The next two episodes in the main-line chapter–9/17/15 and 10/1/15–actually don’t have a Scout-centered version because they were primarily action scenes without a lot of extra subtext to add. You can go back to refresh your memory if you’d like, but basically Scout escapes Ruland, Rabenholz and Anstis agree to help him, and in the process of which the Abomination is discovered and Flagg shows up to be an asshole all over the place. Eventually there’s the Mad Max-ish car chase through the woods which ends with a giant octopus crashing a big-rig into the trees. As you do.
This scene rejoins the timeline and parallels 10/8/15 as Scout and Rabenholz wake up in the Eureka hospital morgue and have to go back to the police department to cover their tracks.
This one is somewhat lighter in tone but be aware that moments of it still deal with themes of abuse.
EUREKA GENERAL HOSPITAL
Scout wakes up in the dark. The air is cold and close, stinking of chemicals. She tries to sit up but her head whacks against metal, and when she moves to reach up her arms are pinned to her sides by thick, clammy plastic.
Fear pumps through her–instincts of her beast mimicking the spread of adrenaline–but she forces it back. Training kicks in and she begins the forced breathing of meditation; a ritual endemic to the Black Hand and taught to her not long after her embrace. It was supposed to stoke the will and increase focus, but she had never found it any more successful than regular mortal meditation she had tried while she was alive. Still, even without the rush of oxygen to soothe her, the rhythmic muscle movements slowly calm her.
Events of the night before flash through her mind. The compound, the cultists, Uncle Ruland somehow in control of that thing. She shudders at the memory of rotting stench and milky stare, then shudders again remembering the other creature discovered that night, the one the others called Jeremiah Flagg. He had seen through her obfuscate, was barely phased by her illusion of a werewolf growling right behind him–ironic choice, that–but most disturbingly, not even a strike from a knife blooded with her strongest poison had injured him, or even slowed him.
She squirms again, feeling the plastic squelch against intimate areas. She has to get her clothes, but more importantly, she has to get her phone and her knife. Cantor would be… displeased…if she didn’t check in soon, but he would be even worse if she lost the knife. It had been his gift to her the night of her first graduation, when he promoted her from human to ghoul. He’d drawn the blade through his own flesh, drawing vitae forth, and watched rapturously as she’d licked it off–
Nausea rises. She whacks her head against the metal to banish the memory, but the sick feeling gets worse, condensing in her gut. She realizes what it is moments before the heaves start: her body forcing the formaldehyde out through her digestive tract. She thrashes again, no longer caring who hears.
God fucking damn it, I don’t want to get this shit in my hair….
Movement jars her as the morgue drawer is suddenly jerked open and someone unzips the bag. She catches a brief glimpse of Rabenholz’s bemused face and naked body before she leans over and vomits the toxins onto the floor.
“Difficult morning?” Rabenholz asks coolly.
She glares. “Evening, though, isn’t it?” Her hands flutter instinctively to cover herself, though everything about Rabenholz is about as sexual as a lamppost.
Proving her point, Rabenholz starts pacing the room with the air of someone who doesn’t also have his own leathery bits on display. “I believe you are blessed with the gift of obfuscate, are you not? Our possessions are in the town’s police station. Perhaps you could cloak us as we go there.”
She slides out of the drawer and tosses the empty body bag on a nearby pile. “I can only cloak myself.”
“Hmm. Then perhaps you wouldn’t mind rummaging about in the hospital for some clothi–”
Rabenholz freezes as the door to the morgue opens. A morgue attendant dressed in scrubs walks in holding a clipboard. He stops as he sees them. “What the…? What the hell is going on he–”
Rabenholz reacts first, striding forward and leaning toward the man. “Your clothes, give them to me,” he says, the unmistakable timbre of Dominate echoing underneath his words.
Scout scowls. Time and again she had followed Cantor as he used the strength of his command to achieve his goals, bending thralls to his will and casting obstacled aside. Even when his Domainte wasn’t directed at her, it was disgusting to watch his easy familiarity with its action.
But, at the same time, it had frequently come in useful….
The man stares at Rabenholz a long moment, jaw working slowly. Scout watches idly, waiting for the fog to set in and the man to begin stripping mindlessly–
–Till he shakes it off. “Wha…? No, these are…mine….”
Scout stares. No human had ever resisted Cantor’s commands before, or at least none she had seen. She glances at Rabenholz. For once, confusion also furrows his face.
Before the attendant can raise the alarm, other elements of her training kick in. Shoving away her distaste, she stands tall, tosses her hair loosely over one shoulder, and slinks toward him, emphasizing every muscle contraction in her bare hips.
The man gapes as she leans down close. “Could we just have some clothes, please?” she whispers.
Without breaking eye contact, the man gropes for a nearby cabinet, pulling some spare scrubs out of a drawer. She rewards him with a smile, smiling wider as he blushes nervously and looks away.
The smell of pheromones and warm flesh wash over her, reminding her of other needs. She glances around. The windows of the morgue look out on a hallway, dimly lit and clearly deserted at this hour. Rabenholz is digging through the drawer of scrubs. A possessive snarl rises in her chest–partly the predator in her unwilling to share, and partly the human in her knowing that one human couldn’t survive being fed on by the both of them.
But then, knowing Ventrue peculiarities, Rabenholz might not even be able to partake anyway….
Eventually, hunger overrides her caution. She beckons the attendant close and bites carefully, drawing slowly to monitor the flow. He moans and shudders unmistakably, but she forces herself to ignore it, as well as the distressingly pleased way the demon within her writhes in response. She stops just before the danger zone, easing the man down into a nearby chair.
Rabenholz, already dressed, steps over and tilts the mans eyes to meet his own. “You clearly have overworked yourself. You will remember nothing unusual about this evening.” The man nods blearily, already sliding into an anemic stupor.
Oh look, so you can do something besides get thrown out of a moving truck. Scout keeps her face placid, though, as Rabenholz turns and nods to her. She finishes dressing and follows him out the door.
EUREKA POLICE DEPARTMENT
Scout tries not to fuss with her scrubs as she follows Rabenholz through the police station. Their bagginess feels strangely restrictive, like at any moment the pants could fall off and tangle around her feet. She itches to get back into her own clothes, fitted tight enough to keep up with her when she needs it.
Rabenholz gradually Dominates their way closer to the evidence locker, but she’s too distracted by passing station TVs to comment on his sudden success. All channels are reporting on an attack in Sacramento orchestrated by a domestic terrorist group from the mountains. Talking heads shout about weapons and explosives, but none seem to mention a ghastly, slavering monster striding through the carnage.
She muses on the Abomination creature as she follows Rabenholz and the sergeant down to the basement and the property desk. More importantly, she considers Cantor’s reaction to her report. Texts could only tell so much, but Cantor had seem strangely unconcerned to learn of the monster’s existence–
“What’s going on here?” the property clerk suddenly protests. “I haven’t seen anything.”
She glances at Rabenholz. The Ventrue stills, then mimics an exasperated sigh. “We came all the way from the hospital for nothing, they assured me this would not be a problem!”
The man puts down his pen and leans across his counter. “Look,” he says seriously, “I need form 51-A, a chain of custody box, and two officers to escort the goods around. Feds are showing up tomorrow to repossess all this crap, and if I let this stuff walk out the door without any of those things, it’s my ass.”
Rabenholz tenses, glancing down the hall. Almost half a dozen cops are lingering in the area. He looks to her. Scout shrugs at him. Bureaucracy is supposed to be his clan’s thing.
Rabenholz purses his lips and turns away. “Do you have a quiet room where we might make a phonecall?” he asks the clerk.
The man gestures vaguely. “Yeah, go ask the sergeant upstairs, she can let you into one of the witness rooms.”
Rabenholz leads Scout back to the stairwell, pulling her aside the moment they’re out of view. “I can take care of acquiring the necessary officers, perhaps you can sneak behind his desk and make sure the paperwork is in order?”
She stares, for a moment disbelieving what he’s asking her. Thirty years of working with Cantor–as human, ghoul, and vampire–and not once have her duties ever extended to managing paperwork. They’ve never had to. “…Can’t you order him to obey?” she hisses.
“He seems to be unusually resistant. Perhaps this is a well-disciplined force.”
Scout lapses to silence and leans around the corner to look at the evidence desk. The window is too small for her to climb through while the clerk’s sitting in front of it, and even if she got the paperwork, what would she do? If Rabenholz can’t order the man to give them their things, he certainly couldn’t convince him to accept a half-assed form–
“Ms. Scout, I apologize,” Rabenholz says smoothly. “Perhaps I’m being presumptuous. Are you literate?”
She whips back around. Rabenholz’s face is a perfectly-composed mask of concern, but smugness radiates underneath like the sun. For a moment, her hand twitches to grab her knife and extinguish that light, but then she remembers that retrieving it is the entire reason they’re down here in the first place.
Without a word, she slides from sight and steps out into the hall.
Under cover of invisibility, Scout easily sidesteps the cops moving through the hallways and peers into the evidence office beyond the desk. A rack of forms is bolted to the wall behind the clerk. Unsurprisingly, the small door leading directly into the office is locked with a keypad. There’s another door behind him, next to the papers, but it likely leads into the evidence locker itself and isn’t another way in.
Scout steps back, watching the clerk working at his paperwork. Her hand twitches to her missing knife again, but she stops herself. Brute force–via Dominate or violence–was Cantor’s way, a knee-jerk reaction trained into her for decades. But now that she had slowly pried herself out from under his complete mental grip, it didn’t have to be the only way.
She forces herself to relax, trying to think of subtle solutions Ramabai would have used, racking her mind to adapt them from rural India to upstate California. She glances at the cops in the hall, thinking….
…Then extends her focus to conjure a male voice emanating vaguely from the stairwell: “Hey guys!” it booms down the hall, “Someone at the fire department sent over some leftover BBQ! Come on up!”
The cops in the hall jump like a starter’s pistol has just gone off. Scout hovers near the office door as they rush toward the stairs, waiting for the clerk to join them. The clerk looks up, hovers slightly off his chair…then glares and leans across the counter. “Hey! Shitheads! I can’t leave the desk, get me something!” Muttering, he sits down at his paperwork again.
Scout sighs, drumming her fingers on the counter. She’s still staring at the clerk when Rabenholz suddenly approaches, two cops following mutely behind.
The property clerk at the desk looks up as they stop next to the unseen Scout. “Hey, where’s the BBQ?” he asks.
“Upstairs,” Rabenholz says smoothly. “Apparently it’s quite the delicious item.” Rabenholz’s face doesn’t even twitch as he rolls with the lie. Scout nods to herself, impressed.
The clerk finishes his form, shoves it into an out-box next to him, and grabs another. “Figures. Those assholes better save me some.”
“Oh…I wouldn’t count on it, it was going rather quickly.”
“I can’t leave the desk while I’m on shift,” the clerk mutters.
Rabenholz gestures at his pet cops. “Perhaps you have a procedure where one of your colleagues here can fill in momentarily? Or perhaps you can shut down the room entirely?”
The clerk looks up. “Yeah…yeah that’s a good idea.” Relief spreads across his face as he grabs a set of keys and slides a grate across the desk window, locking it. Scout moves to the door and readies herself. The office door hoists open wide enough to let him though, Scout moves to slip through after he’s exited–
–But the door slams quickly closed behind him. She’s left staring at painted aluminum as the clerk slaps the shoulder of one of Rabenholz’s cops and disappears down the hall.
Rabenholz stands quietly a moment, then peers through the window expectantly. Scout shifts nervously and eyes the cops behind him. Though they don’t have the dead-eyed look of Cantor’s thralls, they’ve been silent all this time. Perhaps Rabenholz finally got his Dominate under control enough to be useful.
Making her decision, she winks back into visibility next to him. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t fit through the doorwa–”
“HOLY SHIT!!” one of the cops shouts, staggering back, while the other one grabs for his gun. Scout freezes.
Rabenholz holds up his hands. “Easy friend! Miss Visa, it would be in your best interest not to sneak around like that–”
“Shut up!” the cop with the gun barks, levelling it at Scout. “Who the fuck are you?! Hands in the air, now!”
Her hands creep up too as her eyes dart between Rabenholz and the barrel of the gun, waiting for him to regain control.
Rabenholz taps the shoulder of the other cop. “Your colleague is getting carried away,” Rabenholz says smoothly. “You should restrain him, before he makes a career-limiting move.”
The familiar timbre rolls through the hallway and the second officer relaxes. “Mike, Mike it’s alright, it’s just a misunderstanding….”
“Bullshit!” Officer Mike barks, jerking his gun. “Where the fuck did you come from?!”
She glances at Rabenholz, waiting for him to take this one too, but he just stands there, hands raised uselessly. Some Ventrue you are, she thinks as she falls back on the oldest defense she knows.
She starts to cry.
The cops shift nervously. Mike lowers his gun. Scout buries her face in her hands to hide her lack of tears as Rabenholz finally addresses him, “It’s obvious she just walked in at the wrong time. It’s just a girl.”
Mike stares, then nods. “Right…right…sorry.” He puts his gun away. “It’s just, you know…we’ve been hearing stories.”
“Perfectly understandable, I’m sure she won’t say anything. Miss, this was just a misunderstanding, right?”
Scout nods slowly, trying to mimic sniffing despite not having snot.
“Miss Visa,” Rabenholz continues imperiously, “Don’t you have something you need to be doing?”
With one last snort, she moves to the stairwell–glaring at the Ventrue as she passes–then obfuscates again and comes back, lurking near the office door once again.
The clerk returns moments later, storming past her to jab at the keypad.
“They didn’t save you any BBQ, did they?” Rabenholz says smoothly.
The clerk jerks the door open. “There wasn’t anything! Just some bullshit prank from the firefighters!” It’s only a moment before he steps through himself, but it’s long enough for Scout to sneak by, into the office. She heads straight for the rack of paperwork as the man settles himself on his stool again, muttering.
She rifles quickly through the papers. Everything is neatly organized in a sad, faded rainbow, but none of the forms say 51-A at the top. She moves around the office, digging through other shelves, and even peers over the clerk’s shoulder to see what he’s working on, but there’s no 51-A’s anywhere. Finally she gives up and examines the door leading back to the hallway. It doesn’t seem to be locked from this side, but her obfuscate skills probably aren’t enough to cover opening and closing doors in front of people.
Great, so I’m trapped, and I still have no paperwork.
On the other side of the counter, Rabenholz suddenly clears his throat. “I’m sorry, but our colleague was insistent that he did file form 51-A….”
The clerk groans. “I haven’t gotten any 51-A’s today, or yesterday. But maybe it was misfiled, hold on….”
The man climbs off his stool and moves to unlock the other door, the one leading into the evidence locker. He props it open and digs through a filing cabinet set up just on the other side. Scout hovers over his shoulder, watching as he pulls out a folder labelled “51-A” and starts flipping through it, but every paper in the file is already filled out.
The clerk finishes and shoves the drawer closed with a clatter. “Sorry, I don’t have anything for any requisitions for that gear.” He goes back to his desk. Scout hovers uncertainly, then turns into the evidence room. Translucent tupperware bins line the shelves, each with a hand-written label taped to the front. The clerk’s conversation with Rabenholz fades into the background as she strides into the room, rapidly scanning each tag for yesterday’s date.
She finally finds their bins after almost ten minutes of searching, but only relaxes when she peers through the plastic to see her knife and phone in a bag sitting on top of her filthy clothes. The anxiety returns, though, as she considers how to get them out. Lifting the bins off the shelf would undoubtedly make it disappear, which would be picked up by the cameras overhead. She glances down the row. The door to the clerk’s office is still open, him clearly in line of sight. Any moment he could turn around to see bins being moved and flickering in and out of existence. She frowns and scans the room for inspiration–
Then jumps as the fire alarm suddenly shrieks through the building.
“Goddammit, what now….” the clerk mutters. He peers up and down the hallway, then, cursing again, pulls the window-grate closed, locks it, and lets himself out of the office.
One obstacle down. Scout turns to stare at the cameras. Perhaps if she could convince Rabenholz to track down their control room and Dominate the officer manning them….
As if summoned, Rabenholz suddenly appears at the clerk’s window. “Scout?” he shouts into the evidence room.
She hesitates, trying to figure out how to communicate with him without dropping the Obfuscate….
“Scout, if you’re there, I believe I can convince the captain to help us,” Rabenholz continues. “However, the fire alarm has been set and as he is distracted, so he likely won’t get back to us any time soon. I think at this point we may as well break out our items and set fire to the building.”
She hesitates. There’s none of Ramabai’s subtlety to the idea, nor Black Hand efficiency. In fact it’s the sort of inefficiently-direct solution her brother would probably have suggested, but at this point….
Scout snaps back into visibility. “Yeah, alright,” she shouts back, grabbing the bins to drag them to the front counter.
Outside the building, not long later, she stands next to Rabenholz in the light of the flames, idly fingering her knife behind her back. A thin sheen of poison still glistens along the blade from when she applied it the night before. There’s only enough for a few strikes, but its presence is comforting all the same.
They watch the arguments breaking out between the two emergency departments over the so-called promised BBQ, a few irritated shoves turning into outright fist-fights. Scout winces guiltily.
“It’s a pity, really,” Rabenholz says suddenly. “If only someone had found the paperwork.”
Scout glares at him. The frustration from the evening rises into anger, boiling caution away. “I’m used to working with those who have slightly better prowess in their mental-control abilities,” she snaps, stopping just short of describing how Cantor could have had everyone in the building eat the muzzle of their gun the moment he walked in.
Rabenholz glares back, the red and white lights of the emergency vehicles flashing angrily in his eyes. “Shut up,” he snaps. Hearing his tone, fear spikes instinctively through her. She tenses, helpless, waiting for the inevitable loss of control….
Nothing happens. She blinks, slowing closing her mouth of her own free will. Rabenholz smirks and turns back toward the fire, missing as her stare turns thoughtful. For thirty years the feel of Cantor’s compulsions had been as familiar to her as a dirty conscience. This is something different. There’s no struggle to resist Rabenholz’s command, just a mild sensation as the wave of power washes over her, power easily brushed aside. It takes her a moment to realize why:
His blood…his generation…. It isn’t as potent as mine….
She continues to stare at Rabenholz as the fire rages before them.
END OF ADDENDUM