The giant shapes slammed into the creatures, batting them away like flies.
The chaos allowed Dan to shoulder Pistachio, and head for the bus. As he ran the battered creatures burst into flames. The crowd became an uneasy Mexican stand-off. Everyone watched everyone else nervously.
Tempe finally spoke up, “What do you want?” as she glanced at the wolves, her eyes caught on a brand on its arm. She swore it was a mark she knows.
The wolf shifted back to human.
It looked at her, “Temperance?”
“Gwyneth? What are you doing here?”
“Tracking these creatures. Get on the bus, we will try and get you out of here.”
Fern ducked out of the bus to take a sample from the two closest creatures.
As Dan and the Garou pushed the burning wrecks off of the road, Fern and Temperance tried to stabilize the wounded and make them as comfortable as possible.
The Garou and Dan boarded the bus. Tempe walked up to Gwyn, as the later shifted back to the blond haired girl she went to collage with.
Before she could speak, MINERVA chimed in, “Identify who else is in the vehicle. I am observing three heat signatures who are not MTF.”
While most of the others only had to hear the matriarchal scolding in the A.I.’s voice, Tempe and Fern were treated to the image of the A.I., standing, arms crossed impatiently tapping her foot in their HUDs.
“We had an encounter with unknown quadrupeds. We have an injured woman in the back that needs transport to medical. Pistachio is seriously injured. There is also two, wolf-people that assisted us in dealing with the quadrupeds.”
“Clarify wolf-people.” MINERVA requested.
“Not exactly certain. Bipedal, canine like, I don’t know.” Dan stumbled in his definition. “The fictional term is werewolf, but I don’t know…”
MINERVA cut him off. “You were not cleared to utilize outside resources.”
“We didn’t ask, it just happened, not much I could do about it. They have proven themselves to be capable. We would still be clearing cars right now.
MINERVA redirected her attention, “Temperance, please give me a visual of the two new individuals.”
Tempe turned and looked over Gwyn and her companion.
“Recognized as Garou Nation, Glasswalkers.” MINERVA stated curtly and fell silent.
Gwyn gave Tempe a questioning look as she raised a hand to the com device she wore. “I still need to talk to my pack leader. Understood.”
Tempe was unsure of which question of the thousands she had for her collage friend to start with. “So who do you report to?”
“I have my pack, you know. Like you have your guys here, I have my pack.” Gwyn answered. “I’m sorry I never told you, but it doesn’t just come up in conversation. Yeah I went out with Johnny last week, and by the way, I’m a god damn werewolf.”
“Do you have an engagement you need to attend?”
“We were hunting down those things that attacked you. They were created using DNA stolen from the Garou Nation. We have no proof but we think Weyland-Yutani made them.”
“We are going to get those samples examined as soon as possible.”
“Well I would have to make some calls but it seems like you have something we could learn from so I may be able to utilize some of our facilities.” Gwyn answered.
“Are they on the way?”
“Like regionally?” Dan asked.
“Negative, case delivery is priority.” MINERVA commanded.
“MINERVA has spoken.” Dan spat the words as if they were sour, “Case delivery is job one.”
“What is happening with the wounded in the back of the bus? I am registering a temperature anomaly of 175 degrees.” MINERVA questioned.
“Uh oh…” Tempe let slip as everyone turned to focus on the wounded woman that they had onboard.
What had been a woman was now a fleshy pupa. It split open as they watched. A large greenish insectoid rose from the casing. It immediately grabbed Pistachio and enveloped him. Its body split open to cover him completely.
“Someone grab something to tie it down!” Tempe yelled
The inside of the bus was deafening as Bono unloaded a burst of fire from his guns into the creature.
“Don’t shoot Pistachio too much!” Dan cautioned from the front seats.
“He has nanites!” Fern called from the driver’s seat.
“MINERVA! The Situation is a shit show. The wounded woman became some kind of Insect and has engulfed Pistachio. Can you tell me anything about this?” Dan requested of his least favorite A.I.
“No. There is nothing in the records of this. I have seen similar models used as transport, but not this. Please document.”
“Yeah, we will make sure to grab souvenirs.”
“That is the correct procedure.” MINERVA replied
“This is the second time that things have singled him out. Do you have anything on Pistachio’s history?” Tempe asked the A.I.
“We have no files on Pistachio. There is no documentation of his existence before he walked out of the woods to board the plane to Miskatonik castle. Wait there is another sig….”static cut out the rest of MINERVA’s comment.
Suddenly there was the sound of things landing on the roof of the buss.
“Hit the gas!” Arturo barked to the driver. He couldn’t remember her name.
The bus lurched forward, slowly gaining speed till it was running at 60 miles an hour.
Unfortunately, the jerk happened as Milton had pulled the trigger on his blackout. The cairned off the curved roof and struck Dan solidly into his soft armor. He sat heavily back into his seat and tried desperately to breath.
The screech of metal ripped into the area due to the creatures on top digging their way in.
Bono steadied himself and took aim at the insect’s eye. He was rewarded with the creature’s left compound eye bursting into a cloud of blood.
Tempe focused and reached out with her power. A creature yelps. It then began to emit the whistling chitter that they had just heard for the first time earlier that night.
The metal roof protests the force placed on it. With a scream, the metal parted and the insect began to struggle for the sky.
Gwen jerked the trigger to her gun, but the round flew wide.
Arturo instinctively reached out for the creature digging his claws in. The claws ripped into the neck of the creature. He felt the sickening flesh give way and then felt his claws bight into something tougher.
Tempe looked on to the scene and could see the fresh wounds across Pistachio’s face.
The creature continued its accent. It made it through the roof and struggled drunkenly over the sparse woods before crashing in the distance.
The two beasts from earlier leap from the roof and charge off after it.“Fern stop!” Arturo yelled.
Fern slams on the breaks.
Tempe slammed into the seat in front of her.
Bono leapt through the new hole in the roof and started scanning the area.
Dan rushes out of the bus door, but the darkness of the night revealed nothing. “MINERAV, you there?”
MINERVA answered, “Yes, there was an interfering signal.”
“The insect took Pistachio and has left the area. I have headed out on foot in pursuit.”
“Regretful. Rejoin the bus and resume delivery of the package to site 305.”
Dan turned, holstering the Reverend, and nearly running into the hulking form of Arturo.
“What are we doing?”“MINERVA says the case is priority.” Dan spat the words.
“We can’t just leave him behind!” Fern objected.
“I’m not a fan of it either, but the mission is the mission.”
Arturo’s cellphone interrupted the exchange.
“Arturo, its Juan. I have been advised of the situation. Gwen will return with anything she has. You will stay with that team until I call you home.”
Arturo could see Gwen was also on her phone. She nodded smiled at him and headed out of the bus, into the night. He regretted seeing her leave. She still had not noticed him.
Tempe opened a side window and leaned out, switching her vision to thermal. She could see four heat sources entering a vehicle in the distance.
“They are gone. We can’t close the distance to get to the vehicle.” Tempe relayed.
MINERVA tells them she will try and track the vehicle, but to get back on task.
Tempe voices “If whoever this is wanted Pistachio that bad, they are not going to kill him. We should deliver the package and then try to recover Pistachio.”
Fern stormed to the rear of the bus and collapsed in a seat, sulking to herself.
Dan sat in the driver seat and started to head down the road.
The days and nights passed with Dan and Arturo swapping in the driving.
Quiet anger dominated the rest of the drive but the path to Site 305 was uneventful.
They delivered the case to another Massive Dynamics team at Site 305.
SITE 305 is a huge Massive Dynamics facility.
They are issued their IDs.
MINERVA recalled them to the Outpost.
The Outpost was a squat, eight sided building made of concrete. Not what Arturo was expecting.
“Welcome to the outpost. Holding cell hell.” Fern said distastefully.
As the bus pulled in, several robots begin to swarm the vehicle and start to repair it.
Fern snatched up the sample and stormed into her lab. She was pissed that she didn’t know how to slam a sliding door.
Dan dropped off the weapons that were recovered on the trip.
Tempe helped Arturo find the only unused room on the first floor. She then walked over to place the page in her lab. She had to deliver the statue, but she wasn’t under any orders to turn in the page.
She was bone tired and wanted some real sleep.
Arturo found his room already been delivered his gear to the outpost. An envelope contained his ID. He was now a member of MTF Phi 7.