Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue

daniel_icon.jpg finnegan_icon.jpg harper_icon.jpg shikoba_icon.jpg

Where: A seemingly abandoned warehouse in Northridge
When: September 28, 2020
What: A strange cry for help draws together a group of Fey.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill

of things unknown but longed for still

and his tune is heard on the distant hill

for the caged bird sings of freedom.” - by Maya Angelou

On a Saturday night, an industrial park is a ghost town. This particular collection of warehouses is run down, with many of the buildings abandoned, in what the city calls a "blighted" neighborhood. The exterior lights are burnt out or broken, with only one casting its orange light on the far end of the complex. Most of the dumpsters and many of the buildings themselves have been tagged with graffiti, declaring the area as the territory of one of the town's gangs.

Despite the fact that it's hardly inviting or welcoming, one of the warehouses in particular is the one that pulls a group of strangers toward it, each having had some vision, dream, or general "bad feeling" in the past few days compelling them to come to this place on this night.

Goosebumps dance over Shikoba's skin as she looks down the street. Her mouth is pressed into a thin line as she adjusts her running jacket. She /knew/ she would be here, despite her better efforts to avoid the place. Not one to believe in destiny, she had made every attempt to enjoy a quiet evening at home. She had a stack of movies from the Redbox on her coffee table, a shiny new bag of popcorn to pop on the stove, a bag of m&ms and a pint of ice cream in the freezer.

Then she got the call for help.

So, despite her better judgement, she was out, at night, in the bad part of town. She had already fixed the broken tooth and was on her way home, when of course- car died. It was then that she realized that her phone was also dead. Cursing technology, she was now walking to some place she hoped would have a phone.

She took a moment to curse the Fates as well. After the bombing in Reseda, the last thing she wanted was to listen to any "call", despite the fact she /knew/ she had to be here. She could hear it. Something… a whisper… feint…ominous… calling. Just on the edge of her supernatural hearing. Every instinct in her body pulling her forward and every fiber of human self begging her not to go.

Well, Shikoba is a beast. And beasts must obey instinct.

Despite being supernatural herself, Harper isn't the type to indulge odd feelings or vague urgings. But the dreams over the past week were not vague, and while they were odd, they managed to convince her to follow that tug toward the industrial park.

Under a flicking yellow light, she leans against a wall, settling herself in by lighting a cigarette. Her annoyance is clear in narrowed eyes and tight frown. Probably because if this turns out to be nothing, there aren't enough warm bodies around to feed on.

It's Saturday night and where is Daniel but at the office, just wrapping up a few more things on a case before he makes his way home to Silver Lake. Somewhere along the way, though, he missed his freeway exit. Anybody who drives in LA knows, missing an exit on the 101 is bad.

As he's about to turn the car around more than a few exits down the road, however, Daniel keeps driving as if in a trance. By the time the wheels roll to a stop and his fingers uncurl from their vice of a grip off the steering wheel, the GPS shows the man has driven several miles out of his way to Northridge. A half-mumbled mutter of not needing to work so hard later, Daniel parks the car into an empty spot and steps out. Suited lawyer in a bad neighborhood? Totally fits in.

A shadowy figure (most figures are, at night, in a poorly lit area, after all) steps closer to the wall where Harper leans. Gold-lit eyes shine as his dart moves from the vampire to the other werewolves, all somehow converging on the same spot at the same time. "And here I thought I was the only one trouble seemed to have a hard on for. We should make a fucking club or something," Finn says wryly toward the others.

"Any of you send this bat signal?" With that, he slants a gaze toward Harper. After all, she's the closest thing to a bat in their midst.

Tilting her head to the voice, Shikoba's eyes glint gold in the low light. "Oh…this is just fucking fabulous." She sniffs almost, rubbing her nose as her mouth presses into an even thinner line. "I can't seem to avoid you, can I? I even stopped going to bar for the summer." She tilts her head upward to the sky for a moment. A soft growl in the back of her throat as she trots over to Finnegan.

Running a hand over her hair, smoothing back the ponytail. "I knew this was coming. I just knew it." She looks around, her eyes shifting to the others gathering. "Hm." Her brows pull together. "This does not bode well."

Harper lifts her hands when that gaze cuts in her direction. "Don't look at me, I just like lounging near abandoned warehouses. Everyone deserves a spa day." She holds her pack of cigarettes out toward Finn in silent offer.

Her own gaze slides over to Shikoba at her entrance, lifting one eyebrow as she looks her over. And when she looks back to Finn, there's a crooked smile. "You make friends everywhere, don'tcha." But she does take a step closer to the bartender, apparently not finding him to be bad company.

Daniel turns towards the familiar voices, eyes narrowing slightly as he puts together faces and names. "I'm not one to make light normally in this sort of situation," remarks the man as he approaches, "But three werewolves and a vampire walk into a poorly lit industrial sector on a weekend night, and I'm waiting for a punchline." He then looks passed the group and stares pointedly towards the one warehouse that seems to draw attention to it in a mystical - yet physically tangible - sense.

"Such a flatterer," says Finnegan in his southern drawl to Shikoba, giving a nod as the other two come closer, and something that almost resembles a smile to Daniel's quip. He's not dressed for success like the other man, but in jeans and a grey henley that have seen better days. Last time this particular foursome "got together," he almost lost his outfit, so it's probably a good choice.

Not that he intends on getting naked, but with a werewolf, it's always a possibility.

He turns to look up at the address of the joint, as if it's not obvious that it's the right place by the motley crew that's shown up for no reason in the middle of the night.

"Well," he says. "I guess we didn't come here to chat. Shall we?" He nods toward the warehouse, drawing a gun from his waistband. Whether anyone follows or not, he moves toward the door, reaching with his free hand to jiggle the handle.

Of course it's locked. This is where in the movies you kick or shoot it in, but the first doesn't seem plausible with industrial strength doors, dilapidated as the building might be, and the latter would attract attention. "Anyone got a knack for locks?" he says over his shoulder.

With a roll of her shoulders, Shikoba shakes her head. "Sorry, that's not in my bag of tricks." Her eyes look upward, scanning the surface of the building for windows, or a way to the roof. She shrugs again.

Licking her lips, she looks over to Daniel and Harper. "I do have a drill in my car a ways back…It's not exactly meant for this sort of thing though." She sniffs and looks down, wrinkling her nose, "And there is no power, so forget I mentioned it." With that, she leans against the building, crossing her arms over her chest. Her eyes darting down the street one way, then the other, then upward, as if prepared for the sky itself to fall.

Snuffing her cigarette out on the wall next to her, Harper straightens and walks over to the door. She leans over to peer at the lock, straightens again and shrugs dismissively.

And then she kicks the door. Not the lock, but next to it, where the door splinters. With a second kick, it swings on the hinges, open, but still locked. Part of it anyway.

Turning back to the others, she gestures toward the door. "How's that?"

"If you're implying that I regularly have the means to breaking and entering," Daniel starts to answer Finnegan with a brow arching towards Shikoba as well, but doesn't get to finish as Harper takes the initiative. He looks at her incredulously at the first kick, then away from them at the second kick. A quick glance upwards looks for security cameras.

Finn just snorts at Daniel's affronted response, and when Harper boots in the door he raises a brow. "Well, sure, I could have done that. I was aiming for subtle," he says to the vampire's back, before waggling his gun to the entrance. No, he doesn't have a permit for that, Danny.

"Let's get inside before someone sees us loitering outside," he says, not putting the gun away.

Inside, the building is dark; the few windows high up on the walls are painted black, keeping any light from penetrating the inside. Most of the building appears to be empty, but there is a dim light coming from what's probably meant to be the foreman or manager's office. Those with preternatural hearing can pick up, now and then, the slightest noise, a rustle or a metallic scrape — too intermittent to put a finger on — from that direction.

Following after those who entered first, Shikoba wears a deep frown. Her feet move softly, silently as she makes her way into the building. Her eyes dart around the interior, the blackness stiffling. After a moment, her attention turns to the dim light. She tilts her nose toward it, «You hear that?». Her eyes already adjusted to the low light, they dialate further to the darkness of the inside of the building.

Taking a moment to focus, she concentrates on the sound, lowering herself to the ground a bit, her bare knees just touching the floor as she crouches. Her eyes flick to the others with her, catching gold for a moment. She brinbgs a finger to her lips, touching them briefly as she turns her attention back to the light and her ears to the sound.

Being the one not clued into werewolf goings on, Harper watches Shikoba crouch with a (not at all subtle) confused expression. She looks over at the other two, as if they might be able to explain, or worse, like this is their fault. "What is it, girl? Did Timmy fall down a well?" At least she can do sarcasm in a whisper.

Whatever the wolves do, the vampire steps forward, boots falling softly against the floor as she heads for that door. To try the handle.

The gun in Finnegan's hand gets its illegal owner a stare. Daniel's shoulders tense, his mouth sets to a grim line, and he loosens his tie a bit before striding through the warehouse's broken door.

Daniel stops when Shikoba sends out her telepathic query, but his answer comes audibly. "No, I don't hear anything. But there's that light coming from the office," he says in a lowered volume. Harper gets shot a narrow-eyed look that is perhaps lost in the dark. Like the vampire, though, he steps further in to the warehouse too. The man follows her footsteps at first, but then fans left.

«Hear what?» is answer enough to the question that Shikoba asks. Finn gives a shake of his head at Harper's plowing ahead, but moves that way as well, gun at the ready, but lowered at his side.

When Harper tries the door, it turns easily; apparently only the exterior was locked. The source of the sound that Shikoba had heard is to be found here: along the length of the wall in the office are twenty or so cages, each holding ten or so small creatures, sickly and pale in the fluorescent light: little pixyish creatures, though nothing so pretty as those in Disney films or children's books. Tiny and androgynously humanoid in body, there is something insect-esque in the angular joints of their limbs and their large, faintly luminescent eyes; their wings are grayish and leathery like those of bats.

Most of the tiny creatures are huddled up against one another for warmth or comfort, most of them asleep — or worse — but once in a while one moves, making that rough scrape of flesh against metal. Iron, from the looks of it, and from the looks of them.

The rest of the office is sparsely furnished — a single desk, a metal chair, and a ledger full of addresses and dollar amounts.

If looks could kill, Harper would be spitting blood from the one Shikoba shoots her. Her black eyes narrow into a cold glare, her body tense and her muscles flexing. Yet, she remains silent, her mouth a line on her apical face. «Obviously, she never watched Lassie. Timmy didn't once fall down the well in the entirely of the show.»

She unfurls from her crouch in a smooth movement and silently pads after the others. She moves cautiously, her eyes darting to the darkness before Harper opens the door to the office. On the opening of the door, she looks inside. Her mouth puckers slightly on seeing the small creatures in the cages. She listens intently to the area for the traces of sound before approaching. "Huh…" she says softly, looking around and on guard.

Luckily for Harper, looks don't kill. And she seems to miss the dirty looks, or else doesn't mind being on the receiving end of them.

Or maybe she just can't focus on them once she's near the sickly little creatures. Her hands come up to press against her temples for a moment, even before she really registers what it is in those cages. But with a shake of her head, she strides over to the first cage to take hold of the door.

"Watch your soft spots. Just in case." It's all the warning she gives before she tries to get the door open. It's not hard to tell she's planning to get them all open.

Daniel's grim faced expression gets even darker once they step into the illuminated office. "What the hell…" swears the man under his breath, giving voice to the growing discomfort and sense of injustice building from his shoulders and throat. As Harper goes to free one of them, however, he reaches out a hand to halt her. "Hold on," he says with a more normal volume, "you don't know if these cages have got an alarm to them or not, or what these… creatures… what their reaction will be when you open those doors." Not an if spoken, but a when. Nonetheless, he too gets closer to peer at the cages and the contents within.

"They the ones who called us to help?" says Finn, moving to peer in at the creatures within the cages, then the cage themselves. "This is iron." His voice is flat.

He moves toward the desk to look at the ledger, flipping through a few pages. "Someone's selling these things."

At the cage Harper prepares to open, a few of the tiny beings manage to get up and back away from the door. One begins to chatter animatedly, the timbre too high and the language too foreign to understand. His (or her, really it's rather hard to tell) voice gets more of the others up and on their feet in the cages, and they begin to chatter too; the room suddenly sounds like a pet shop full of budgerigars.

Shikoba moves toward the ledger that Finn is flipping through. Her brows pull together as she looks at the pages standing beside him now, "Why?" She looks to the cages as the sound begins to grow. She frowns, looking around the room as the creatures begin to stir and the sound of the chatter grows. She attempts to open the desk and look for additional information inside. "Any idea what they are? Fey obviously, but I mean…specifically?" She tilts her nose to the door, "I'll look here, keep an eye on the door. You know, since you're armed and all."

"You know, amazingly, I don't actually care," Harper says to Daniel, although she turns to glare at him. She glances to his hand, and then back up to his face with a deep scowl. "Move your hand or lose it."

She gestures about to Finn as he explains the problem further, but she goes full steam ahead, popping open cages regardless of the creatures' reactions or whatever precautions the proprietor might have set up for just such an occasion.

As the noises from the faerie creatures grows

As the noises from the faerie creatures grows, so does Daniel's concern. Under threat of losing his limb, he removes his hand from her shoulder. "Like a puppy mill," he responds to Shikoba, "but one that doesn't - at this time - carry any legal ramifications. None that I know off the top of my head anyway." Leaving Harper to dispense freedom, Daniel moves over to where the pair of werewolves are looking down the sales ledger. "Does it have names recorded in there at all?"

"Looks like just addresses," says Finnegan, though he does move to the door at Shikoba's suggestion. "Someone help Elvira with the cages," he suggests.

The cages are easy to open, at least, with no locks but simple spring levers openable from the outside, the angle too difficult and the spring too strong for the miniscule fingers to manage.

The chatter grows louder with the prospect of freedom, though a few of the tiny fey look too weak to move on their own. Some of the stronger among them help the weaker, but there are some forms that aren't moving, one or two in each cage. No one tries to wake these… they are a lost cause.

"I'm sure we can find some law to apply if we look," Shikoba says in a growl of disgust. She continues to look though the desk for some clue as to who is doing this before turning her attention back to the ledger. She sniffs, her jaw tense as her teeth clamp down. She flips from page to page in the ledger before going back to the desk, opening drawers (or forcing them open if need be).

"We should be quick and get out of here before whoever is doing this comes back." She frowns, looking at the small fey creatures, "We have to bring this to the attention of the authorities somehow…you know, without incriminating ourselves or bringing too much trouble our way."

"Who gives a fuck about the law!" Harper is not good at quiet infiltration. She shouts at the pair of them discussing the law as if it had anything to do with right and wrong. "Jesus christ," comes out as more a mutter to herself as she throws the door open, "Someone stuck them in fucking iron cages and you are talking about the law. The law which, by the way, isn't if sure any of us — " she says with a rough gesture to the four of them, " — have rights, let alone these guys. For fucks sake." Rough as she may be, she reaches in the cages to help the weaker ones as well. If they let her.

"Without incriminating or bringing too much t— It's a little late for that," Daniel growls in a tight and frustrated tone. Harper's shout shakes him from his inaction, her point stinging home somewhere deep. Finally, the lawyer moves to help free the remaining captured faerie creatures from the cages. "Someone grab the ledger and get it out of here. As long as we have that, we've got some leverage," he adds to the pair of wolves by the desk.

"The law doesn't give a shit about us and we look human at least," Finn tosses back over his shoulder.

Unfortunately for the foursome and the fairies they are saving, the noise level in the tiny office has obscured a much quieter sound… of soft-soled shoes on concrete flooring.

The dim shadows of two men appear in the doorway of the busted-in door — unfortunately for Finn, they can see him much better than he can see them, and it's only by the barest of margins that the bullet aimed at him misses, hitting the door jamb instead.

He shoots toward them, two quick pulls of his gun, the first missing the shadow that's shooting, but the second hitting him in the arm. The man's gun goes skittering across the concrete.

«Just a fountain of calm that one…» Shikoba emits as she looks through the desk. «She's going to get us all into deep shit if anyone is around to hear us.»

"If we don't at least attempt to work within the law, then things like this will continue." Shikoba says softly as she takes the ledger from the desk and holds it under her arm. Too late, she catches the sound of footsteps, "Door!" she shouts, the sound muffled by gunshots as she ducks behind the desk for cover. Her heart pounding she works on calm, clutching the book to her chest.

Sadly, her calm is rather disturbed. She sees the gun, but it is out of reach. She takes several deep breaths, but doesn't seem to be able to maintain her cool as her shift begins.

"Yeah, well, you work within the law. I'll get shit done." Harper doesn't turn from the cages until the sound of gun fire, and she ducks down a bit, a pair of the little pixies clutched to her chest.

Seeing Shikoba start to shift, Harper rubs her face and sets the little pixies close to the corner where they'll be safer from frazzled feet and angry wolf jaws. Of course, she can't do her good deed without cursing under her breath.

Daniel has but a few cages open by the time the gunfire barks through the warehouse. He sends a look back towards Finn, but as the werewolf fires back, Daniel leaves the gunfighting to the others. "Nothing like a little gunfire to get the blood pumping, right," mutters the man to Harper as he continues to free the imprisoned. The last few sickly faeries he finds are slipped into his suit jacket pockets as delicately as he can manage before he turns to the door.

Finn moves forward with a few strides, his gun aimed on the second of the two men while the first clutches his bleeding arm. When the werewolf reaches the dropped gun, he kneels down to pick it up, then holding it back for one of the others in his little search and rescue party to come take, should they wish to arm themselves. Armed, he apparently doesn't feel nervous enough to break into dog form, apparently.

"Y'all wanna keep these guys for questioning or just let them run like the fucking dogs they are?" he says, voice and eyes hard with anger.

Shikoba shifts into a large black and dark grey wolf. «Hungry… Angry…» She leans back on her haunches for a moment before jumping over the desk and to the bleeding man. She keeps far enough away to be out of his reach, but close enough to where he is within hers. She growls- it is an otherworldly, angry raw sound as she bares her teeth at the man and snaps her jaws for effect. «Kill him now? Only need one?»

"How fast do you think their blood is pumping?" Harper asks as she stands up, fangs barred and red eyes fixed on the two men. "Or hers," she adds, as Shikoba goes after one of them. "Can't you keep a handle on your girl there?" It's meant for Daniel, although she doesn't look his direction. She strides forward to sweep up the ledger and take the extra gun. She points in the other man's direction, although she doesn't fire right off.

"You might want to run. Our puppy hasn't had her dinner." It isn't a direct answer to Finn, but she seems to be voting to letting them turn tail. If they so choose.

Daniel utters a non-speculative noise; he's too busy not getting shot at. But, Shikoba's manner gets her a short mentally 'barked' command, «Control yourself and leave them.» For Finn, Daniel pauses but a second as he says, "We aren't their judge, jury, or executioner. And they're just the guards." The man seems surprisingly cool as he starts to walk towards the last guard who blocks their way out. Perhaps he's trying to give the impression of leadership as he makes his way out.

"You heard her," Finn says, waving the gun slightly for them to head out. "Get moving. I'd suggest to Tijuana. She's got your scent now," he says. Might as well play on the prejudices against their kind and use it to their advantage.

«Get off him, but follow to make sure they actually leave so we can clear these things out of here,» he suggests to Shikoba — apparently trusting her to not actually kill them.

The man not pinned down by an angry she-wolf is already taking their advice and scrambling for the door. He doesn't get paid well enough to deal with four angry Feys.

Shikoba moves a step away from the man and bark-growls at him as she watches him scramble to his feet and follow the other man out. She charges a few steps out the door, doing her best impression of an angry she wolf. She follows them far enough to see them leave, then makes her way back.

With the two men more or less out of the way, the fever receeds and Shikoba shifts back into her human form. She retrieves her clothing from the pile behind the desk, strutting to it and putting them on quickly as if it is the most natural thing in the world. Now dressed, she looks at the others and shrugs, slipping her shoes back onto her feet.

She tosses her hair, now unfurled from its ponytail. "Let's get these guys out of here." She scoops up a handfull of the weaker creatures and makes her way to the door.

Harper watches until they're out of sight, then she lets out a quiet, but long sigh, lowering her head for just a moment. It's just a small moment before she collects herself and lifts her chin, and shoves the gun at Finn. He knows what to do with them better than she does, clearly.

With the ledger in one arm, she comes over to help her own group of the little pixies into her coat pockets. Some might end up riding on her shoulders, even. When she stands back up, she smirks over at Daniel. "You guys eat people? Gross."

Daniel hangs about until Shikoba ensures the guards are out of sight. "No, we don't eat people," professes the man with conviction. At least, he doesn't. Gross indeed! So with Harper and Finnegan left, he regards the pair with a thoughtful look. "So, we were called to help free these creatures, but some of them need medical attention, as awkward as that seems to say. And, we have the ledger." It is for this item that he holds out a hand for, expectantly, from Harper.

"I'll toss a couple dogs to watch in case they come back," Finn says, concentrating for a moment, then turning to the others, watching Daniel curiously as the lawyer asks for the ledger.

"You going to follow up on it, or just making sure we don't?" he asks — after all, the other man seemed a bit nervous about the possibility of any illegal doings. "Because if it's the second, I'll take it."

Looking between the two men, Harper lifts an eyebrow at the both of them. "Who says either of you are getting it?" And with a dismissive laugh, she takes her rescued pixies and walks out past the two wolves, following after Shikoba.

Daniel eyes Finnegan when the other questions him. "As much as we did a morally laudable thing, we don't know who it is we just did a bit of 'B and E' with bullets for. Something like this isn't going to just be done in a night." Since Harper takes the ledger, though, he doesn't seem inclined to argue with her now for it. "And with these in the shape they're in… hopefully they last the night." He starts back towards his car, apparently intent on taking the sick faerie creatures with him, somewhere. Once there, he turns back towards Finn and adds in afterthought, «Thanks, for the gun support. Things could have gotten a lot… hairier.» The man shrugs, using the gesture to get out of his jacket and lays it down gently in the passenger side of his car before getting in.

The other man raises a brow at 'morally laudable' — who talks like that? — and gives a nod at the thanks at the end of the speech. "Not gonna show up at a party like this without some hardware," Finn says, glancing back into the room to be sure all the sickly creatures have been scooped up by the others. Nothing remains but a the empty cages and the ransacked desk. He moves toward the exit of the warehouse.

"Got hairy enough as it is," he mutters, pulling out his cell phone to help light their way back out.

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