads him away, off the floor and out a door, half covered by a curtain, that leads to a hallway and the smaller rooms of the estate; a moment later, the peacock-esque woman goes off hand in hand with the pewter-masked man, passing by Gwyneth and Christian on their way out the door.\n\nJack does indeed watch her leave, covered can be just as alluring as uncovered, that is. He gazes for a while, until she's lost and at that point, he's coincidentally done with yet another drink and so refills the glass once more, snapping out of some quiet reverie that he'd been in while staring at that arse. \"Cheers mate.\" he mumbles to the server, shoulders moving in order to loosen up from the tension he's feeling.\n\n\"They call this a glass?\" Christian asks. No he certainly does NOT extend a pinky when he takes the flute. Big Bad Biker in a Pirate costume holding a flute full of… orange juice? There's a joke there somewhere, or maybe some blackmail photos? He takes the plate as well and raises it to sniff at the contents. Kind of rude that, but he doesn't seem to care or notice. When the Pewter-Peacock couple pass by, both of his eyebrows shoot up beneath his mask. He steps in front of Gwyneth. He glances around the crowded room with a little more scrutiny and attention than before. \"Others…\" It's barely whispered. Plate and flute get settled down onto the nearest surface so he can have hands free. \"Stay close to me.\"\n\nGwyneth tenses at Christian's whisper. Her eyes close for just a moment and she nods. She puts her own flute down as well and turns to stand just behind him and off to the side. Close enough that he can keep her in his peripheral vision, but far enough away that she's not going to be in his way if he needs to become… active. She starts scanning the room carefully, not that she has any way of telling who they might be. Maybe just their actions will give them away.\n\nAlister suddenly holds his stomach. He certainly knows that feeling. All his organs beginning to fail and his blood flow slowing. Memories are flashing, but he focuses his eyes on his physical senses, trying to push those back. The scents, the strange scents that don't fit in with normal people. The movements, the subtle movements that may or may not fit into typical human behavior. But there's a human scent, one he recognizes.\n\nHe begins to head onto the dance floor, walking right up to Christian. He's only wearing a simple domino mask, so the biker could likely easily recognize his voice, strained by lungs that barely want to work. \"I know you. What the hell is going on here?\" he asks, possibly finding a correlation between that man and weird shit. Or possibly just that man and organ failure. \"I smell those things all around us.\"\n\nAt the other side of the room, another pewter-masked dancer leads a fairy away and out another door, followed by another pair. It's hardly abnormal, as people come and go from the buffet room to the dance hall and out to the outdoors at whim. But for those who can see that the ones in the solid and plain matte pewter masks are not human, it's not normal, and what will happen to those people the pewter-masked people escort out is even farther from normal.\n\nJack's admirer returns and proffers a black-gloved hand. \"I told you I'd be back. We don't have to dance. Let's just walk and talk, hmm? This music is starting to bore me, and you look like you could be entertaining.\"\n\nJack is entirely oblivious to what's going on here. This is easily noted by the way he — with the courage bourne of 5 whiskeys — takes the offered hand in order to walk with the woman he seems to demand his attention with no compromise. Perhaps he's a sucker for masks, or just super easy once he's got a few inside. \"Just now starting, huh?\" he asks, cracking a smile beneath that overly elongated nose.\n\n\"Bloody hell.\" It's hissed under his breath and not really aimed at Alister. \"Gwyn, I need you to go intercept that bloke.\" He nods toward Jack and his companion. \"Get close enough to tell him that she's an Other.\" His voice is pitched so very low. \"Then get out of the way, don't bloody well linger there. He's Touched.\" He's not even trying to see the pretty side of things now, he's left that go to see the truth of things as they are; the way he sees when he's not trying not to. \"You…\" He jabs a finger at Alister, \"Go that way. Pewter masks aren't people and we need to save the people they're leading off. I'll go after the other couple.\" A man that fully expects his orders to just be followed, he starts off after the couple he assigned to himself.\n\nIf Gwyn is nervous, it doesn't show. She'll break down later. But for now she's got instructions to follow and she does so. She weaves her way through the crowd, heading for Jack and his new friend. She does the first thing that comes to mind, that'll hopefully get her close enough to whisper without the Other hearing him. She slaps Jack and asks, \"Who's she then? I can tell it's you under that mask.\" She pushes up on her toes and grabs his mask nose to pull him towards her while she hisses angrily into his ear. She whispers quickly and hopefully loudly enough for him to hear, \"She's Other, come with me.\"\n\n\"I don't know about this…\" Alister says, placing a hand on his stomach. There's a hunger, a powerful hunger. But he's gotta try to hold it in, gotta try to find a way to do this without getting close. The other day taught him that getting close is bad.\n\nHe's looking at the ceiling, then at the walls, trying to see if there's some sort of fire alarm or sprinkler system. Probably no automatic sprinklers, considering the cigars, but maybe a fire alarm that can trigger something. A distraction, mainly.\n\n\n\"You can come, too. The more the merrier,\" purrs out the woman; very human-looking eyes sparkle from behind the pewter, gray-blue eyes that look very ordinary. It seems silly to distrust her, sillier yet to think she's dangerous. \"Come along. There are plenty of empty rooms…\" She moves out of the ballroom through one of the doors, clearly expecting the two to follow.\n\nChristian finds himself in a back hallway with lesser rooms that likely serve as offices and parlors; just down at the far end he can see those he follows turning into a room.\n\nThe ceilings, domed and 20 feet high off the air, do not seem to sport any smoke detectors, and it would take quite a bit of smoke to reach them; certainly there are no sprinklers, as it would ruin the aesthetic. The walls, covered as they are with portrait and coats of arms, do not seem a likely source, either, but Alister's enhanced senses allow him to catch a tiny glimpse of \"fire-alarm-red paint\" behind a bit of curtain — there, hidden from view due to its lack of glamour and defeating the purpose of its existence, is a fire alarm — the sort you lift to set off.\n\nThe only thing Jack's paying attention to right now is the girl on his arm, so he doesn't even notice Gwyneth moving in. Her angry outburst is somewhat interrupted by a loud shout of, \"What the fuck?\" Perhaps a little louder than intended, partly because of surprise and partly due to the fact that he seems to have forgotten where he is. Birds don't have a habit of coming up and slapping him, generally.\n\nHe reflexively moves back from her lean in, but indulges her after a brief second, narrowing his eyes before looking back at the woman he's accompanying. What little can be seen of his face is clearly warring to how he should react here. \"Sorry uh, darlin'.\" This to Gwyn, trying to act and affect a tone of pennance although he sounds confused, as though not sure what he really wants to do. \"I didn't grab her arse or anything, we were just talkin'.\" With his former companion moving off, he moves closer to the other Touched and doesn't follow immediately, \"I'll make it up to you.\" he suggests. \"But we should go, see what she wants. Right?\" It's an ernest question. It /does/ seem like a good idea. He's not following yet though.\n\nAlister keeps his movements casual. FBI training leads one to generally know how to not look suspicious, because one knows what to look for. So he heads over to the curtain as if it were nothing, feeling a bit of relief in his organs as he gets a bit further from the Others, but not much. So his next move is to raise the curtain, his movements suggesting curiosity. Is there a piece of art back here?! That's what he wants them to think he's thinking.\n\nThere is absolutely nothing subtle about Christian. So it stands to reason that there's nothing subtle in the way he handles this situation. He shimmers and fades from existence at point A only to reappear at point B after a little shortcut hop through the Gloom itself. Of course point B ends him up inside the room the couple he was following turns into. Not subtle. It's been mentioned. The attempt to cold cock the Other Bitch in the face? Not subtle either. \"Go call the Bobbies,\" he snaps out at the poor man following along with her, mid strike. \"She slipped somethin' in your drink, I saw it. Figure she's planning on rolling you for your wallet.\" The rest will be told whether or not he makes contact with Other Bitch Face. \"Go. Now!\"\n\nGwyneth looks after the woman and for a few moments she also considers following. But her stint in the gloom was all too recent and that snaps her back to reality. \"Absolutely not,\" she says. Okay, it gives her away as someone who can resist an Other, and it makes her a target, perhaps. But Gwyn can't just let Jack follow her. And she can't manage to come up with a questionable reason to follow the woman. She's still holding the mask nose and is going to try and lead the man off. Quickly. In whatever direction she last saw Christian heading. Shit, she can't see him anymore and that makes her a little panicked. Just a little, though.\n\nThe woman Jack and Gwyneth speak to just beckons to Jack, ignoring Gwyneth, and turns to head down the corridor, clearly expecting him to follow. Another couple, led by one of the pewter-masked men, passes by, heading for the same doorway — only to find it now occupied by Christian.\n\nBehind Christian in the room are three other people. They sit, slouch or lie on the sofa and chairs the little parlor boasts, and it's hard to tell if they're dead, asleep, drugged, or just very very still, since their masks keep their faces covered. But they are human.\n\nWhen Christian slaps a ho, the Other's would-be playmate comes to his senses and backs out of the room, only to back up into the Other whose just come down the hall. Christian's prey hisses as she's stricken, and a clawed hand comes out in retaliation, making for that open-collar.\n\nThe man behind in the hallway and Jack's admirer both spring into action as well, claws growing out of gloved hands, tentacles splitting the sides of their suit and gown; the man Christian told to run manages to slide away on the marble flooring; the Others only have eyes for Christian.\n\n\"Help! Help! Monsters!\" is the banal but frightening name that the man screams as he comes doing his Risky Business slide down the hallway toward Jack and Gwyneth, perhaps shaking them into action.\n\nAnd at that same moment, the fire alarm begins to screech. As the oblivious ball attendees begin to look for any sign of fire (and the smart ones look for an exit), the Others who are still flitting around in the hall have the sense of mind to just… vanish. They seep into the shadows where no one is watching, abandoning the sinking ship and their brethren in the little room down the hall.\n\nLed by the nose, literally, Jack keeps trying to look back over his shoulder and get a look at the alluring Other but it's not very successful. He's somewhat stuck with following unless he wants to make a bigger ass of himself. But then there's suddenly things going on, and the realization that there are Others here. Then there's the fire alarm which cuts through all confusion and spurs him into action.\n\nNow he shakes off the hold, \"Cheers.\" is offered more earnestly this time as he breaks into a sprint toward the shouting and screaming coming from ahead, aiming to get into the thick of things as quickly as he's able.\n\nMonsters? Whelp, that works too! As long as the guy's out of the line of fire. Christian catches a little bit of claw before he manages to spin and duck out of the way. If he wasn't as agile and quick as he is, he might be missing a jugular about now. But the little biker is -quick-. He's not strong, but he's fast. He weaves and tucks and rolls and ducks and advances and skitters back, striking at the bastards surrounding him to keep them occupied and away from the poor humans while trying to keep himself out of their reach. Of course just the nature of who and what he is pretty much dictates that he goes no where unarmed. Firearms were abandoned this evening, but he manages to pull a blade from his boot during one particularly low 'duck'. It's not an overly large blade, but it's enough to slice and sting if he manages to connect with anything with it. He doesn't shout, he doesn't scream, he just falls into a rhythm of strike and retreat, a dance designed to keep his half-brethern occupied; traitorous bastard that he is. Chances are he's going to wind up with a few more hurts of his own, but maybe he can keep them busy enough for Gwyn and Co. to check for life and get the humans to safety if they are alive?\n\nAlister still feels that hunger, he smells those others in that room, the ones who didn't leave. Self-control is becoming more difficult, and discretion is becoming less of a necessity with people starting to scatter. Among the many other excuses he possibly tells himself for lapsing.\n\nHe starts to approach that room, not making a sound, barely taking a breath, and somehow not making a smell. And once he's in that little room, he sprouts his own shadowy tentacle-like tendrils from his back, six of them, three on each side. Thoughts, madness, things he usually can't remember cloud his mind enough to make this alright. He manages to speak, straining air into and out of his lungs. \"I can't hold back anymore, I need one of them…\"\n\nThen two of those tendrils stretch and spring out, turning into prehensile arms with black suited sleeves and light colored hands. He tries to grab for the occupied one that's going after Christian, attempting to grab her by the shoulders. THen his shirt rips open, massive teeth springing out like a gate, then a second set of teeth under that, and finally the large black beak that begins rapidly snapping in the pit of his stomach, waiting for its meal.\n\nGwyneth bursts into the room behind Jack, after he breaks free. \"Shite,\" she whispers to herself and she immediately goes for the still bodies. It's the doctor in her. She can't leave someone injured behind. But she cant' bring them back to life either, so she starts checking for pulses first.\n\nChristian's dance-like maneuvers do some damage, but Others are generally of hardier stuff than humans; slashes that would put a man on his knees only seem to get a hiss of anger and a splatter of black viscous fluid on the beautiful floors. The mask is knocked off of one, revealing nothing beneath but those very human eyes and a barricuda-like mouth full of too-many teeth in a gel-like blob of a face.\n\nThe woman Christian had chased to the room is about as fresh and feisty of a meal as Alister is wont to get — Claws and tentacles tear and pull at him, looking for places to hold on to even as he devours her.\n\nThe woman Jack had been chasing leaves the man to Christian to fight, turning on the Watch agent.\n\nThe pulses of the three would-be victims are there, if a bit slow — they are alive, but cool to the touch, as if put in some sort of torpor.\n\nJack tries hard not to think about how much of a PR nightmare this is going to be. Best leave that to the Senior agents. This is likely a reason why he hasn't become one himself. There are more pressing matters at hand, like drawing out knives that he'd sneaked in. They're small, but Jack's been at this for a long time and knows how to put them to use.\n\nThere's something of a smile beneath the mask, grim to a point but also eager. It's always been too long since he got to stick it to an Other. Ten minutes from when this is over, it will have been too long. Jack is much like Slaine, never sated. There's a quickening of pace as he ramps up speed, plummeting toward the woman and then suddenly not; just a cloud of black nothingness that crashes into her with all the force of a thrown feather and immediately does he reappear behind her, trying to slam into her back and bury the knives repeatedly in flesh.\n\nChristian is starting to get little tired. It's showing too. He's slowing down. He's taking more hits than he was before. He's battered and bruised and bloody, but he keeps at it. When the odds are evened out a little and he has only one to contend with, his momentum picks up again; his energy renewed in a rush of 'last stand' adrenaline. Here's to hoping his hyper reflexes give him enough of an edge to eventually accomplish his end goal of driving that knife's blade deep into the eye socket of the Other Bastard he's battling. He feints a retreat, scurrying back from his attacker and in a blink, his aim honed by his body's ability to achieve near perfection in movement, he hurls the knife in his hand at that blob of a head, or more specifically, one of the eyeballs set into it.\n\nGwyneth starts slapping cheeks to see if she can somehow revive the prone bodies. But until she gets them out of this room, there's not much else she can do. She draws a blade of her own, just in case an Other gets too close. She's watching over her shoulder, and intends to protect them if need be. For whatever fight she might be able to offer, anyhow.\n\nAlister covers his face with his arms, taking slashes to the arms until the other four tendrils reach out to try and stabilize the Other's body. The beak opens incredibly wide, wider than one would think possible, attempting to begin swallowing her whole. He doesn't speak anymore, he seems to become decreasingly emotive and oblivious to most things other than this meal.\n\nJack and Christian's diverse attacks both serve their purpose: Jack's sudden deke taking his Other by surprise; the onslaught of knives to the back find their mark through a spine and into a heart that sends that black blood back out the slash and also through that mouthful of teeth; Christian, with just one opponent now that backup has come, finds that while he's weary, his knife strikes true, through the human eyes and into whatever evil brain lurks behind.\n\nAt last, Alister's Other has lost the ability to fight back, and one after another those tentacles fall limp to be pulled into that horrifying mouth, leaving them with only the two bodies to clean up — unless Alister fancies secondsies.\n\nAt Gwyneth's touch, eyelids flutter and the three victims begin to show signs of wakefulness — luckily they seem too groggy as they begin to sit up and rise to notice the gore around them.\n\nIn the distance, fire sirens can be heard.\n\nWell, Otherblood on the suit it's going to make returning it to the rental place somewhat difficult. Jack's show presses in against the arse of the woman to push her off the knives and then flicks them out to relieve them of a little of the fluid. A quiet sigh is hefted as he looks at the others in the room, his mask hides the distaste at Alister's meal, thankfully. The masks also serve to prevent identification of these Touched strangers. Curiously, he's not staying still, backing up and then pacing about as he takes in the situation and considers options. There's not many of them, especially with fire and undoubtedly police to follow. This is way above his paygrade.\n\n\"Quite the party.\" he deadpans. Given that the other Others seemed to disappear on the way in here and there's still a bunch of mundane folk running around like headless chickens he decides to go with option B. Leave before the cops show up. Maybe, the hungry one will eat the other corpses. Or more tactful Watch folk can show up to handle cleanup. Jack's a grunt, and he does grunt. It's a thanks, along with a grateful not to Gwyneth. \"So long.\" Then with another puff of shadow he's gone.\n\nWhen the threat seems appropriately neutralized, Christian staggers a bit. He's had it worse, but taking on the three of them alone to begin with meant more blows got through than would have with one, or even two. Bleeding, battered, bruised and still -sick-, it makes for a rough combination. But he keeps his feet. \"Gwyneth, if they're stable we need to -go-.\" Before those sirens turn into the place crawling with cops. He flips off a little salute in Jack's direction and just pretends Alister didn't just eat one of them with a stomach beak. \"C'mon, Baby, our window of getting out clean is starting to close.\"\n\n\"Someone's spiked your drinks,\" Gwyn gently tells the victims as they wake. Her knife is tucked away again in the leather sheath on her belt. \"Some sort of hallucinogen. I'm a doctor. Can you stand? You should get some water into you to flush what's left out of your system.\" She's got a soothing, doctor voice. She looks towards Christian to see what sort of shape he's in, then to the other two men in the room. But she leaves stands and focuses on her pirate. He's her main concern. And getting him out of here so she can patch him up sounds like a grand idea to her. \"They're okay, I think,\" she says. Okay enough that she doesn't mind leaving them behind.\n\nAlister's stomach finally closes, then he stands up straight, completely still… then out of the blue his limbs begin to stretch, hair, face, and clothes all appearing to invert until he's completely featureless, even his tentacles vanishing. Then he just appears to grow a black suit with a white shirt and red tie out of his skin. If it is his skin is difficult to tell, but now he's standing at a good 8 feet tall, and his skin is probably the last thing anyone would be worried about.\n\nThat's when he vanishes, then appears next to one of the corpses, casually reaching down to pick it up by the neck like a ragdoll. Then vanishes again, appearing next to the remaining one, the previous body completely missing. And when he vanishes this time, he appears to simply stand in the middle of the room, faceless and without movement, both bodies gone to who knows where. He moves not one muscle or makes a single sign, and if he can see them, or even knows they're there, it's more or less impossible to know. What he's waiting for, or what he's doing, is a mystery to all.\n\nNo need to call a clean-up crew, it seems, with Alister there for secondsies and thirdsies. Vacating is easy enough — everyone has evacuated the building, and the firemen are just coming in through the front doors, leaving the service doors open for a clean getaway — well, clean if it weren't for the black vitriol that splatters the three men's clothing.\n\nGwyn's hand in his, Christian makes for the nearest exit. \"We don't get out enough, she says. Oh it'll be fun, Chris… she says. …and you'll be so sexy, Chris… she says.\" Mutter, grumble, bitch, moan. Someone isn't going to live this disaster of an evening down any time soon.\n\nGwyneth can't help but laugh just a little. Maybe this sort of thing happens around Chris too often. Or maybe she's a little in shock. \"You did look sexy,\" she tells him. \"But now you reek. I think we should get you into the shower first so I can see what bits of you need mending.\" That last bit is serious. She worries about him as much as he worries about her.\n\nAlister, well, who or whatever he is now, seems to have done all he meant to do. He reaches out for the door knob, ripping it clean off, then vanishes to who knows where. That knob may be gone forever.\n\nThe downstairs is a sad sight of a good party abandoned before its time — food uneaten, champagne flutes half full and still bubbly, sheet music on the floor where the musicians fled. Those who paid out a hundred quid for an all too brief diversion will no doubt be annoyed when it turns out there was no fire at all, nor any peril that the investigators will find, they will never know the gratitude they owe the few who saw the truth behind the pewter masks.\n\n"

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