Log:20100107 - Starbucks Ghouls Investigation

Setting:

<NIGHT> Starbucks - Sears Tower - Jackson Street

America's Favorite Coffeehouse, or so it claims. Stepping inside, one finds a series of pristine booths and tables for the customers, an octagonal island on the far wall hosting the coffee, snacks and various offerings of this popular chain. The employees are neatly garbed and bearing polite smiles. The clientèle tend toward yuppydom.

Cast:

RL Date

Friday, May 1, 2009

IC Date

Thursday January seventh, 2010. 010:30 pm

The sun is down. The waning gibbous moon is up. <76.7% full and fading>

The tide is high and ebbing.

The air is cold and slightly damp. There is about 19.5" of snow on the ground. The average temperature is around Twenty-three degrees Fahrenheit, Negative five Centigrade.

Scene

Eleanor Wickham is a different woman than she was a few minutes ago. This is because a few minutes ago she was covered head to toe in blood and gore, both from the dead ghouls she decapitated via ballistics, and from the woman who lost her legs. After the coffee shop was secured, a uniformed officer was sent down to her SUV to retrieve her CSI gear and her duffle bag. She disappeared with the latter into the ladies room, and emerged in her workout sweats under a white coverall with the Chicago PD symbol over the front breast pocket and CSI in large black letters across the back. Her bloody clothing was put in the garbage bag which she now hands to a forensic tech. "Have it brought back to the lab just in case there are any," she grimaces, "parts clinging to my items, which belong to the deceased." When he's gone, she ties her hair back, opens her crime scene kit, and pulls out latex gloves, pulling them on carefully and with a methodical flavor to the motions.

Detective Sergeant Brian Hadley is returning from escorting some people to safety and generally helping where a strong arm is needed. He looks around as he moves, round aboutly approaching Eleanor. He looks a little distracted, he's a vampire and there's blood, but he appears to be doing a decent job of holding himself together. He hasn't changed his clothes, but he's not too badly off in that regard. "I'm not sure I like the smell of coffee anymore," he says, in hearing distance of Eleanor but not necessarily to her.

Eleanor smiles a little at the sound of Hadley's voice. She looks a tiny bit green around the gills, and his vampiric sense of smell might catch the whiff of her vomit she deposited in the trash can behind the counter before backup arrived. "You'll get over it," she quips to him. "I may need your help with this. Your eyes are sharper than mine, so if you can follow along and lend your insight, I'd appreciate it." She then turns on the other lab techs present. "All right people. Corpses first. Then we'll walk the grid. Make sure you have your gloves on. Do not disturb anything until I've inspected it first." She pulls an inkless pocket print book from her kit. She opens the cover for the first case sheet inside and uncovers the coating pad. Then she begins gesturing at the ghoul corpses scattered around. "Tuxedo is number one. That is number two, that is three," indicating the trio that was dispatched in the shop. "The ones beside the security guard are four and five, wheelchair is six, to the north are seven and eight. I will take their prints, then you will bag them and tag them with the ID I give you for the case card. Transport them downstairs to the awaiting ambulances for transport back to the crime lab, the come back up and bag the civilian casualties for transport to the Medical Examiner." She pulls out her phone and hits a preset number for the crime lab. "This is Wickham. I have eight ghoul bodies which will be sent to you. I want dental reconstruction on the ghouls, as best as can be done, then full body X-rays for dental record matchup. I want notes on anything implanted such as pacemakers, pins from bad bone breaks, as well as any scars, tattoos, or other body modifications or marks that we can use to ID who they used to be." She listens a moment, then hangs up, indicating Hadley should follow her to the corpse of the one wearing a tuxedo. "If you see anything unusual, or any sort of identifying markings, point them out."

"Sure," says the vampire, looking at Eleanor and then to the other lab techs. Then Hadley's gaze swings away and he rolls his head over his shoulders like someone that's trying to loosen up. A lot. "I'll keep my eyes open," he assures the other officer and follows her toward Mr. Tuxedo. "This is kind of unusual, you know. Ghouls aren't usually this brazen, in my experience. Do you think we could have something else on our hands here?" He's not trying to distract her attention, honest, but it's something better said than kept to himself.

"Ghouls also don't usually wear clothes. And a pack of twenty is pretty extreme no matter how brazen or shy," Eleanor points out to Hadley. A tech follows the pair of detectives with the crime scene kit in his hands. It seems he drew the short straw to be Wickham's gopher for the evening. Eleanor grabs a set of safety glasses from the metal case and slides them on, along with a medical mask. The latter is less precautionary and more just to curb some of the stench. The blonde crouches down beside the first set of ghoul remains, careful not to kneel in anything gross if at all possible. One hand lifts one of the ghoul's own and turns it over to see if it, or he if the tux is an accurate indicator, has anything to print on its fingertips.

Hadley makes a sound in his throat that's affirmative and agreeable to what Eleanor says. "If we can figure out where they were buried, maybe we can find a lead if anyone's behind this," he says, again more to himself than to Wickham since she's busy with her… stuff.

Eleanor turns the ghoul's hand over and lays it back where she lifted it. Then she swaps out the fingerprinting book for a syringe. She locks a vial into it and inserts it in the body, drawing out fluid. For Hadley's benefit, or maybe as a form of instruction to the younger techs, she narrates her actions. "I'm taking prints along with blood samples so that if the teeth and jaws are too damaged for dental record matchups, we might be able to match up this information to prior deceased in the medical examiner's database. Bodies are printed and blood samples taken when they get autopsied," she explains. "If we can ID who the ghouls were before they died initially, we can find out where they were buried." She moves from ghoul to ghoul, doing the same with each, and changing out her gloves for fresh ones before each corpse. She only manages two thumb prints from the lot. As she finishes with each set of remains, the other techs load them into a body bag and carry them out on stretchers to the ambulances for transport. "All right, take care of the human remains, Sergeant Hadley and I are going to begin the grid." She looks to the vampire as she strips off her gloves for yet another fresh pair. The department needs to buy stock in latex. "I want to see if we can find anything here, or the area outside, or the maintenance room, which may have drawn them here particularly; anything out of the ordinary. Even if it seems silly, tell me." She begins to pace the shop first, inspecting five foot by five foot areas one at a time meticulously and with infinite patience.

Hadley keeps his eyes open, but apparently doesn't find anything of substantial interest along the way because he doesn't say anything. He makes very little sound in general actually. At least until Eleanor tells him what they're doing and what he's supposed to do about it, to which he only offers another, "Yeah, sure." There's a pause, a shrug, then, "Maybe they wanted a latte."

GAME> Eleanor rolls 21 against 10% <+17% +20%> : 26% success
GAME> Eleanor rolls 53 against 20% <+17% +20%> : 4% success
GAME> Eleanor rolls 58 against 50% <+17% +20%> : 29% success

GAME> Hadley rolls 40 against 50% <+10% +20% +25%> : 65% success
GAME> Hadley rolls 75 against 20% <+10% +20% +25%> : 0% success
GAME> Hadley rolls 1 against 10% <+10% +20% +25%> : 64% critical success

As the two move and walk the grid, Eleanor finds what is clearly a class ring from the local college as well as a tennis bracelet engraved , "To my Darling Karen, yours always, Timothy" That looks exceptionally expensive, which means there's likely a record of the owner..

Hadley for his part is taking things supernatural and doing credit to his race as he immediately points out a toe tag, one would wager to have belonged to the nude one at the window from its placement, though the real find is in the back where his preternatural senses guide him to kneel down and looking beneath several racks that have been moved where he sees a tuff of grass that holds a smell only a Vampire would truly recognize. Graveyard soil. Its even hallowed.

Eleanor announces, "I have personal effects." She bags the ring and the tennis bracelet individually, and labels them with care, handing each item off to her gopher tech. "Anything, Hadley?" she calls out to the other detective as she straightens and looks in his direction.

Hadley points out the toe tag so it can be bagged and labeled, identifying it with the nude corpse he'd helped down earlier. "Maybe," he says from the back where he kneels. "There's grass." He gestures to it, but he doesn't touch it, "Smells like death. Dirt?" He shakes his head and rises again, leaving the grass for someone else to actually get, if they even bother.

Gloves are exchanged for a new set as Eleanor rushes over. She pulls out another evidence bag and with great care she collects the dirt. "Smells like death? Like from a grave?" Her eyes widen at the possible implications of that. "That could have fallen off one of them, but I didn't see any other dirt, did you? Ghouls usually cling to the cemetery they were interred to, like some kind of territorial bond or some such. If this is from where they were buried, maybe it's what drew them here?" she theorizes. "I can sense the residual power in the soil." She bags the toe tag as well, before finishing the grid walk then accompanying the group assigned to inspect the Maintenance room and the small part of the sewer beneath for body recovery and any clues.

The Maintenance room.. The floor is covered with scars and grooves, the blood still not washed away as it leads down to the manhole cover within. Clawmarks from their race sharp fingers imbedding within the surface of the tile and cement.

"Like from a grave," Hadley agrees. As she continues, he only nods his head because he doesn't have anything else to add to Eleanor's comments about the ghouls and dirt. He hesitates before following into the maintenance room and he's still trying not to focus too much on the blood. The vampire moves forward once everyone's in place, insisting on going first since he's a lot harder to rip apart if everything's not completely gone.

"This was definitely the point of entry, and the point of escape," Eleanor murmurs. "We have four missing adults and three missing children at this time. Before I sealed it shut, I saw at least a dozen ghouls there though they scattered at the time. But I also saw a pile of body parts which I'm really afraid are likely our missing persons. I need this manhole re-opened, the area below secured, and then we need to load body bags with any remains still there. It is very possible that they returned and finished eating so we may not have much to do on that end. I will need a few minutes to look around at the tunnel below here for just a short ways from this spot while those bags are being loaded." She looks around to make sure everyone is sure of what their job is. "Hadley, I need your eyes again. We're looking for scratches, foot prints, blood smears, anything that indicates the direction the ghouls came from, and the one they left in. Ok?"

Hadley gives a thumbs up to Eleanor without actually saying anything. He waits for the cover to be opened, and probably helps, before drawing his gun and dropping down, moving out of the way while others come while he looks around. His power flares out with a frigid force, but there's something else to it, like the tingle in a limb that fell asleep.

Eleanor shivers slightly as Hadley's power flares, but she shakes it off and lets the people who are better trained with firearms down the hole first to secure it. She stays back to lead the techs down with their armload of body bags when they get the 'all clear'.

SWAT is by the books with this one as the cover is dragged back by three men, and a flash bang is dropped down the hole. Moving wordlessly they move as a single unit, three men at a time dropping down and moving to cover one another from all angles before saying, "Five Meters Clear.. ten meters clear.." Hadley’s senses are assaulted by the sewage death and grime from beneath, actually everyone's is but strong scents that suck really suck on sensitive sniffers… "Fifteen.. Clear and holding."

Hadley is paying more attention to the area around them, trying to focus his senses to find something that might be helpful. Blood is something he can probably sense, given that vampires are literal bloodhounds. He leaves the obvious stuff to Eleanor and the other techs, gun at the ready while he searches.

Eleanor pulls a medical mask over her face again, as do the other techs, before they begin their descent into the sewer. The techs are efficient as they collect the remains below, storing the bones (all that is left of the victims) into body bags. As they bag each, they send them up the ladder to the Maintenance room, where they get collected on gurneys to take out to the lab vans. Eleanor moves slowly outward in one direction from the area just beneath the manhole cover, motioning Hadley to take the other direction. She sweeps a maglite around in search of any signs of the ghouls’ passage.

Hadley moves in the indicated direction, using his light occasionally to figure out which way he can actually see better. It's kind of a toss up.

As the light passes about the area, there are claw marks all over the place, obviously this had been a bit of a rallying point.. there are signs of at least two dozen ghouls having been in the location. Possibly more which really goes to say something about them… It would seem almost as though the group was working as a pack, roaming the sewers en masse… Oddly enough there's a Teddy Bear..

Eleanor has one tech bag the teddy bear and another snap photographs of the claw marks on the tunnel walls. She switches to a UV light to start looking for blood on the dark walls and near the ground.

As Eleanor flips on the UV and all the other lights are flipped off and SWAT goes infrared, the blood splatter is clear.. This is where the victims were brought, or more to the point, tossed down the hole to the others.. its almost as though the ghouls were working with a strategy.. sending up only a couple to toss food down to the others…Hadley doesn't need the UV he smells the blood, some if its still fresh.. and he can actually hear the faint cries of a small child…

Hadley takes note of what he finds but when he hears what sounds like cries, he growls for everyone else to stop moving through anything that makes noise and be quiet so maybe he can pinpoint that sound and follow it, which he does if he can.

"This doesn't make sense," Eleanor murmurs. "They're working cooperatively. Splitting up to be efficient." She shuts up and her head snaps around when Hadley calls for silence, motioning the techs to stop moving.

Its there again.. He can hear it.. there's no mistaking it.. the definitive cries of a child coming from the south.. begging for help.. calling out that its scared.. A young boy perhaps? Its hard to tell when they are prepubescent.. About three hundred yards away.. and growing more distant…

Hadley takes off in the direction he hears the sound at a run, which is relative when compared to the speed a human could move. He's fast, to say the least. If there's a kid still alive down here, he needs to save it.

"SWAT with Hadley! All CSI techs topside! Jones, call it in! We may have located one of the missing children. Get a paramedic team in here stat!" Eleanor makes sure all the lab techs get out of the hole before unzipping her coveralls far enough to draw her Glock from the shoulder holster. She keeps the safety firmly on and follows Hadley and the members of the SWAT team cautiously.

As Hadley draws close, he's very fast and far away from the others he can easily make out a child's form surrounded by four ghouls. All within lunge distance of the cowering child who has his back turned chanting softly, "No more bad things, make the bad things go away.."

Hadley yells to draw the ghouls' attention or scare them away as he heads for the child and if any of them advance on the child, he aims his path for them instead, apparently not wanting to risk firing if they get too close. "We're the police. Run back the way I came," he says to the kid, not wanting to remove his attention from the ghouls that he's still trying to draw to himself or chase off so he can fire more safely.

Eleanor stumbles in the tunnel as a sudden wave of imagery assaults her mind and impairs her real world sight. The vision subsides swiftly, and her hand braces against a slimy wall as she reorients to the here and now. She finds her breath, and screams at the top of her lungs, "HADLEY! STOP! It's a TRAP!" She kicks into high gear, running flat out after the distant detective. The images remain burned in her mind as she prays it isn't set in stone.

The ghouls scatter like flies as the vampire shouts and waves his arms about. His rapid speed bringing him up close to the child.. Who turns and gives the vampire a good look at just what he has rescued…

This.. youth.. is quite the monstrosity… yet there is something.. unique to the pale blue eyes that denotes the innocence of childhood. Its entire form is compromised of a hodge podge of sickly pale, deadened, bruised flesh that holds a greying purple quality to it. Ebon black stitches criss cross up his spine, and about his abdomen, trailing to an end upon the top of his hips, while more stitching laces back and forth about his neck, keeping his head attached to his torso. The left hand is attached to his arm though a similar stitching, congealed blood marking the spot beneath the cord while yet more runs up the inside of his right forearm, pulling the flesh tight about the bone. The well groomed appearance of his nails and raven hair stand in stark contrast to his veritably corpse-like appearance. Four, thin metal hooks have been pierced/sewn from eyebrow to cheekbone over his eyes, allowing him to still see, less they are pulled tight, forcing his eyes shut. Similarly a set of holes traces along his lips, though there are no laces sewn between, the intent and purpose is evident. The right leg, from the calf down has likewise been sewn onto the leg connected to the predominant portion of his flesh, though his form has an overall lithe quality to it.
Hadley hesitates just enough that he's not too far away from the corpse-like creatures. Maybe he doesn't trust Eleanor's word or abilities right away, but he can tell that something's wrong and he has to stop and stare for a moment after that before he takes a step back.

Eleanor internally curses herself for not jogging more often, not working out more, not spending more time at the gun range, and generally not being in physical shape to just plain be faster and more assured of being able to protect the vampire. None of which actually does more to help the situation other than give her a release for her welling panic. She clicks the safety off her Glock as she runs full tilt after Brian and screams at the SWAT members, "It's a trap! It's a trap! Get Hadley out!"

The Child smiles at Hadley, spreading its lips in a disgusting fashion, as its hand comes up to offer a wave, "Oh you brought snacks! Yay!" Moving to run past Hadley the child charges towards the oncoming humans, moving more animalisticly than human, as it drops down to all fours.

Whatever good intentions he'd had for the child quickly go away and he raises his gun to aim as it moves past him, firing in the hopes to disable it before it can hurt anyone that had been behind him. Hadley doesn't give the ghouls behind him quite as much attention so long as they stay behind him.

"Headshots!" Eleanor calls out after the SWAT members. "No fire til Hadley is clear!" She skids to a halt and levels her weapon to snap off shots along with the rest.

A light laughter escapes the child as Hadley opens fire on it, running up the sides of the wall it dodges most of the gunfire, except a single shot that tears through its chest. Never the less it continues to run and move, skittering as it goes its literally climbing upon the ceiling by this point as it drops down right in front of Eleanor, knowing that the others won't fire and then darts through her legs to disappear into the darkness, singing playfully, "Ring around the rosie pocket full of posies."

Eleanor whips around and watches in shock as the Frankensteinian child-creature dives through her legs to escape. She doesn't pursue, just rushes to make sure Hadley is in one piece. "Are you all right? I saw the ghouls tearing you apart!"

"I'm fine," Hadley says to Eleanor, watching in the direction that the thing went. He looks a little disbelieving and stares after it rather than bringing his attention directly to Eleanor. "You?" he asks belatedly.

"A little freaked out, but unscathed," Eleanor admits. "A vision hit back in the tunnel. Saw them ripping you apart while that child —/thing/ sang nursery rhymes gleefully." She hasn't holstered the Glock, and her hands are shaking a bit. "Let’s get the hell out of here. We have a lot to report."

"Yeah," is what Hadley manages before he starts moving back to where they came into the sewer, senses on high alert. If Hadley were ever to look a little neurotic, this might be the time for it. His gun is still in his hand, too, and it won't be put away until absolutely necessary.

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