Subsection: Tuesday 8 October 2019 Up Section: 1.05 Beneath the Skin Section: 1.06 …Versus the Aztec Mummy 

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Around 2am, Jesus’ phone rings: a neighbour tells him that the SWAT team just broke down his door, something about drugs, and they’re still there. Around 5am someone comes through smelling strongly of beer, but otherwise the night is uneventful.
This doesn’t seem to be working, even when the number of visitors picks up a bit in the morning. The team plans shifts in a van, using an enchantment from Natasha to detect the smell of vinegar at the card barrier.
Jesus finds that his place is still being forensicated; reading between the lines, it looks as if they got a tip from what’s normally a solid source, and went in heavy.
(23 September 2020)
The members of the team who were up all night go to get some sleep. Jesus finds someone who specialises in police-related damage to get his place fixed up, but goes back himself to see if the forensics team are finishing up. They’ll be the rest of the day, but suggest he should check in with the cops anyway.
He eventually gets through to Lieutenant De La Rosa (Narcotics), who’s clearly angry, though not specifically at Jesus; he says something about informants not being as reliable as one might think they were. This ends fairly neutrally; Jesus isn’t getting an apology or his door paid for, but nor is he getting arrested. He finds some friends to crash with.
The group talks again at lunchtime; they plan to visit Burns’ office that evening. Jesus goes to get some tapping gear to be left behind on site. Natasha sets up a new disposable appearance.
They get on site around 5.30. Some of the shops nearby are still open, and will be for a while yet; they go round to an access path at the back, the common smoking area for all employees. AFLC has a reasonably seriously locked door, with bolts through the frame and a wired window; Jesus gets through that, and confounds the alarm panel. The place is divided into three: open front area with reception desk (with quite a bit of mail piled up inside the front door), main office with one desk, and rear break area. Nobody’s been working at the reception desk for some months, it would appear. In the main office there’s a day book; older appointments are ticked off, but nothing after lunchtime on Wednesday 25th, the day after Marcus rented the storage unit. There are some photos on the walls, suggesting that this is indeed the same person who put down the cash for the rental.
Going through the computer as well reveals that the storage unit was rented for Detective Duane Humphries of the Jacksonville PD, who had an appointment on the 24th. He assumed Humphries was up to something dubious, and was planning to find out more. Jesus copies the contents of the computer, then bugs it and the net connection. They get out again, re-setting the alarm and locking the door.
Det. Humphries shows up in a news story a few years ago, talking to the press; judging from the story, he’s in Narcotics.
In a coffee shop, Natasha scries for the flattened face of Burns; it’s not within three miles, but it is within ten, and she has an idea of direction. They drive closer, and try again… and it’s in another storage rental place, this one U-Haul, so they also do vehicle rentals and such like.
She looks inside. The setup is much as in the other storage area; the only other skin here is that of Detective Humphries. On analysing the preservative fluid, she gets a composition of vinegar, water, and some odd organics; she reckons that with a bit more thought she might be able to come up with a noxious brew that would wreck one of these skins not only in the drawer but while it’s being worn.
They go to a chemical supply store to stock up on ingredients for this brew, then retire to Natasha’s while she makes up two batches. Jesus goes to get some water guns.
(7 October 2020)
Natasha scans for that vinegary fluid, and gets only one hit apart from the two she knows about: on the UNF campus. They park close by and try again: it’s in the Biological Sciences building. (Natasha did some of her teacher training there, and knows that while there wouldn’t be any teaching going on at this time, the buildings would be open for student clubs.) She homes in on this with a mobile viewpoint; this takes her to a laboratory with about twenty students poking at soil in tubs and writing down readings (temperature, pH, humidity), and one of the students is the one with the vinegar-solution. And she looks exactly like Tiffany Adams. There’s casual flirting going on, and she’s not the only one doing it. Looking at notebook covers, this appears to be extra-credit work on the Criminology course.
It’s now about 7.30, and Natasha sets out to read Tiffany’s mind. She’s contemplating torture, of each of her fellow students, in detail, while deciding which one she’s going to seduce, torture and murder. A deeper probe to try to find her address doesn’t get through her willpower, but Natasha does retrieve her phone number.
Natasha pokes through the murders she’s already committed; Tiffany is very strong, and pretty fast, but she prefers to drug her victims. As Natasha watches, she picks a victim and suggests that they might want to go off somewhere afterwards; he doesn’t object.
Jade shifts to tiger form and approaches the building. About 8pm the students start to pack up and leave. Jesus talks himself and Natasha past the gate guard, and parks next to the Biological Sciences building; Jade spots them, shifts back and gets in contact, then lurks in the trees across the ring road. The students come out, and the victim gets into a flashy-looking convertible (soft top, closed) with Tiffany. As all the students start to leave, Jade runs over and leaps into the back of the car, mostly unnoticed (and the student who does spot her clearly doesn’t believe his eyes).
They drive off, the students gradually going off in different directions. They head south, then for the coast; somewhere along the way she knocks out the victim. She pulls in to the side of the road in a fairly lonely area, puts the car out of sight, and goes round to get the victim out. As the others pull up, she drops the victim, reaches into the car, and pulls out an assault rifle, at which point Natasha destroys the primers.
Jade leaps out and gets up close; Tiffany shoots, to no effect; Jesus and Natasha get out of the car. Jade claws, but Tiffany gets out of the way and shifts her grip on the rifle. She clubs Jade with it, but Jade’s supernatural protection helps deflect the damage. Jesus moves round for a shot, while Natasha closes in. Jade and Tiffany continue to trade blows; Natasha moves in with the staff, but Tiffany’s too fast for them. Jade lands a solid blow, and Tiffany’s unable to counter effectively. Jesus shoots Tiffany with the squirt gun, and her skin starts drying and flaking off; underneath is muscle. It clubs at Natasha, who evades. Jesus switches to his more conventional gun, and fires to some effect. When it goes after Jesus, this leaves its back undefended, and Jade’s kick finally takes it out of the fight. The body starts to evaporate as Jade makes sure it’s dead, and Natasha confirms that the spirit is departing.
The victim is still unconscious on the ground. The team picks up the spent rounds (mostly where the body was); they dump the victim near campus (detoxed from the chloroform to wake up shortly after they leave); and take the convertible to the same accommodating used-car dealer who moved the Lamborghini. Jade reckons she had a distinctive scent, related but not identical to that of a demon.
Further research suggests that these creatures aren’t limited to human hosts, but at least they aren’t social – so there probably won’t be others around.
 Subsection: Tuesday 8 October 2019 Up Section: 1.05 Beneath the Skin Section: 1.06 …Versus the Aztec Mummy