Subsection: Monday 23 September 2019 Up Section: 1.03 The Monster Maker

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Juan checks the local news, looking particularly for stories about people acting suddenly above their usual level – petty thieves robbing a bank, and so on. But there’s nothing this morning. Jesus tries to contact his friends on the street, but no luck.
The team gets back together at lunchtime. Natasha has had a dream: four obvious Men in Black getting out of an SUV and going into a warehouse. There’s a dark grey splatter on the back bumper (which Juan reckons was probably from a paintball gun). In the bushes is the mysterious woman, in disruptive-pattern camouflage, carrying an old-style wooden police baton; she sneaks towards the warehouse after them. The warehouse doesn’t have distinctive logos, but the pattern of construction and trees and so on should be recognisable.
They check their own cars, and there doesn’t seem to be anything unexpected on them.
The team digs for information about a possible getaway car at the bank robbery. They had one, but it was stolen about an hour earlier – in Allendale, where the dinosaurs showed up, though not in exactly the same place. The timing is quite tight between the Whole Foods robbery and the theft of this one. They go over there to take another look.
They drive around the area looking at warehouses – particularly smaller ones that might match the dream, but there aren’t any of the right sort here. While they’re looking, Juan thinks he sees someone whip out of sight round a corner. As Juan and Jade rush that way, Natasha follows up with a spell to burst a tyre, which slows it enough to let Jade catch up and leap aboard. The driver slams on the brakes then accelerates again, but Jade just barely manages to hang on and rakes downwards at the driver – but there’s some sort of barrier that stops her doing damage. Juan has a gun out, and fires, though it doesn’t seem to hit anything vital; the windscreen has a hole in it, but the hole doesn’t spread. Jesus drives round to try to cut her off.
Jade continues to cling on and to tear the soft top apart. Juan fires again, getting some more solid hits this time. Jesus gets round in front of the fleeing Jeep. Jade’s knocked upwards by a blast of air, but manages to grab the tailgate as she comes down again, and raise herself into the truck bed among the remains of the cover. Jesus forces the Jeep onto the sidewalk; Jade finds the paintball gun, and tosses it out of the Jeep. Jesus forces both cars to stop.
The driver looks round, sees the tiger, and braces for a fight. Jade claws again, but with the same scraping sensation. The driver tries to punch Jade, who gets out of the way, but her return claws aren’t getting through the shield.
Jesus points his pistol at the driver and tries to get her to leave the vehicle – and she does, with a slump. When Natasha asks what she’s been up to: “I’m trolling for Men in Black”. Juan checks her ID: she’s Trinidad Miguez. Her feeling is that the stakes are high enough to justify a few deaths.
“The cult” was her idea: give some small-time criminals a whiff of power (and some fake lore about herbs to show up as the right sort of weird on a news report), and they start attracting attention. The Men in Black don’t do subtle, apparently. (And zombies are one of the things they particularly care about.)
Over a cup of strong but otherwise not terribly good coffee, she says that she’s working against the Men in Black for “personal reasons”. When she was in, she was a USAF security forces sniper. Dittmar doesn’t know about magic, but he did help recruit for her cult – not under that name of course. The ultimate plan is to track the local Men in Black back to their base, and find out where they’re taking people. She’s seen a few; they’ve got an enchantment, such that they all have the same face.
She’s not surprised when Juan mentions a vampire. She’s not impressed by his offer of alliance (in return for not getting more people killed), until he sniffs her breath and tells her which brand of burger she had for lunch, what deodorant she uses, and so on. She feels she doesn’t have much choice about cooperation.
Natasha reckons the paintballs are magical tracers, and Trinidad is happy to confirm this.
Her business cards are for a shop called “Crescent Moon”, which specialises in herbal supplies.