Demon The Descent: Session 1: Covers, Shadows and Fakes

Written by Chris (alcoholandaphorisms)

(Note: due to the demon characters having multiple cover identities they can wear, I will vary between referring to the demon and the covers they inhabit depending on circumstance, to try and keep clear who they are presenting as at the time. For clarity Mz Stone has the covers of Becca Stone and Gwil Short. Mx Blue has the cover of Ryan Winters. Sanjiv is still human)

 

Mx Blue floated in the air, wearing the face of Ryan Winters, biomechanical wings extended from their back. there was a moment of peace, their, no Ryan’s nemesis, is dead, fallen to his death. London spread out before them. Ryan’s feet touch the ground, far away from the point of death, wings drawing back into her body. Her footsteps take her back towards her apartment, her body knowing the way to take, if not her memory. There is still much to learn about her new host, and the agents of the god machine will be watching for any mistakes.

 

Ryan’s apartment is cluttered, items stacked upon each other, with the most recently used placed at the top of the heap. A bag, packed and ready to go at a moments notice within arms reach. Mx Blue flicks through the wardrobes, the clothes, the shelves and notebooks; Assimilating everything about this new life.

 

It feels wrong. Troubling. Seeing the life that Mx Blue has taken. All that Ryan was is gone now. Mx Blue had to, they needed a cover, something to turn away the god machine’s gaze, the identity they had been wearing before was almost burned, but still. The transaction had been hurried, there was not time to do things more cleanly. A bad choice, but one they had to make or be found and “recovered”.

 

How much of this feeling is Ryan, the cover worn? Mx Blue can feel Ryan’s moral strength, her code and her fire. She was the one that had caused Mr Grey to fall, with that strength of conviction.

 

Mx Blue pauses. Mr Grey, he is a demon as well, but does not know yet that Ryan is one too. That could be an advantage. There is a lot of risk there, Mr Grey is a warning to demons, on how quickly perspective can be skewed, Ryan was the one who caused Mr Grey to fall, and yet now his actions are abhorrent to her. Ryan reached out to Mr Grey for help and he turned on her. A mix of horror and regret rises in Mx Blue as she recalls her part in Ryan’s last moments. They were complicit, for their own ends. They are merged now, and Mx Blue promises that Ryan will be proud of the actions to come in her name.

 

Looking through financial records Blue sees that this is a recently acquired flat, the previous tenancy evacuated after some sort of attack, possibly from the god machine. As those thoughts rise, a knock – monotone and forceful, comes from the doorway.

 

Quietly Ryan rises, walking to the door and pressing her eye to the peephole. Two people stand, nigh motionless, in view. One man. One woman. Non descript, an almost composite average of the features of all the inhabitants of the area merged in their faces. Ironed and unmarked police uniforms hanging off their bodies. Their ethnicity seems somewhere between North African, Bangladeshi and Caucasian, mixed in the proportions of the local population.

 

Slipping the chain on the door, Ryan opens it a crack and peers out. “Yes?”

 

In neutral accent they reply in unison. “Ryan Winters? We’d like you to come with the station with us to answer some questions of ours”

 

“What about?”

 

“Please, Miss Winters, it would be beneficial if you would come with us”

 

“Do you have a warrant to enter this abode, or to arrest me at this point?”

 

The male officer holds his hands to one ear, as if listening on an ear piece, nods once then says “You will come with us Miss Winters”

 

Ryan leans back, out of reach “Am I under arrest?”

 

“No Miss Winters, you are not, however it would be advantageous if you were to come with us” The male officer says.

 

“To assist with our enquires” the female officer finishes, following on seamlessly.

 

“Why do I get the impression that assisting with enquiries usually ends with being arrested?”

 

“Miss Winters, please come with us”

 

“Are you going to leave if I close this door?”

 

“Please Miss Winters, just come with us”

 

“I just need to get my coat” Ryan says, closing the door and heading towards the emergency essentials bag.

 

Ryan gets two steps before Mx Blue feels a massive surge of power from behind the door. Ryan manages to throw herself down behind the table as the doors slam inwards, buckling in half and tearing the hinges from the wall. The two officers stride in, in unison “Miss Winters, you will come with us”

 

Staggering backwards and coughing at the dust filling the air, Ryan raises her hands “Whoa, whoa, whoa” she catches her footing, keeping her hands raised but her feet bracing, ready to defend herself.

 

The female officer hangs back, as the male officer steps forwards grabbing Ryan by the hair and pulling her across. Locking her hand on the officers’, Ryan pushes them both forwards, arm locking then rapidly zip tying the officer’s arms together. They are angels of the god machine, low ranking ones it seems from the amount of energy they had to expend to achieve this.

 

“You’ve entered this building illegally” Ryan shouts “I am putting you under citizens arrest” Fumbling in her jacket she yanks out a mobile and starts dialling 999, before she can hit the final digit the two officers collapse, eyes filling with static.

 

Ryan looks bemused, but it is but a sham, Mx Blue knows what has just occurred. Angels have banes and bans, activities they must or cannot do. These must have had a bane if anyone quotes legitimate law against them they must obey or shut down. Hanging up the phone, Mx Blue reaches for a wrench and screwdriver. There is a lot of energy in broken angels, and the night is long. Waste not, want not.

 

In Brixton Mz Stone, staring out through the features of Gwil Short, looks at the non descript room she now resides within. There are no handcuffs anymore, free roam of the compound is hers, well, Gwill’s – she has a feeling Becca Stone would not be welcome here. She has been listening, watching. In the cellar there is something called “The Root” a holy object. There are also bodies, the remnants of martyrs, stored there. The faith, heh, the cult, is rapidly recruiting and moving people into influential positions. All in all, a useful tool, for all there seem to be groups trying to curtail them. Unfortunately it seems Gwil could see something called “The Child” and is expected to be its prophet.

 

More information is needed, and for all his newfound respect, Gwil seems curtailed in the information he is given. Walking the corridors of the faith Gwil moves up behind Lucy, their Head Druid, and presses his hand to hers. As Lucy slumps to the ground unconscious, Mz Stone catches her, her features moving and shifting to match Lucy’s as Lucy’s features become increasingly bland in response. Slipping the unconscious Lucy into her office, Mz Stone locks the door behind her, and in the safety of the dark reaches out and lets her true shape show itself in minor ways, Piston pneumatic arms, ending in coils and fibres sweep around Lucy and feed into her brain, searching for images and memories.

 

Memories of Mark, Lucy’s former partner. On some level she misses him. The relationship had been a lie, but she had come to like him, to find him a comfort. Mz Stone files that away amongst the quantum memory like structure of her mind, and steps out into the compound once more, locking Lucy in her office.

 

Walking the corridors in Lucy’s skin is enlightening, people speaks so much more freely and so much more deferential. Information pours freely rather than being bled from a stone. There have been clashes at local gang level – new recruits attacking and being attacked by a group known as the Knights of Saint Adrian, resulting in hospitalisations on both sides. Weird tales have been filtering back from the encounters, tales of tattoos on the Knights, of one member touching the asphalt floor of a car park and his hand lit up, looking like circuitry tattooed on their skin. Tales that sound so very suspiciously like the stigmatic, ones who can see the workings of angels and demons. Possible pawns or threats.

 

They speak more of the “Child”, some kind of entity linked with the root, described as a tree feeding up through a human child. Some sort of nature spirit that they believe has control over life and death itself. They are afraid if it, small petty fears. They speak of Gwil, its prophet, who spewed up dirt and maggots before the root – a sign of its favour. The spirit sounds like a potential threat, it will likely not approve of Mz Stone taking its prophet, or control of its cult. However it has not been heard of for nearly a year, since it manifested, its atrocity against reality sending those who saw it into religious frenzy, unhinged awe or utter terror. Several even went so far as to take their lives. If there is any luck in the world the Child perished as Gwil faced the god machine, but Mz Stone is not one to take chances.

 

“Our prophet is our contact to the Child” Mz Stone says through Lucy’s lips “Gwil is to be informed of any sign of the child. Any sighting, any hint, it will allow him opportunities to commune and prepare for the coming new order” and give early warning of a potential threat if the child returns Mz Stone thinks. The faith members nod understanding as Lucy steps out into the open air, free.

 

As Lucy turns the corner, shifting back to Gwil, memories within the compound alter under a bombardment of new information. Guards remember orders that Gwil is to be allowed to leave as he wishes, to commune with nature, and in fact it was Gwil, not Lucy that left the compound. Lucy remembers giving the orders that left from Mz Stone’s lips. Data of the world changes under Mz Stone’s control, so everyone remembers exactly what she wants them to, and Gwil walks free.

 

Fishing through Gwils instincts, Mz Stone finds a source of comfort in times of stress, a cache of matryoshka dolls, his collection hidden away. She has done well today so far, she thinks, and lets herself sink into her covers’ simple pleasures, surrounding himself in his collected figurines, breathing and existing just as Gwil, unseen by the God Machine. Not thinking of how much a doll within a doll within a doll reflects the existence they have come to share.

 

By this time Ryan has finished dismantling the angels, back at her apartment, her body tired and aching. Mx Blue, studies the state of exhaustion with some degree of annoyance. Sleep is an irritating obligation, a time of vulnerability and not being in control. Sighing, Ryan wipes down her hands and looks at the splintered wreck of a door.   She cannot stay here any longer, it is not secure. Grabbing the emergency bag and a handful of personal effect she steps out into the city of London, heading towards Waterloo. Back to where the humans used to meet and huddle against the gaze of the god machine. Slipping past security and into the tunnels under Waterloo station Mx Blue can see where the meeting room once was, now space wrapped in, turned upon itself. Directions flicker over Ryan’s gaze like a head up display to the world, guiding her through the warped space, to a steel door, that swings open to a narrow tunnel, cold concrete walls circling round, encompassing three main rooms and four tunnel compartments. An interior akin to that of a 1950’s nuclear bunker, Mx Blues bolthole against the world. No time passes outside when Mx Blue is here, the god machine cannot see in. They are safe, in a fortress in a reality of its own, walls covered with ancient switched, dials and cold green screen readouts. Here Ryan lies down her head, and they sleep. Safe.

 

Refreshed, hours later, Mx Blue rises once more, after cleaning and changing they sit at a wooden work desk in the midst of the facility, laying out Ryan’s notes upon the table. Looking at them Mx Blue picks a name from the list “Gwil”. It seems time to renew contacts with Ryan’s colleagues.

 

Stepping from the facility, back into reality, mere moments from when they left, Mx Blue holds the phone to Ryan’s ear, dialling the stored number for Gwil. According to the notes Gwil has not been in contact for quite some time, but it seems a good place to start as any.

 

Amongst the matryoshka dolls, Mz Stone sits in Gwil’s body, planning. It seems time to met with some of her other cover, Becca Stone’s, criminal associates. With the Knights of Saint Adrian having street gang connections, they may be best placed to get information on them, and a useful tool to turn against them if necessary. Milosh is an obvious first point of contact, for all he seems to be destroying himself right now. Something must be done about that.

 

Gwil’s phone rings, the green led screen reading out “Ryan Winters”. The name seems important for some reason. Some part of Gwil’s instincts hold on, waiting until the last ring before the answer phone before picking up the phone. A moment of pettiness.

 

“What?” Mz Stone says with Gwil’s voice.

 

Mx Blue pauses, they do not have access to Ryan’s memories, only the notes. They were hoping that Gwil would be more forthcoming in his greeting, give a hook to work upon “Gwil, where are you?”

 

“What do you mean where am?” The general contrariness seem the appropriate response Gwil would have, Mz Stone knows.

 

Mx Blue pauses, and tries a new tack “It has been quite a while since Nate died”

 

There is along pause before Gwil says “I don’t want to talk about it”

 

“Neither do I” comes the cold reply “But we started something together, and we were working towards a goal that benefits both of us.”

 

Unsure of the exact details, Mz Stone pushes Gwil’s response deeper into the contrary “Fuck. Fuck you. I’m relaxing. I’m finally relaxing”

 

“But you don’t relax. Do you?”

 

“I just want some time to myself.”

 

“Well” Ryan says “You have my number” and hangs up

 

Mz Stone waits, analysing potential risks and opportunities before finally sending a text to Ryan “Meet Hotel Belgrade then. Ask for Milosh”. Pushing energy through her form, the image of Gwil shifts and reforms, becoming Becca Stone. This should be a chance to watch Ryan unawares, find out a bit about her before making contact.

 

Receiving the text, Mx Blue recognises the place, and Milosh’s name. Ryan had notes on him, about potential ties he had to very shady characters. Curious and more curious. Sending affirmation, Ryan starts off towards Hotel Belgrade Bar.

 

Sitting at a spare table at Hotel Belgrade Becca Stone watches and waits. This body, a woman in loose camouflage trousers, open military jacket over greying vest – hair shaved down, and of mixed Indian and many other ancestries, should not be known to Ryan. Should be safe to wear and watch.

 

Milosh is already there as well, but he looks worse still than last time she saw him. He is whipcord thin and pale, hair grown lanky and greasy. A young man but lined like much older, eyes going yellow and showing early signs of jaundice. He smokes a roll up cigarette as he talks with heavy set Polish speaking men around him.

 

Ryan has entered, surveying the scene, Mx Blue understanding the Polish and being in no hurry for them to stop, heads to the bar and orders a drink as they listen in. The men are using Polish slang, talking about “cattle” – or human trafficking as they really mean. Women mainly. They are telling Milosh that they need him to run interference on anyone who comes sniffing around. The balance of power in this conversation is obvious, they have Milosh over a barrel, they have leverage on him, from his appearance most likely access to drugs. He needs drugs, is inches away from begging for them, and they are using that to get him to take advantage of his contacts in the police. Once promises have been made then men slip away, satisfied but contemptuous.

 

Receiving the coffee she ordered, Ryan heads over and slips down on a seat opposite Milosh, canting her head to one side inquisitively. Milosh looks over, his eyes unfocussed, and scratching his arm, a stink of decay rising from the marks. As his eyes focuses he starts backwards “Holy shit. Ryan. It is so good to see you. Heh. Heh. Well … heh, its been a long time man. How are you? I, I hope you didn’t mind my friends. They were just asking me to do some favours for them Erm, Ryan, have you got any money I could borrow?”

 

Ryan cants her head the other way “Since when did it take three people to intimidate someone to do a favour?”

 

“Oh, no, no Ryan, you see, you got it wrong. I owe them some money and they have been good to me. They have been real solid. Since I lost my job they kept a roof over my head.”

 

“You look like shit Milosh”

 

“Oh fuck you Ryan. The stuff I’ve seen, the stuff we’ve all seen… You came out of it ok, you look fine. How the hell do you look fine?”

 

“We all lost plenty” Ryan says

 

“You saw it. I can’t fucking sleep at night Ryan. I see it. I see the factories, and the people. The way they were strung up. Those machines, they were fucking raping them. Then, then I found out what happened to Nate. I can’t take it. I want to die, but I’m scared if I die those things are waiting for me ”

 

Ryan gives a thin smile “What if I did something to help you, to let you sleep at night. What would that be worth to you?”

 

“Heh. To sleep, you can’t make me sleep” Milosh sinks deeper into the chair “The only thing that lets me sleep is what I’m already on, and that is killing me”

 

Ryan shakes her head “No. I handled some people who are on what you are on now, and there is some interesting progressions going on. Things that can help you sleep but are less harmful” Leaning close and whispering Ryan continues “I can get you a course of this medication. I can have strong words with the people you owe money to. I can help you”

 

As Milosh watches unbelieving as Ryan writes out a contract, stipulating that she will take away the memories of the experiences with the god machine, will aid him with his addiction, and will grant him wealth to cover his debts, but in return he will grant her the job he held on the London Underground, that part of his life will become hers. Milosh watches, increasingly weirded out at the formalities, but in his desperation eh will try anything. In loose shaking handwriting he signs his name, and then the contract changes. Reality alters, fate changes flow and the material becomes as solid as can be.

 

Watching, externally Becca Stone gives not a single sign, but inside Mz Stone’s mind is whirling, accessing quantum racks of data storage and processing ramifications. She is fairly sure that she just saw Ryan tempt Milosh into signing a demon contract. Which means Ryan is a Demon, like her. Possibly an ally. Possibly an enemy. Their close link here seems like a coincidence and as an ex agent of the god machine she is unwilling to believe in such things.

 

“Huh” Milosh says, looking cleaner eyed already “So, when is this meant to happen?”

 

Ryan pulls out a small orange pill bottle with a child proof cap and smiles “take two of these tonight and you should start to feel better”

 

“Yeah whatever” Milosh says, as Ryan goes to put the contract away.

 

As this is happening Becca leans over and whispers to one of the waitresses that she recognises some unwelcome gang colours on one of the drinkers on the other side of the room. As she speaks hidden mechanisms behind the world alter the lines of cause and effect, and as the waitress heads over to check she trips, knocking Ryan’s table and sending the contract flying to the ground, in the seconds before Ryan scoops it up Becca sees it clearly.

 

She is not the only demon here. Aether pushes through her veins, spilling into the air as Becca attunes herself to the aether energies of the world, watching for signs of hostile action from this unknown fallen angel. To the outside world though she keeps a poker face, just sipping her drink, blending into the background.

 

Wondering where Gwil is, Mx Blue looks around, uncertain, attuning their own sense to the Aether, and spies a cloud of recently spent power. Warning flags rise, and Ryan looks to Milosh. She is not alone here. Becca, watching sees the power spilling from Ryan, and keeps her head down, not wishing to blow her cover. Two demons in the dark, making tentative movements to contact. After a moments consideration Ryan stands, if there is any doubt, then there is no doubt. She needs to get out of here before it is too late. “Take care of yourself Milosh, we should meet up again some time”

 

Ryan heads out, aiming for a back exit, her mind scanning through blueprints, layouts, knowing ways out from this place as is she built it herself. Or so it should be, the first door she throws open leads to an enclosed set of toilets. The Aether in the air is blurring the lines of what she can sense. Cursing internally, they refocus – the data streams reconnect, corrupt data cleansed and she moves once again with purpose. Moments later Ryan moves through the keg cellar, pulling herself out from the service hatch. There is no sign of any tails, if anyone is watching there is a good chance she lost them.

 

Inside Becca watches with interest, waiting a full ten minutes before acting, pulling out Gwil’s phone and sending a text “Running late. I’ll grab a drink when I get there”. A tardy nature is almost Gwil’s trademark, this should not seem too suspicious.

 

Outside Ryan has set at a vantage point, watching for people entering and exiting the Hotel Belgrade, trying to establish if there is an Angel or Demon on her trail. Seeing Gwils’ text she scans on her smart phone for signs of local tube disruptions, something she can use to claim late arrival herself, but everything seems remarkably clear for once. Trusting Gwil to not bother to check she sends a reply “London Overground engineering works are delaying me, can we meet somewhere else?”

 

Hiding away in the toilets of Hotel Belgrade, so her use of Gwil’s phone does not threaten her cover, unwilling to risk changing forms while she may be under surveillance Becca replies with the text “Fuck’s sake. Where are we meeting shithead?”

 

As she waits for the reply, Becca pushes out through window on the blind side of the bar, that heads into a concealed alleyway. She needs to get to safe distance, somewhere she can assume Gwil’s identity unseen. Watching for any possible tails she discretely makes her way through the back alleys, out towards the tube lines – it should be easy to spot a tail there, and easier still to spot of anyone is using Aether to try and stay unnoticed. Switching Gwils phone off she rides train after train, out from Jubilee to Canning town, with no sign of trace. Finally thinking herself safe, she slips into the underground toilets, her form shifting until the face of Gwil stares back at her from the mirror” Right Ryan, lets see who you are then”

 

Turning his phone back on Gwil sees a message from Ryan waiting, a voice mail message “Fuck it. I’m getting a cab – I’ll be at the Belgrade in five minutes”. Inwardly Mz Stone curses, she is at least twenty minutes out now. Another text back to Ryan “Fucks sake, I was on the underground heading out. I’m miles away now. I’ll head back then”

 

Ryan looks at the text, and something about it makes Mx Blue suspicious. A reply is quickly sent “Where were you heading?”. The reply comes moments later “Was assuming you would go to your favourite place. That’s fucking miles way. Thought I’d get an head start” Gwil smiles as Mz Stone guesses Ryan won’t have access to many more host memories than she does – which means she won’t be able to call the bluff without breaking cover. Her suspicions are confirmed as the reply just comes with “Ok fine”. Another dance around first contact completed without being revealed. Now Mz Stone just has to get Gwil’s body back to Hotel Moscow and see if she can manage to do as well in person.

 

In Hotel Moscow Ryan lights up a cigarette as she waits. Considering what this place gets up to they aren’t going to worry about enforcing the smoking ban. She gets about two drags before her phone starts vibration, the screen indicating an unknown number

 

“Hello?”

 

“Ryan” Mr Grey’s voice speaks through the phone, controlled as ever “You’re fit and well I presume?”

 

“I had some help”

 

Mr Grey’s reply comes in Urdu, taking advantage of the demon’s ability to speak in all tongues of the planet “I bet you did. I lost track of her. Who the fuck are you?”

 

“Sorry I don’t understand what you are saying”

 

“Don’t play that fucking game with me. What did you do to her?”

 

Mx Blue decides to switch to Navaho for Ryan replies “Ryan’s gone. Accept it and move on”

 

After a long pause a reply comes in Apache language “You took away something I owned. You owe me”

 

“Hmm, but you never owned her did you? She never signed a contract”

 

“I assume you were the one who let him drop from a very great height?” Mr Grey speaks with every word controlled.

 

Switching to Japanese Ryan answers “You know we can’t possibly trust each other”

 

“That is true, however I have some information. You are new here. There are rules. There is a system of etiquette you have to follow, and there are things you need to be aware of about the machines operations”

 

Speaking in Afrikaans Ryan says “Would it help if I said that I didn’t intend offence but I was in a very difficult situation at the time”

 

The answer from Mr Grey comes in German “You owe me a very big favour, Ryan” there is a very tiny emphasis on that last word that would be missed by any who didn’t have perfect memory recall “What is of greater concern is a firm called Panopticon Industries. They are implementing a new CCTV network, using human resources if you catch my meaning”

 

“I will look into them” Ryan says in Welsh “Do you remember where your friend had a nasty fall. If I have any response you will see something buried there. A dead drop. Do not call this number again. You won’t get through”

 

“One last thing” Mr Grey says, French language now “Acquaint yourself to Moscow rules. We may not trust each other, but we have both come out of the cold”

 

“I’m well aware of Moscow rules” Comes the reply in Gaelic “This is not my first venture”

 

“I understand, but there are agencies here. There are rules. You must be careful. Remember you owe me. I don’t want you disappearing. Take care Ryan”

 

“You know where the drop is. Any information you get you put there”

 

“Very well, I respect your professionalism”

 

Hanging up, Ryan rips the battery from the phone, pulls out the sim and flushes it, tosses the battery in a bin, then throws the phone to the floor and stomps on it until it is shattered plastic and metal pieces. No one bats an eyelid.

 

It is about half an hour later that Gwil turns up, pushing nervously into the bar. He looks around the room, eyes settling on Ryan for a moment. Absent mindedly he pulls cleaning wipes from his pocket and wipes them across his hands. he looks to Ryan again, uncertainty in his face then grimaces. Obviously not meeting Ryan’s gaze, Gwil walks to the bar first, ordering a beer, which he takes a deep, reassuring swig of before finally heading to Ryan’s table, standing in front of it, then slowly lowering himself onto the chair “What was…Why? Why did you want to see me?” He says, staring down at the floor.

 

“It’s been a long time Gwil, how are you holding up?”

 

“Why do you care?”

 

“I. I have been thinking a lot about what happened” Mx Stone says through Ryan’s voice, pushing down Ryan’s instinctive reaction and replacing it with considered words “and I spent a lot of time blaming you for what happened. I don’t think that was necessarily fair of me”

 

Gwil looks up, confused, the rug pulled out from under him “What?”

 

Ryan just shrugs “How did we even get into this situation in the first place? We had been running around, chasing this thing and doing what it had us do. Ultimately it was what caused all that happened. It was responsible for Nate’s death. You were just a victim ”

 

The chair scrapes back on the ground nearly falling as Gwil stands, anger on his face “Don’t fucking patronise me! What the fuck do you want?”

 

“I want to help” Ryan says, tone calm “and not in a way that does more harm than good”

 

Gwil stares, watching for some sign of deceit, then sinks slowly back into the chair.

 

Ryan nods “It is understandable” Pulling out a pack of cigarettes he tosses it on the table “I just thought I’d let you know. It was nice talking to you” Ryan stands and heads out to the bars exit.

 

Gwil, looks after her, looking smaller, hunched up in the chair, lost and confused. “Wait!” He seems to shrink back further, almost childlike in his confusion. “You. You mean it. Do you mean it?” There is an almost pathetic note of hope in his voice.

 

“If I really wanted revenge do you think it would have been that difficult for me to get it?”

 

“I. Thanks.” Gwil says, muttering down at the table “I’m, I’m doing better.”

 

“It’s good to know. Tell me,” Ryan says “Have you met with anyone else from those times?”

 

Gwil snorts, his body shaking until he lets loose a bitter, manic laugh “Erm…heh.. kind of”

 

Ryan, looks, and inside Mx Blue decides to risk something “So..you haven’t been in touch with Dave recently”

 

Gwil laughs once more and shakes his head. Ryan pauses, and the demon forces a genuine glowing smile “I’ll see you around Gwil” Gwil just looks up, confused and lost, he never expected kindness or forgiveness, and he doesn’t know what to do with it.

 

As soon as Mx Stone steps outside, they wonder. Gwil didn’t react to Dave’s name. Mx Blue knows from Ryan’s notes that Dave is caught, maybe dead, a prisoner of the God Machine. yet Gwil reacted not at all. Something is odd here. Sitting on a nearby beach, Ryan lights up a cigarette and watches. Minutes later Gwil comes out as well, glances at Ryan, and stares back at the ground, heading out towards the underground station. The two demons suspicious of the nature of their cover’s friend.

 

Days pass as they consider what to do next. Mz Stone, having acquired a burner disposable phone sends a text “I spotted you. You spotted me. let’s talk” The phone vibrates twice, and comes back with message undeliverable. “Very well, another time then. We can take this slow”

 

Another day later. The car park, a chalk outline worn down where a body fell from the sky. Where Ryan was no more and Mx Blue was reborn. Two people stand, staring out over the river towards the O2 arena. One, a skinny man in dark glasses and black tie that blows in the wind, opens his suit jacket and lifts out a cigarette to smoke. Guarding it with his other hand from the wind blowing in off the Thames. Behind him the second man, a heavy set and crew cut fellow, heavily tattooed arms poking out from a chequered shirt pulled down by braces, kneels and presses his hand upon the impact point where the body fell. A ruddy red glow rises from his hands, circuit board patterns running across his veins, light burning into the tarmac. “Yeah” He says “Definitely activity”

 

“How many?” The thin man asks.

 

“It is too loose a pattern. They have gone to ground. There was another one, I’ve not got a fix on their identity yet”

 

“It is only a matter of time. Notify the angels. We are doing gods work tonight.”

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