Welcome To The Freakshow

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Eventide. This Nexus was originally a normal city, only to be transformed into a land of darkness, cursed never to see the light of day. This has been the status quo for the past 100 years, and no one knows why.

- Dr. Raman Kumar, Darkness: The Nature of the Foundation in Eventide

"Lieutenant, we'll be reaching the site shortly."

William Stoker glanced at the pale-faced man in the driver seat, before looking back at the floor of the van. He'd always felt nauseous in new places, and the hellish downpour outside just made it worse.

The reassignment notice was a huge shock to him. Sure, he may have had a few scuffles here and there, but was it so bad till people wanted him gone? He'd never even heard of Eventide, but reading the dossier about it gave him a headache.

The van rolled into the brightly-lit and mercifully dry basement parking. Stoker grabbed his things and got out of the van, only to be greeted by another pale-face. This time, she was tall, and exuded an air of fuck-with-me-and-I-will-crush-you.

"Lieutenant William Stoker? Wait, Stoker? As in fucking Dracula Bram Stoker?" she asked incredulously.

"Yes ma'am. But I'm no vampire hunter. Just your friendly neighbourhood warlock." Stoker gave a mock salute.

"Well then, better stay out of my way then." She lifted the corner of her lip with her index finger, revealing two sharp-looking fangs

Stoker was stunned. "You- You're a vampire? But- we don't-"

"Hire anomalous individuals? Bitch, please. You ever heard of Daniel fucking Navarro? The Foundation is full of weirdos. You just don't know how to spot 'em."

She flipped through the dossier she held. "Well, we never had a warlock here, so you're going to be an interesting addition. As of now, you're a member of Sigma-29, callsign Night's Watch. I'm Leah Cribari, CO of Squad 5. Get your things, get familiar with the place. Briefing tomorrow at 0800 hrs in Room 3. Don't be late. Dismissed."

And with that she walked off, leaving Stoker feeling just as confused as he looked.

Eventide is constantly covered in an impenetrable translucent screen that spreads to the edges of the city limits. All efforts to dissipate the clouds have proven ineffective, and the stance of the current administration in Eventide also prevents the Foundation from enacting new measures.

He was late.

Stoker was used to the light of the sunrise helping him to wake, even on his off days. He had totally forgotten that Eventide never even got to see the light of the Sun.

He'd awakened to see his clock showing 0830 hrs. He'd skipped bathing, ripping his admin clothes directly from the plastic they had given him yesterday, and rushed out of his room, only to realise he didn't even know where to go. After asking several people, he'd finally managed to make it into the briefing room.

"Sorry I'm late," he huffed as he barged into the room. There were only 4 other people in the room, including a very unamused Leah.

"Lieutenant. I was under the impression that you weren't supposed to be late. Yet," she looked at the clock on the wall, "it's 9 now. Any reasons?"

"Sorry 'bout that. I… I didn't set my alarm properly." It was a poor excuse, but he didn't have much else.

"First impressions, Lieutenant. Let's pray that next time the warlock is punctual. Everyone, this is Lieutenant William Stoker, who's joining our squad. Introductions will have to wait, we have more pressing issues. A protection racket being run at Jackal's Row is affecting one of our fronts, so we're eliminating them. Kathryn, you're picking up the boosters this round." Stoker was momentarily taken aback as a blonde woman with a cybernetic eye turned and peered at him. "The rest of you, basement in thirty. Dismissed."

One of the unique traits of Eventide is the remarkable growth and mutation of fungi in the city's limits. Due just as much to the constant rain and darkness as to the anomalous nature of the city, these fungi have many parapharmatological uses. Much of the city's black market trade revolves around the production and distribution of these paranarcotics, providing a lucrative business.

Squad 5 held station in a cramped, unmarked van. Kathryn, (who still unnerved Stoker with her robotic eye) handed around auto-injectors. The bearded man, who Stoker had heard was called Jacob Wexley, spit out a wad of blue leaves as he received a injector labelled 'Man's Bane'. The muscular black woman in the driver seat, roughly grabbed an auto-injector filled with a glowing red liquid, as she muttered about how they were wasting time. Leah took a break from cracking her knuckles to take a yellow injector, labelled 'Flash'.

"Stoker, catch." She tossed a blue injector at him, which he fumbled briefly with before he could examine the label. It denoted the official name, along with a bunch of warning symbols, including one for death. Scrawled beneath the label in a black marker, was 'The Juice'.

"What's this supposed to be? And why the hell is there a warning for death on this?" Stoker glared at Leah, only to have her glare back even more menacingly at him.

"Boosters. That one provides a surge for your magic abilities. Your dosage is 2 seconds. More than 4 seconds, and you're dead. So use it when I tell you to. " She cocked her rifle. "Move out."

The squad leapt out of the van, moving quickly to the double-story house under the rain. As they stacked up on either side of the house, Jacob aimed his shotgun at the hinges of the door. Two bangs later, the door collapsed, and Kathryn threw a flashbang through the vacant door frame. Once the burst of light had subsided, the squad moved in. Leah and the Kathryn took down 2 targets apiece, while Jacob gunned another down on the stairs. Stoker tailed Jacob up the stairs, eliminating another as he tried to take a potshot at them.

"Kat, Sue, kitchen with me. Jake, Will, sweep the top floor. Locate the target." Leah raised her rifle as she walked towards the kitchen, only to be greeted with a barrage of gunfire. She threw herself behind a cabinet, as Kathryn and the black woman scrambled to cover. "SUE! Get angry!"

"Fucking A!" The black woman jammed the injector into her neck and the red fluid drained into her. Immediately, her eyes took on a red hue, as she swung a lamp at the hapless thug in front of her. As he fell, she quickly closed the distance, smashing her hand through the kitchen wall, and pulling out the unlucky son of a bitch hiding behind it.

Leah, for her part, used her booster. Swapping out her rifle for her sidearm, she took a deep breath before running. Time slowed down, and she could see each individual bullet in flight. She dodged them with incredible grace and entered the kitchen, dispatching the last two combatants. As time reverted to its original pace, she fell to one knee, drained. The bodies around her looked tempting, but she couldn't let the beast out. For now, at least.

Foundation intervention at first was unsuccessful, as the city's administration refused to let any groups dealing with the paranormal from entering Eventide. As such, the Foundation enacted PROTOCOL: RAIN COVER, forming it's own black ops division within Eventide. The secrecy of the Foundation is paramount above all else, and should any agent be captured, then they are immediately disavowed.

Upstairs, Wexley and Stoker were having a horrible time.

Most of the rooms were empty, except for the one at the end of the hallway, which they knew due to the incessant shouting and the spray of bullets. Taking cover in another room, they counted their options.

"Explosives?" Stoker asked hopefully, feeling his frag grenades.

"And bring the house down? Idiot. Let me show you how we do it around here." Wexley grabbed his injector, pausing briefly. "You might wanna stand back." Stoker complied, as Wexley jabbed himself, vomiting a blue-black pool of mushy slime immediately. His back began to stretch and elongate, as dark blue fur began to sprout all over his body. His clothes ripped apart and his boots popped to reveal a set of clawed legs. No longer a man, the beast charged out of cover and into the room, breaking down the door. Stoker peeked from cover, but could see nothing.

A minute later, the roaring and screaming from the room had subsided, and the beast stepped out. Leah and the rest were also upstairs, and together, everyone entered the room. In the corner whimpering, was a balding Asian man wearing nothing more than a singlet and boxer shorts.

"What do you want? You don't know who you're fucking messing with." That quip earned him a swift rebuttal in the form of Leah's boot in his gut. As he wheezed in pain, she grabbed his jaw, forcing him to look at her.

"Listen here, you piece of shit. You've been making life hard for me for a very, very long time. So now I'm here to return the favor, so you can take your threats, and shove it up your ass. The only people that you need to care about right now are in this room. So answer my goddamn questions. Who's your boss? And where's the protection money you've been hoarding?"

The man spit in her face. "You fucking scum! I ain't telling you shit. So fuck off!"

"So be it. Susan, he's all yours. Everyone else, out of the room; give her some space." Everyone left the room save the man and Susan, who closed the door with a sadistic grin.

The usage of paranarcotics in Site-51 and among personnel is allowed, much to the displeasure of the Foundation at large. However, considering the elements in the city that could pose a threat to the Foundation, the ends justify the means.

10 minutes later, Susan came out of the room, carrying a black bag and a bloody knife. The whimpering sounds coming from the room, along with the bloody knife, made Stoker question her sanity.

As he contemplated the mentality of his squad outside the house, the sound of screeching tires broke through his reverie as a large black van slammed to a halt in front of the building. It hadn't even fully stopped before doors popped open and another group of thugs piled out and opened fire at them.

"WILL!" Leah screamed as the team scattered for cover and she returned fire on the van. "DO IT NOW!

Stoker hesitated only briefly before he jammed the injector into the side of his neck. Immediately his power surged within him, and he turned to focus on his enemies. The words he'd had drummed into him welled up in a chant, and power flooded through him.

In that first second, all of the guns held by the thugs simply blew up in their faces.

In the next, the van flipped over onto its back.

"MOVE!" Leah barked, and the entire squad rushed to their van. Susan leapt into the driver's seat and floored the pedal as the engine roared to life. Moments later, they were gone, the crackling of the burning van, and the groans of the thugs the only remnants of their brief fight.

Site-51 is the Foundation's only stronghold in Eventide, publicly known as Wiley Tower, a skyscraper in the commercial district. This tower is fully self-serving, and has a vast armory as well as vehicle bay. It is also the primary staging area for all of the Foundation's activities in the city.

Stoker sat in the break room of Site-51, looking over the city. The dark clouds cast an eerie gloom over the whole city, and the torrential rain made it seem like nothing could live there, he thought as he sipped his hot chocolate.

"Mind if I join you?" Stoker turned around to see Wexley, wearing a hoodie with a steaming mug in his hands.


"Looks fucking desolate, doesn't it? Like we've come to the end times?" Wexley took a sip of his drink, only to cough and splutter. "Bloody hell that's hot."

"How did you become that… beast?" Stoker looked over at Wexley, who had stopped coughing and now looked out across the city.

"Used to be a computer tech in Michigan. Married the love of my life, who turned out to be a werewolf. One moon, she couldn't get to her meds in time and turned. I tried to help her, but she was too far gone. She… she bit me."

Wexley sighed and shook his head, taking a moment before continuing.

"The Foundation had to demolish an entire apartment block because of contamination fear. And well… They killed my Sandra. She died… alone and scared. But it was for the best. She finally got some peace, from that constant fear of never knowing when she might harm someone else."

Wexley's hands were trembling as he put down his cup. He wiped away the tears that threatened to stream down his face, leaving only red eyes in a sunken gaze.

"I joined the Foundation shortly after as a field agent. After MTF training, they sent me here."

"But why here? Of all places, why this cesspit?" Stoker took another sip from his drink, feeling the heat of the too-warm chocolate slide down his throat.

Wexley let out a bitter chuckle." You know what our unofficial nickname? The Freak Show. We're the circus act the Foundation keeps hidden away, because they're too ashamed let people know that we're part of them. Think I'm bullshitting? Leah's a vampire, Kat's got a robot eye, you're a warlock, and I'm a goddamn werewolf. Susan is the only 'normal' person in our squad, if you can look past her psychopathy."

"Motherfuckers!" Rage suddenly blossomed inside Stoker and he flung his cup to the ground. "So this is how they treat us? Like trash? God DAMN it!" He kicked the mug, sending it skittering through the spreading brown puddle of his drink.

Wexley, for his part, looked on calmly. "Holding onto that anger won't help you. You'll just get killed." He looked out, a massive flash of lightning lit up the sky. "You ever heard the story of Bergelmir? He was one of those Norse Jotunns, the weird blue ones you see in Marvel movies."

"And why should I care about some massive blue knob?"

"Hmph. Odin killed his father, and drowned the world in a sea of blood. Now, most people died in this fucking flood, but not this son of a bitch. Resourceful bastard sailed it out in a hollowed out log with the rest of his family. When they reached land, he chose to live and thrive there. His death, was one of the only peaceful deaths that the legends ever told about."

"I'm still not seeing the point, Gandalf. So get to it, or shut the fuck up."

Wexley looked at Stoker with a spark of tenacity in his eyes. "Imagine if the giant decided to fight Odin himself? He would have been smurf jam. So you see, his revenge wasn't simply brutal violence. It was choosing to live, to deny Odin the satisfaction that he had killed all the giants. We fight, so that when we win, it'll be us who did it, not the fucking Foundation." He climbed to his feet and began to walk out of the room. When he got to the door, he paused and looked back at Stoker. "Find your own reason to want to fight. If nothing else, fight to prove that you're not what they want you to be."

The reason the Foundation cannot exist in Eventide is due to the Global Occult Coalition, or rather the Bavarian Illuminati. A member of the Council of 108, the Illuminati have dominated all aspects of life in Eventide unnoticed. The profits of the paranarcotics monopoly strengthens their position, and simply put, the Foundation cannot afford to take chances with this unknown element. Rumours tell of a man cursed with immortality, with a preference for gory violence and brutality, who enforces their every whim…

"Ugh…Hurh… Please, just…let me go. I won't fail you next time." The chained bald man spat out blood, staining the concrete beneath him.

"Empty promises. That's all they are." The white-robed man paced around the prisoner, taking care not to dirty his clothing. "Another safehouse lost to this group of imbeciles. I do not tolerate failures. You should know that."

The prisoner spat out more blood, this time flecks of it landing on the bone-white garment. "I'm sorry. I won't let this happen again. Please…please just give me one last chance. I'll prove it-"

"Silence, you idiot. Look at what you've done." The man looked at the tiny dots of blood on his robes, shaking his head. He began to walk out the room, turning to his assistant, who had stood motionless for the past hour. "Prepare a new set of robes in my quarters." The assistant nodded, and left without a sound. The man turned back to the prisoner. "I don't need you to learn anything. I just need you to be an example." He turned to corner of the room."Make it…explicit."

From out of the shadowy corner, a man emerged wearing a sleeveless black robe, showing off the many tattoos and scars adorning his arm. He picked up a rusty iron blade from the metal table, flipping it gleefully. As he worked, one could see the wide grin beneath his hood, if they were not already traumatised by the screams.

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