Welcome To The Freakshow

Theme: Pretender - Foo Fighters

Eventide, Oregon. Even among the crazy weirdness of Nexuses, Eventide stands out for two paticular reasons. For starters, the government actually banned the Foundation from stepping foot in the city. The second, more unusual yet interesting reason, was that a 100 years ago. Eventide, was a normal city, where the sun shone every other day. Then something happened, and whatever it was, blocked of the sky forever.

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

"Hey Lieutenant. Might wanna get your shit ready, we're reaching in five."

William Stoker glanced at the pale, paper-skinned man in the driver seat, before looking back at the worn floor of the van. Nausea was his worst enemy in unfamiliar environments, and the hellish downpour outside did him no favors in abating it. His only solace was the constant flickering of the tiny flame from his finger, which gave him the slightest bit of warmth in the chilly van interior.

Snapping his fingers, he unzipped his duffel bag and pulled out the dog-eared dossier he'd been handed as they booted him out of his old Site. He rifled through it, scanning each page for a second before flipping to the next chunk of words. He'd grown up in Louisiana, where the sun shone a plenty, and wondered how bad would it be living without. Looking out of the van's grime caked windows, he realised that the people around him either looked like a modern-day emo Dracula, or horrible knock-off doubles of Voldemort. The city's atmosphere was equally as depressing: slate grey buildings and shops with faded paint lined the streets. The only oddity amidst them all, were the ridiculous amount of fungi growing all over them: dark green moss, slithering creepers, and shrooms of exotic colours blanketed the walls, providing a slight if not repulsive aesthetic to the city.

The tires squealed as the van rolled into the brightly-lit and mercifully dry basement parking. Zipping up his bag, he slung it around his shoulder and stepped out of the van, only to be greeted by another vampire lookalike. She glared up at him disappointingly, letting out a soft tsk before looking at the wooden clipboard in her arm.

"Lieutenant …Stroker?" she asked suspiciously. "What the fuck kind of name is that?"

"Stoker, ma'am. Like Bram Stoker. Warlock and vampire hunter extraordinaire." Stoker gave a mock salute, grinning cheekily.

The woman however, did not share Stoker's cheeriness, or his cheek. "Uhuh. Please don't tell me your definition of vampire is Count Dracula." Her eyes narrowed menacingly, and for a moment her mouth seemed to bulge.

"Nah, not just Dracula. You got Count Chocula, and that purple guy from Sesame Street.." He laughed at his own joke, before realising something was amiss; she was staring at him intently, and thirstily. "You guys don't have a vampire problem, do you?" He shifted his duffle bag, holding the strap as he sweat beads began to form on his forehead.

Without warning, the lady opened her mouth, and instead of words, a millipede-like tongue covered in spores and suckers lashed out at the space next to Stoker's head. It was gone in a flash, yet Stoker fell back on his ass, scrambling backwards.

"Jesus-eating-soup! What the fuck- What the hell are you?" He whipped his revolver out of his thigh holster, aiming it at her.

In a second, his gun was gone, instead now dangling from her tongue. She took the revolver from it, and the millipede tongue retreated back down her throat.

"Ahem. Ahem." She coughed several times, before speaking normally. "Pointing a weapon at a member of staff is a very bad decision, especially to your captain. Next time, you lose the gun." She offered the gun back to him.

Stoker got up from the floor slowly, brushing the dust of his jacket and pants. "Thanks," he muttered, taking the gun and reholstering it.

The woman nodded back."The name's Leah Cribari, CO of Squad 5, Sigma-29. You're in Dorm 031, 15th floor. There's a meeting tomorrow at 0800 hours, so don't be late. Get some rest, it's going to be a long day tomorrow."

"Yes Ma'am," said Stoker, grimacing slightly as his butt clenched in pain. "Where's the meeting tomorrow?"

"Briefing Room 03. 5th floor." She walked off briskly, her gray hair floating behind her. Stoker stood there for a minute,trying to comprehend what had just happened, before deciding that the only thing that mattered to him at the moment was a bed.

Since 1945, the skies of Eventide were blocked out by a large translucent veil that spans the city's reaches. All attempts to penetrate the veil have failed, and further attempts have been discontinued due to the current administration of Eventide.

Stoker had forgotten the first rule of Eventide: there was no Sun.

The journey to Eventide had already worn him down mentally, and his introduction last night had reduced whatever vestige of energy he had left into ash. He didn't even bother to change out of his sweaty clothes from yesterday before crashing out on the bed.

He'd awoken to see the clock showing eight thirty in the morning. At first, he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him since there was no light coming from the window. That assumption was quickly crushed as he realised where he was. Cursing himself for forgetting such an important detail, he'd jumped into his clothes, foregoing any hygiene maintenance for himself. He'd scooted out of his room and rode the lift down. 10 frantic minutes later, he finally located his destination.

"Sorry I'm late," he huffed as he barged into the room out of wind. Inside, three people were seated around cheap wooden table, as Leah stood behind a laptop hooked up to a fuzzy projector at the front of the room.

"Lieutenant. Being tardy is not a good way to start off your first day." She looked at the clock. "And being 45 minutes late is something I do not take kindly too. After this mission, you're on cleanup duty in the labs for a week. Clear? Now take a seat, and I'll bring you up to speed."

Stoker muttered a curse under his breath before grabbing the last rickety chair at the table and lazily plopping his ass on it; Leah stared daggers at him, but chose to let it slide for now.

"Ladies, and not-so-gentle-man," she began, nodding in the direction of the fat hairy guy seated next to Stoker, who returned the nod, "this is Lieutenant William Stoker, who's now joining our happy little family. According to the man himself, he's a 'magician' and 'vampire hunter'." She held her fingers out to form a tiny cross. "Though for the latter, it's clear that he's not a particularly good one," she said, flashing a wink.

Everyone in the room started howling in laughter, except for Stoker, who simply hung his head in embarrassment. "Well done, ya' smartass!" The pot-bellied guy beside him, who was originally chewing a wad of blue leaves, spit them out in a roar of laughter, giving Stoker a loud slap on the back. The lady with the

The guy beside him spit out the wad of leaves he was chewing as he clapped his hands in amusement. "Well done, you smartass. Better pray she doesn't come into your room at night." He offered his hand, which Stoker accepted and shook. "Jacob Wexley, resident tech guy cum werewolf. Laser Eye Blondie over there," Wexley pointed at the blond woman opposite himself, who Stoker recoiled back upon noticing that her right eye was not organic, but a red light, surrounded by chrome, "is Kathryn Kramer. No relation to that movie though. And Hardcase Bitch over there is Susan Smith." he gestured at the muscle-bound black woman sitting opposite Stoker, who gulped at the sight of her imposing build.

"Wexley, call me that one more time, and I'll gouge out your eyeballs and fill 'em with silver instead," Susan growled as she adjusted her posture.

'As much as I'd like to see Wexley run around with his own eyeballs killing him, we've got bigger issues. We've located another Illuminati stash in the suburbs near Jackal's Row, and Kumar's given the go ahead to raid it. Kat, you're on drug duty. Everybody else, gear up: I expect your asses in the vehicle bay in an hour. 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. Wexley received an off-white liquid-filled injector, labelled as 'Man's Bane'. Leah slotted two injectors into her vest: "Lust' and 'Abstinence'. Susan snatched her injector from Kathryn even as she drove; the shimmering red liquid within giving off an almost violent aura.

"Stoker, catch." Kathryn tossed a blue injector at him, which he fumbled about with briefly before he examined the label. There was a long and weird official name that only chemistry geeks could pronounce without sounding like an idiot, a row of warning labels (including a skull over crossed bones) and beneath, scrawled in hasty chicken scratch writing, '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. The one you're holding is basically an amplifier for your magics. Your dosage is 2 seconds. Use 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. Jacob made quick work of the door with his shotgun. Leah meanwhile pulled the pin on a flashbang and lobbed it into the house. A bright flash of light later, the team filed into the house, splitting up. Jacob downed two targets on the stairs, their bodies crashing to the landing below. Leah and Susan meanwhile killed a target each, the bullets painting the walls behind in red.

As Jacob and Stoker moved upstairs, the three women began sweeping the lower level. Packets of multi-coloured powder lay everywhere, and a hideous odour filled their nostrils, causing them to grimace in disgust. That was until , they had to duck for cover, for a few of the bastards had taken cover along the hallway leading to the kitchen.

"Fucking great," Leah muttered angrily as she hid beneath an overturned table. "Kat, burn 'em. Su, have some fun. My treat." Susan smiled like a little kid being given every present she ever wanted for Christmas. Kathryn, meanwhile, tinkered with the wrist-held PDA she wore. Pressing a final button, she stood up, immediately unleashing a ray of UV light. The effect was immediate: the gunfire stopped as everyone began to writhe in pain, as their skin began to 'sunburn'. After roughly 10 seconds she turned it off, ducking back behind cover, her job done. It was Susan's turn, and as she jammed the injector into her neck, she could feel the rush; her eyes lit up, and she felt the urge to just punch something.

And punch she did. As their enemies were still recovering from the sunburn, she descended upon them, a merciless, furious black angel of death. She punched one so hard, his head did a full 360, the cracking of the neck audible. Another unlucky bastard had his arm ripped from his body, and along with another of his compatriots, was beaten to death with it. As Susan slid behind a storage cupboard, she could feel the effects of the drug wearing off, leaving her drained. Yet it was all so worth it, as she wiped the blood off her face.

The rest of the bastards hid in the kitchen, out of the reach of everyone. Leah was sick of the delay, pulling out her injectors. She handed the blue colour 'Abstinence" to Kathryn, and injected 'Lust' into herself.

Immediately, something feral awoke within her. Her thoughts dissolved and then coalesced into a single one: blood. She could smell the blood of three individuals in the kitchen.Their blood smelled foul, yet spotted with whiffs of exotic nature, making them somewhat irresistible. Her form, dissolved, becoming more akin to a thick smog than blood and flesh, as she 'flew'' through the hallway and into the kitchen. As she rematerialised, she sunk her foot-long nails into one of the thugs, ripping him into red ribbons, before moving onto the others. Their bullets had little effect on her as she tore a chunk out of the next thug's throat with her teeth.

The last thing the final guy experienced as he attempted to flee was that of sheer terror and despair, before Leah sunk her teeth into him. Even as she sucked him dry, Kathryn emerged from behind her, and stabbed the silver-needled injector into Leah's back. Immediately, Leah collapsed, vomiting blood, as she returned to her former self. As she wiped around her mouth, she saw the blood on her hands, and recoiled in fear, hoping that she was wrong about what had just happened.

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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