The Good Guys

Chapter 5
Through the Portal

June 11-13, Day 1

Liam and Zeek tell Yash the rats are missing. They all go to sleep to recover after a long day, and Yash has nightmares. They fade, and he finds himself talking to a woman calling herself Sheela na gig who seems to know about the threats the world faces. Yash wakes up and researches Sheela na gig, discovering that’s the name given to an Irish fertility goddess. He continues to research Irish folklore.

Zeek and Liam go into the sewers underneath the hospital. (Or, more accurately, Zeek goes into the sewers. Liam stays behind to make sure the grate isn’t closed.) Zeek searches two miles out from the hospital and doesn’t find any signs of the rats, As he returns to Liam, he hears the hacker yelling that there’s something else down there with him. Zeek jogs back. As he reaches the ladder, a giant alligator snaps at his heels. Liam closes the grate and Zeek shoots through the grate at the animal. It dodges two bullets, but the third hits its back. It snarls and slithers back into the water. They leave and return to Yash.

On their way back, Elijah Emerson crawls out of the trunk and into the back seat, fully healed. He demands to know what happened to his finger. They bring him to Yash, who has been using the finger as a biological sample. Yash convinces the irate mercenary to wait for him to finish testing (another 24 hours). Liam secretly calls Kaitlyn and negotiates a rendezvous to arrest Emerson Monday morning.

Yash has a beer. Liam is concerned about his mental stability. Zeek isn’t.

The next night, Yash dreams of Sheela na gig again. She asks if he remembers her, and when they first met. He doesn’t. He wakes up at three in the morning and starts doing more research, but stops when he notices someone in his bedroom. Jerry pulls up a seat and talks to Yash.

Jerry freely admits to being a demon and promises to answer every question truthfully. He says that Sheela na gig caused the portal at the Penn Gala, but the ritual didn’t go quite right. Whatever they were trying to summon, something else came through. And now, because of Yash’s experiments with Evil (what Jerry calls the “Hell Atom”), the world is doomed. The only possible solution lies beyond the portal, in the world Jerry came from. He claims that if Yash and his associates were to go through the portal and bring back concentrated Good, it might counteract the damage done to the world. Yash accepts.

Liam and Zeek accept the offer as well once Yash calls them. Until they arrive, Yash talks to Jerry, collecting as much knowledge about the world they will be visiting as possible. Jerry mentions that once they go through, they will be changed. He takes the three of them to Wharton Hall again where a new portal is open. They step through and find themselves in a very dark, very cold cave. Liam turns on a flashlight and notices two things: a foreign script of flaming symbols hanging in the air in front of him, with one cluster of symbols constantly shifting, and the three of them looking very different, yet the same, simultaneously…

Chapter 4
The Walking Dead

June 10-11

Hannah calls Yash again, more insistent. He gets the idea that something might not be right, and stops working on emails to investigate Reggie’s office, as he meant to before.

Meanwhile, Liam hears from his friend, Admiral Kaitlyn Jones. She offers him an out in his legal troubles: bring in the men responsible for the rest stop shooting. Liam recruits Zeek to help and runs the idea past Yash. After some commiseration, they realize Hannah called from the phone Liam had wiped remotely… meaning Hannah was with Riggs and Murtaugh.

Yash stays behind and continues investigating Reggie’s office. On his open window, Yash finds traces of Reggie’s biological material and the Hell Atom. He takes it to the lab and examines the sample, seeing that the Hell Atom has consumed the Reggie matter. Yash injects 10 uL of the pure Hell Atom sample into a test rat. Liam and Zeek drive to Connecticut and find Hannah’s place. Liam waits in the car while Zeek sneaks up to the house. The young man manages to get to the back window unseen before peeking in, seeing the three conspirators inside. He ducks down and Murtaugh slides open the window to chat with him. The older man tells Zeek at gunpoint to get inside. Zeek shoots his hands off. The kid pushes the screaming Murtaugh through the window and slides in, barely getting in the house before Riggs takes a shot at him.

Liam spots Riggs coming up behind him, then the murderer is at his window. He’s shaking, and his eyes are red and bloodshot. Liam fires through his own window. He misses, but the sound alerts Zeek, who comes out of the house and puts two bullets through Riggs’s face, ripping it off. Riggs doesn’t seem to notice. He raises his gun at Zeek and continually fires, but the gun is jammed. Liam runs the dead man over. Zeek takes the gun away and stuffs him in the truck, dubbing him a lizard-man.

Yash meets with Harry Stanton unexpectedly. Harry lets Yash know that he’s read the article in Nature, and that he knows the treatment shouldn’t be possible. Everyone who goes to the Penn Gala has a similar experience. Harry founded Polaris Investments specifically to track these individuals and their projects. However, he was unaware Polaris already had Operon in its portfolio. While he went to clean house, he offered Yash a favor in the future.

Liam drives Zeek, Hannah, the bleeding Murtaugh, and the undead Riggs down to Kaitlyn’s house in New York. On the way, Murtaugh explains that Riggs is really Elijah Emerson, and he’s really Jefferson Fox. They were trying to scam Yash with a ransom. It didn’t work. Kaitlyn sends Jefferson to a hospital after Liam explains everything, then they agree to deliver biological samples to Yash.

Yash checks on his rat, only to discover it’s changed into a quivering mass of flesh (and infected the rats next to it as well). He finds a lab technician, Sarah, who babbled at him for a few minutes before slicing his chest open with a scalpel. Running through the hospital, Yash tried to get help and escape from the crazed woman. She kills a nurse before disappearing. Yash gets assistance from a man outside the hospital, then goes home to heal up. While there, Liam comes back and tells him everything that’s happened. Yash breaks down as he takes samples from Elijah and Kaitlyn, then sends Liam and Zeek to collect the rats. They get to the hospital and see all the cages open, sans rats.

Chapter 3

June 7 – June 10

Yash and Liam help Reggie out of his coffin and drive him home. Yash grills the ressurected lawyer as to what had happened to him. Reggie confirms Hannah’s story; she had gone to him to get someting off her chest, delaying his work. He came in early the next day to catch up and “fell asleep”, only to wake up three days later.

Leaving Reggie to nap, Yash and Liam go back to Operon to investigate his office. Reggie didn’t remember leaving a window open…

Waiting for them when they arrive, however, is a cop. He interviews Yash first, then Liam, trying to figure out why they were both at the rest stop shooting the previous night. Suspicious of the both of them, the cop charges Liam with Willful Destruction of Property and Obstruction of Justice, and Yash with Conspiracy to Commit Murder. The cop records his entire conversation for posterity.

Taken to holding cells, Yash calls Reggie. While waiting for him, the two men met Zeek, a young thief who had been at the Penn Gala. Liam befriends the kid after Yash leaves him in the holding cell alone.

Yash catches up on work and missed connection in the aftermath of his paper being published in Nature, and Liam learns a bit more about Zeek. After Reggie bails Liam out, Liam puts up Zeek’s bail as well. Hannah calls Yash, asking him to come to her. He refuses, because he has too much work to do.

Chapter 2
Escape to Connecticut

June 4 – June 7

Hannah tells Yash that she heard a sound from Reggie’s office, went in to check, and found him dead, but still warm. He had come in early because he needed to leave early for an appointment and had lots of work to get done. Yash immediately tells Hannah to call the police and goes to the fourth floor to see Reggie for himself. He goes down to the security guard, Al, and asks to see the security footage of the last half hour. Al shows him the footage, sped up, of the fourth floor’s activities. In the video, Hannah comes out of her office, knocks on Reggie’s door, opens it, screams, and goes back to her office.

While waiting for the authorities, Yash uses his administrator access to view Reggie’s recent files remotely. The lawyer was looking at recent lawsuits against Operon, specifically a large number of cases brought up by the Catholic Church of America, a small offshoot of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that operates somewhat like a religiously fueled hate group. The police arrive, Officers Riggs and Murtaugh, and question Yash. They go into Reggie’s office and close the door before emerging three hours later, ruling it a suicide. They leave, and paramedics show up a few minutes later to take Reggie’s body to the morgue. Yash notices the paramedics look suspiciously like the police officers, so he follows them downstairs and takes a picture of the ambulance’s license plate.

Later, Yash calls Liam and tells him what’s happened. He asks the hacker to find information on the officers and license plate both. Liam can find no information on any officers named Riggs or Murtaugh, and there are no ambulances with that license number. The plate belongs to a 1998 Honda Civic. Liam, of his own accord, remotely hacks into Hannah’s personal and work cell phones, tracking her location. Yash believes Hannah is lying about something, as her comments don’t match up with the video, and Liam promises to keep an eye on her. They agree to talk to her together on Monday.

The next morning, Yash receives an image of the compound from the Penn Gala. It looks like a pentagram, and each atom has 333 protons, 333 neutrons, and no electrons, giving it a molecular weight of 666 Daltons and an enormous capacity for molecular bonding. Coupled with everything else he’s seen over the past week, he can’t believe these results. He visits the lab and redoes the tests himself. They come out the same. He shares his findings with Zhukov and arranges for a meeting of the board to determine next steps after Reggie’s death.

Come Monday, Hannah is absent from the board meeting. As she is the Chief Financial Officer of the company, the board cannot vote without her. Yash tries to contact her, but she doesn’t respond. Investors from Polaris notice the loss of Reggie and the absence of Hannah, telling Yash to “get his house in order”. Liam checks his tracking program and sees Hannah just north of New Haven. He and Yash hop in the car and chase after her.

After a few hours on the road, Liam spots a green ‘98 Honda Civic with no plate, and Yash confirms that Riggs and Murtaugh are in the front seat, with Hannah in the back. She doesn’t appear to be bound. The men bicker over what to do, trying to tail the Civic without being spotted, when the sedan shifts to the right lane in time for a rest stop. Liam follows, parking the car near a pumping station while the Civic parks closer to the rest stop. Riggs and Murtaugh get out and go inside, leaving Hannah by herself in the car. Yash calls the police, reporting their location and the fact that there is a car missing a license plate. The highway patrol car drives into the parking lot a few minutes later, checking each car for plates. By the time the trooper gets to the Civic, he taps on the glass, motioning for Hannah to get out of the car. Riggs and Murtaugh come out of the rest stop and blow the trooper away.

Yash and Liam duck down in their car. Yash dials 911 again and reports shots fired at the rest stop, while Liam takes his pistol out of his glovebox and loads it. While the two men run toward the Civic, Liam shoots out the front left tire, causing it to pop and rip off the Civic as they pull away. Hannah opens the back door and rolls out, and the Civic keeps driving. Yash runs toward her to help her up, but Hannah draws a large pistol on him, asking what he’s doing here. She relents instantly, recognizing her friend, and joins them in the car. The three of them play dumb after the rest of the police arrive, saying they only saw two men kill a cop and drive away, no more.

Under intense questioning, Hannah reveals that the men are (or were) working for her as protection. She spilled secrets she shouldn’t have at the Penn Gala, and she got paranoid. After Reggie died, she called them instead of the police to clean it up and help her escape. She believes a demon killed Reggie, which only strengthens Yash’s conviction that something supernatural was behind the Penn Gala. Liam remotely wipes her phone, which she left in the car, using a highway McDonald’s WiFi.

Yash and Liam drop Hannah off at her parents’ house, keeping her gun, before driving back to Philadelphia to attend Reggie’s funeral. After a long service and a short mass, the pallbearers tried to close his casket. Reggie sat up before they could, exclaiming that he wasn’t dead yet.

Chapter 1
The Penn Gala

May 28 – June 4

Liam, Yash, and Hannah Winters go to the Penn Gala, a super-secretive party for the wealthy elite. Liam feels out of place, but Yash and Hannah quickly start shmoozing. Hannah finds a beautiful black man who worked on Wall Street. Yash meets a jovial man named Harry Stanton who is willing to provide investment in Operon Technologies. After their meeting, Liam quickly confronts Yash about Harry’s connections to the Cortez Cartel.

Yash gives Liam his business card and tells the young man to call him the next morning. Liam goes up to a balcony to watch the rest of the party unfold. After a few hours, the whole thing evolves into a drugged orgy. Liam spots the black man walking amongst the partiers, touching each of them in turn. Everyone he touches becomes more violently lustful until he returns to his corner on the opposite balcony. The air becomes tinged red, and Liam hides in the bathroom.

At the stroke of midnight, the haze that had fallen over Yash and the rest is lifted. The glass domed roof of the hall is gone, and rain is pouring in. Yash snaps back to reality, and the partners he was with push him away, not recognizing him. He finds Hannah before leaving, but the black man who had been with Hannah is gone. When they leave, it isn’t raining outside.

The next morning, Liam and Yash connect. Yash feels terrible, and none of his hangover cures seem to work. He and Liam hash out a few theories about just what happened that night. Liam seems to think it was the work of some prankster within the Penn Gala, while Yash is convinced there are deeper ties to Christian mythology. He remembers Mammon and the incubi/succubi, and spins out a story about the black man being a Mammon figure of some sort.

Narrowing the options, Yash tests biological samples from his stool and Hannah’s, as well as endoscopy results from Liam. They all show signs of an unknown compound, giving credence to the idea it was a shared hallucination. Furthermore, the glass dome is still firmly attached to the roof when Liam and Yash stop by Wharton Hall later.

Yash tells his friends about the experience, and asks Reggie Sanderson to look into any pending lawsuits from religious groups. Operon’s monkey compound is being picketed by religious protesters, and Yash wants to make sure they aren’t connected. Yash also delivers a list of all known Penn Gala attendees to Liam to see if something like this has happened before.

Liam immediately hacks into Harry’s private server. He roots around for information regarding the Gala for a second before turning his attention to CC. It appears she had a protection detail assigned to her… even after her father was imprisoned.

Yash meets with Harry to discuss business arrangements. In light of recent events, Operon can only offer Harry a three-quarter percent stake, at most one percent (instead of the promised three percent). Harry, enraged, threatens Yash to fulfill their previous arrangement. Yash skillfully bores Harry away from the prospect, implying that the older man would need to fully understand the nature of what the company was doing in order to invest.

While Liam attempts to reconnect with his estranged father-in-law, Yash begins looking over the records of the rhesus monkey holding facility. Hannah calls him. Reggie is dead.


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