The Downing Building
New Hebron, California
Outside the Downing Building, Special Agent in charge Avery Driggs dodged attacks from the Gallu and struggled to fight off the creatures. Every time one swooped in he’d open fire with his Colt M4 Carbine, but the creatures were damned near impossible to kill. He’d only downed one, and it had only been because he caught it by surprise.
He was taking on one creature, firing off round after round when it happened. All the creatures in the street, let out a high-pitched screech all at once, and then dissolved in the air. The one in front of him opened its maw, green ooze spewing out of its mouth before it fizzled out, its arms peddling through the empty air. More green ooze splattering to the ground when it completed its disappearance.
He would not find out until later that the moment the Gallu disappeared coincided with the exact time that of Chemosh defeat. AEGIS scientists would try to understand the science involved for decades to come, but it was believed that the creatures had some connection to the perp and once that link broke the little monsters could not remain in their layer of reality.
When it happened Driggs didn’t stop to ponder the reason for it or even let out a sigh of relief. Instead, he moved forward, advancing on the Downing building. He motioned for the agents to follow and a full dozen moved toward the building behind him. He did not have to issue orders; they were acting on their training and securing the perimeter as he intended. Before they reached the gaping hole in the wall, a figure emerged the artifact trailing after her. He trained his weapon on her, and the other’s did the same, unsure if she presented a threat, but she zoomed past them and into the sky above.
Driggs heard the clank of metal and he turned in time to see Indigo Knight emerge through the opening. He lowered his weapon and motioned for the others to do the same.
“What’s the situation?” Driggs asked the armored vigilante peering up into the sky out of the corner of his eyes.
“Chemosh has been dealt with,” he answered. Driggs had dealt with Indigo Knight once or twice before and he thought the other man sounded so dispassionate, but this time was different. There was a certain tone in his voice, a strain almost. It reminded the agent how he felt when his mother died. In public he kept it cool, remaining strong for his underage sister so she someone to lean on. It was that same tension, he recognized in the man’s voice.
“Agents move in,” he motioned the other’s forward and watched Indigo Knight peer up into the sky. He followed the man’s gaze, he could just make out the woman above, the machine was swirling and pulsating.
“She won’t make it,” the armor vigilante said shaking his head. “She cannot contain that much energy.”
Indigo Knight’s suit of armor flared to life, and he leapt into the sky after the woman in a burst of light. Avery called after him, but either the man did not hear or he ignored him.
He watched the man rocket toward the woman, but before he had covered half of the distance, a brilliant burst of light filled the sky and he turned away. When his vision cleared, he looked back up again, and he could just make out two forms plummeting toward the ground and Indigo Knight speeding toward them.
His his breath caught in his throat. He didn’t know who the second figure might be, but one of them must have been the woman. The explosion in the sky was not something that anyone would have been able to just walk away from. He’d served in Iraq and seen more than a few bombs go off. From grenades, to car bombs to air raids during the Gulf War, he’d seen them all, and this would have leveled the whole city. The woman saved all their asses.
He waited and watched as Indigo Knight zoomed toward the pair of figures.
“Sir,” a voice spoke and he jerked around to see who. It was one of his agents, Erin Shelley. Driggs point an index finger up and peered back up, but when he looked detected no sign of Indigo Knight or of the two figures.
He sighed, turned back to the woman and eyed her. “What is it agent?”
“Sir, you need to see this,” the agent said, both hands on her hips, peering back into the building over her shoulder.
Driggs nodded and followed her inside. He didn’t know what he expected, but what he found was unlike anything he might have imagined. For one, the giant seemed to be missing, he saw no body, or sign it’d left the building. The creature must be somewhere, but it was too big to have left without exiting through the hole in the wall or making a new one. How then had it escaped? Though strange, it was not why he’d been sought out. His eye’s scanned the room, Rathdrum was checking the inert body of Harrier for signs of life and another man was kneeling over the naked body of a young woman, but he spared neither of them a second glance. The cries of a second woman rang through the chamber and he leveled his gaze on her.
The girl was college age, and she too was naked. At first, he thought she might be the girl he’d seen in the news, the one possessed by Chemosh who’d been reigning destruction down on the city, but her face was all wrong. He’d been warned that the perp possessed multiple victims and that one of them had been a girl matching this other one’s description.
The girl was clawing at something dark resting on the ground. At first, he couldn’t make out what it might be, but as he drew closer, he realized it was Babalawo’s costume covered in the same goop the Gallu exuded. Though unusual, it was the things the girl was screaming between sobs that made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.
“No!” she screamed clawing at her bare chest. “My body! It can’t be gone! This isn’t me, this isn’t me!”
She curled up in a fetal position, and just lay there rocking back-and-forth sobbing and mumbling under her breath.
Avery put both hands on his hips sighed and turned his back on the girl. He spoke into his mic, in his shirt sleeve. “The Downing building is clear, but we will need medics and a recovery crew.”
From there the scene resolved into the tedium of cleanup and the follow up investigation. Though he witnessed many colleague’s die that day, some of them friends, it was the image of that girl that would stick with him for years to come.