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The Sideshow - Episode 1 - Smiley [Closed]

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The Sideshow

Episode 1: SMILEY

The following is based on a real life urban legend
modified to a fictional phenomenon, any similarities
to people living or dead is unintentional and accidental.

The Canvey Island HQ...

Somewhere on the Thames
April 30th, 2015, 9:50pm
 
Lucretia was a bit... pissed off. Cell 1 decided to boot the group from their location in London. This wasn't that bad, the new location on Canvey island had a few assets with an underground base and a hidden hangar for their helicopter and a hidden shack for their vehicles and air assets. In fact it looked like a large farm plot with many secluded fences and other things. Many residents of Canvey Island think that the HQ is a secret MI-6 or something base, or the home of an eccentric billionaire, and Lucretia most of the time fit that bill. It had been empty there though until Cell 13 moved in, sans two recruits.
 
This was what was pissing Lucretia off. Cell 1, the team handling London and the North Sea region took two assets Lucretia knew would be of use. This frosted her, although her superiors at Interpol just weren't hearing her complaints. So she sat in her chair in the HQ's library inside one of the surface houses, grumbling as she read one of her old books. Waiting for her team to come in. She had to talk to them...
 

For everyone but The Countess
You may enter, as you have been summoned by Lucretia.

 
Meanwhile...
Near the mouth of the Thames...

 

A Harrier fighter jet made a vector towards Canvey Island, a silver colored pod under-slung under the fuselage, but the plane itself looked like it had gone through hell. The twin-seat plane just got done with a dogfight with a dragon. Although the angered shapeshifter was calmed down with careful negotiation by one of The Sideshow's new assets, a gun witch from the French Navy, riding behind Cell 13's house pilot. Inside the pod was an important item to return to The Sideshow.
 
Youko looked over her shoulder towards Camillie, sighing. "Well, whatever you did back there, thanks... I think I can hold together this girl until we get home... although I don't have a return beacon to London... wait... Canvey Island? What are we doing there now?"
 
She adjusted her seat restraints. "Sorry for the slow trip for a plane like this. The engine's beat up. But I think we'll be okay. At least at the new location I could dump our cargo into the water near the pier before making a landing. You know that little pill-bottle with the large red pill? If I tell you to take it, do so. It'll save you the spinal damage if we gotta eject. It grants a momentary regenerative push for your body. I'm sure with your military experience everything else once out should come to you like second nature."
 
Youko gritted her teeth a bit. She didn't want to lose her second plane, and this one was a beauty. Served in the Falklands, and even a stint in Iraq before being signed over to The Sideshow when it was retired from active service. It's red paint job with other color markings reminiscent of a fox made it a unusual sight to the fishermen below...
 
"And... thanks. I think you fished my butt out of the fire there. I wasn't wanting to be a Dragon snack. When he heard I was from the Inoue clan... a group of notorious Dragon slayers during World War II well.. he sorta lost it. Dragons have pretty looooong memories."
 

For The Countess
Feel free to converse! We'll be taking it home soon!

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The footsteps that entered bore the squeak of new boots - Sylvia's third pair, these ones being the thickest hiking boots she could find. They made her easily an inch taller, but they also muffled the sound of her heavy footfalls. She didn't really need them - stray bits of gravel didn't bother her at all - but she felt it was important to hold onto things from before.

 

She nodded at Lucretia as she entered. "You wanted to see me?" she asked, in that in the toned-down version of the 80's New York accent she was trying to hide.

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When Barney entered from the other side of the room, he looked over to Lucretia and nodded.  "So what is it now?"

 

Seeing the Gorgon Survival victim Sylvia again made him smile inwardly.  Now here was a woman who had every right to hate life, but didn't seem to.  She lived more than most he knew.   His own reasoning for that was simple, Perhaps the way she clung to life was why she lived.  If she'd given up she'd become immobile like everyone else who ran afoul of the gorgons. 

 

"Good to see you weren't lost in the shuffle like some of the team, Sylvia."

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May had entered shortly after Barney...dancing, listening to Weird Al's "Part in the CIA"

 

"Tappin the Phones like YEAAAH! Shreadin' the Files like YEAH! "

 

She looks at the group embarrassed, her three tails drooping down.

 

"Um...heeeey guys.  Pretend that you never saw that."

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Terry had quietly entered concealed by the spectacle the Kitsune had made of herself then spoke up from his place next to Barney, "Sure, if you promise never to do that again?"

 

Turning back to the others he added, "Now the REMFs have dropped their starting SNAFU, what have we got?"

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Camille looked up from the backseat of the harrier, wondering where on earth they'd gotten a trainer from. Listening to the pilot's orders she clicked her mike twice to confirm that she'd understood. Before of course speaking about the dragon

 

"Wasn't an issue, I'm a witch. Just had to use some good old ethereal charm. And you are very welcome."

 

She took a look at the pill for a moment before checking over herself again, making sure everything was secure in case she did indeed have to eject.

 

"Now, do tell me Miss Youko, who are we meeting?"

 

 

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===On the Harrier===

 

Youko smiled. "Your boss, and our team." She said, looking over her controls as the shoreline of England was starting to head under them. The Beat-up Harrier flew low over the Thames, about 100 feet, near it's stall speed. "Canvey Island is close. Shouldn't be long before we head for a landing. Might be a little rough the engine output is down so I'm not going to give this thing the opportunity for a problem."

 

As she started turning along the course of the Thames, there was alarms starting to happen, first one, then more. "Oh hell, don't tell me he damaged the coolant lines! Engine's overheating... Hopefully we can get to the field in front of the base and someone will have some fire-retardant foam to spray over this..."

 

The sound of the engine whining and what looked like a bright light behind them said otherwise. "Dammit... Starting to flame out now... come on I just put a new engine in this thing!"

 

She gulped. "Two times now... Okay, Countess, take that pill, squeeze it between your tongue and the roof of your mouth and swallow the juice, spitting out the casing. It could make you ill if you swallow it. Although it tastes like hell."

 

Youko pops her pill in her mouth, swallows it's juices and spits out the casing, resting her hands on her ejection handle, jettisoning the cargo pod into the thames close to the docks in front of the compound. "Don't worry about the cargo, that pod is designed to allow a person to be dropped off. It floats."

 

"Get ready for a ride, let me know when you've popped the pill and I'll pull the handles, you'll pop out a second after I do, although pulling your handles when I pull mine won't change matters... Just hoping we land on the field, not looking forward to going into the drink if I can help it."

 

===Back at HQ===

 

Lucretia smiled at the group. "Ah, everyone's here." She said, smiling at May's entrance. "Weird Al. Love the guy."

 

"Anyways, I got our first mission. I'm just waiting for Countess Garoux and Youko to arrive. They're bringing back an important artifact that belongs to the family that owns this estate. The sword of the defender of Wales' Dragon rookeries. Sir Maddox of Cardiff has a strong family line, marrying into the Baines line at some point in recent history. Lady Naomi Baines is the current owner of this land... she's not been bothered to build a estate here, so she works with The Sideshow in setting up safehouses throughout the UK. Although we now are based here."

 

"But, that is beside the point. Mission... right!"

 

She pulls a book on the bookshelf near her, rotating around to a computer screen showing a map of North America, with some red blobs around the Great Lakes region. Centered in Wisconsin and Minnesota. "We are heading to the Twin Cities to potentially stop a serial killer."

 

She pulls up a dossier of several drowning deaths that have happened near rivers in the area over the past 20 years, with what looked like graffiti marks in the form of smiley faces that appeared around the times of the drowning incident. "Authorities in the area have not been stating that a prolific serial killer or a potential murder cult has been operating in the area, but there has been a recent spike in these incidents in Minneapolis. People are starting to ask questions and the local media is starting to ask questions. The police are clueless as to what's going on, but The Sideshow's Cell #2 has several leads that they have followed but now things have escalated where they require our assistance."

 

"Your objective on this job is to find whoever is responsible and deal with this by your discretion. This isn't falling under the Omega protocol just yet, so bringing the culprits to justice alive is a option, but if you off these individuals, it is advisable to have evidence of their malfeasance.Cell #2 has greased the wheels so you can operate in the Minneapolis jurisdiction, and the Justice Department of the US is co-operating with Interpol in allowing us free reign on the case."

 

She adjusted her coat as she stood up. "We should head out to the field to meet up with Youko and The Countess... they should be landing or already here."

 

The sound of a loud splash draws her attention. "eh?"

 

Lucretia gets up and starts to run to look outside. She sees the metallic cargo pod in the water with bright orange floats deployed on the sides... "Oh Sir Gothwrain... why the bloody hell did you do that... Youko won't be pleased..."

 

The sight of the damaged Harrier's flaming back side annoyed her. "Well... at least Youko and The Countess will be making an entrance..." She muttered.

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Camillie cringed at the planes nose, the sound of a dying beast irked her no matter if it was living or metal. Grimacing at the taste of a pill she found herself used to, she shifted her suit again, an unmarked tactical suit befitting an operative, with holsters keeping her two most prized possession secure. The ornate pistols being the one thing she simply couldn't replace.

 

"I'm ready, let's meet the earth once again, I'm just so dying to meet this team"

 

 

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It was rather quick, first the sudden push like a car crash on the spine... not the most comfortable, followed by a loud sound of a sheet opening. She realized the bitter pill she swallowed it's juices down actually prevented any injury... although the experience was unnerving. The Countess could see Youko was drifting towards the docks, but it looked like she was gonna get wet, but the pod was near where she was going to land. She herself could see Lucretia standing outside at one of the buildings, and more than likely the others were going to follow suit. Seems the wind is more favorable for The Countess than her pilot companion. Looking over to your side you see the modified harrier crash into the Thames, suprisingly there wasn't an explosion, but the splash was rather high as the airframe starts to sink to the riverbed.

 

Lucretia facepalms. "I'm totally going to have to talk with Big G about his temper issues." She said, starting to run out into the field, seeing The Countess and Youko under chute. "This day is getting interesting already!"

 

"You really know how to make an entrance, Countess!" Lucretia shouts, keeping an eye on the situation.

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The Countess bowed and shifted the uniform again, turning the tactical gear into some more casual civilian clothes, concealing her guns underneath a long American style duster, concealing a lightweight vest underneath. Making her look more akin to an American police detective. Realizing that she was overdressed at the site of her comrades. Bowing to Lucretia she extended her hand once she stood up

 

"Forgive me ma'am. You know my name, but I don't know yours"

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As Lucretia runs for the doors Terry shakes his head slightly as he quietly comments "Great, another SNAFU before we've even set off."

Rather than running after Lucretia he opts to 'port to the surface entrance and immediately spots the two chutes coming down. Ignoring the one destined to come down on land he sends a mental message to the other 'chutist "I'm going to keep you out of the drink, just relax."

'Porting closer to the docks he pauses until they are only 100m up before doing a turnabout 'port up to the 'chutist, grabbing a hold of their rig and return to the spot he just left.

"Right mate, lets get over to the boss lady." Is his only comment before 'porting the two of them to Lucretia's side as the other 'chutist morphs her clothes asks for Lucretia's name.

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Lucretia smiled at Terry. "Nah, if there was a SNAFU, there would be explosions. Lots of them."

 

Once the Harrier was in the water, the Self-destruct in the aircraft's cockpit went off, sending up a jet of water for a moment... "Well... more than that. Thought that was removed from that plane..." Lucretia said with a shrug, looking over to Youko as she manhandles the cargo pod to shore using her parachute to help with towing it. "Seems the package is alright though." She said, walking to the small beach.

 

We'll have to cart this inside before the authorities arrive.

 

"Sylvia, We'll have time to review once we're in route to the States. It'll be a long flight." She said, scratching her head.

 

She looked over to Youko. "Hey, Ginger, you're vacation's gonna be delayed, we got a case. And I'm gonna need a pilot... and your skills."

 

Youko just shrugged, sitting on the cargo pod as she adjusted her flight kit, letting air out of her life preserver. "Whatevs. I figured our luck would change soon on getting cases."

 

Her crimson-furred fox tail twitched in annoyance. She was a obvious Kitsune, but preferred to take on a human seeming. "Oi, and when are we takin' off?"

 

"In 5 hours. I wager everyone will want a meal and get their kit sorted. We got our Antonov An-225 ready to go at Heathrow. The advantage about being The Sideshow's world-wide team is we get better kit. Sadly we'll be landing at the Army Airlift's runway and keeping Ivanova there. I already did the paperwork and the clearances, gang, all that's left is for us to get there." Lucretia said. Stretching out.

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It wasn't long until everything was taken care of with the cargo, and the payment sent to Cell 13's bank accounts. Within hours the group had packed up and loaded up their supplies, gear, and ground vehicles into the massive Antonov An-255. It's paint job was done up like a cargo service called "Carusel Shipping International" in bold red letters on a dark blue airframe. It was going to be a long flight from London to Minneapolis, So most took time to rest, until they were a few hours out, just over the Atlantic, not yet crossed the eastern shores of the continental US. Everyone met in the briefing room of the mobile command center for Cell 13 in what could be considered the "first class" section of the converted massive cargo aircraft.

 

Lucretia sat at the head of the table, Youko next to her, as Lucretia started handing out folders to everyone at the table. "I'll make this quick, as Youko is going to be flying us in once we start getting to approach. Time to start laying it on you why this job landed in our lap."

 

"Cell #2 has been investigating the Smiley Face killings for a while, and they've doggedly hunted whoever or whatever is responsible. It's been kept out of the media's eye, because the sheer number of deaths and the overall unusual nature of the deaths could cause undue panic, or worse start vigilante mobs in the cities most affected by this phenomenon."

 

"What is drawing us in, and could threaten blowing the lid off of this crisis, is the fact a influential businesswoman's son was killed no more than a few days ago. She's intending on running for Mayor in a few years, and her fame combined with her recent loss is baiting the media into this. If we can find out what is going on, and shut it down we will have done a service. That and the case will be credited to local law enforcement, not to the woman's efforts in building a potential lynch-mob."

 

"What is really important though, was something spotted on a rock near the latest death..."

 

Brotherhood_Circle_1_by_ScholarlyBelgara

"We believe that this sigil or glyph has something to do with Alchemy, as a mage in Cell #2 before her eyes were melted out of her skull sensed a massive magical presence."

 

Lucretia leaned back in her dark forest green jumpsuit... she looked more like she wanted to be piloting the plane than sitting here playing boss... or what's more, doing what she used to do back in World War Two...

 

"Any questions?"

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Great, just after the self proclaimed mage goes walkies we get a magic based job, thought Terry to himself.

 

"When you say spotted on a rock ma'am, was it carved into, painted on, chalked on or what? If it was a fairly permanent type of marking method have the previous sites been checked for sigils or glyphs?"

 

 

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Camillie looked over the table at the glyph, her eyes lighting up as she saw it. Not saying a word, she sat back. There wasn't much she could offer in info at the moment, and she figured why not let the experts deal with the glyph. Her usefulness would only come in when they needed a driver, or someone to deal with something unusual.

 

 

 

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"I suppose the first question is, what condition was the body found in?"

 

"Like the others, drowned. Although it seems this time someone messed up."

 

She pulled out the coroner's report and an analysis of the water found in the victim's lungs compared to the water in the mississippi at the scene where the body was found. "It seems this person wasn't drowned at the Mississippi... the body was dumped there."

 

We got some of our finest analysing the water found but some of the victim's body fluids are lousing up any analysis to see if the water comes from one of the other lakes or from somewhere else closeby. We do know there was a concentration of iron in the water that came out of the victim.

 

 

Great, just after the self proclaimed mage goes walkies we get a magic based job, thought Terry to himself.

 

"When you spotted on a rock ma'am, was it carved into, painted on, chalked on or what? If it was a fairly permanent type of marking method have the previous sites been checked for sigils or glyphs?"

 

"From what was seen of the sigil before it disappeared, it was engraved into the rock, not like the term suggests, but in the rock's signature in reality. Sort of like pushing your will into the rock's form as it sits in time and space, you know?"

 

She sat back. "This is the first time we've spotted these sigils, we do know they fade in 24 hours time, like this one did."

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"Iron. Hmmm." Sylvia held the report up, looking at it with her blank, featureless eyes. "If it's a giant lake, they could just dump the bodies there. Why move them out here? Might have something to do with those magic whatevers that pop up..."

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