1776: Popo, Star-Spawn of Cthulhu – Chapter 2Posted: May 30, 2017
Title: Popo, Star-Spawn of Cthulhu
Author: William Ungerstein Fmerigo
Topic: H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos
URL: Chapter 2
Critiqued by: AdmiralSakai and Guard-Novitiate Psk’nyor “Nina” C’hon
Hello hello all you patrons!
Today we return with more of Popo, Star-Spawn of Cthulhu, William Ungerstein Fmergio’s disastrous attempt to turn H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos into a high-school AU.
Last time we were introduced to Popo Spawn-of-Cthulhu-the-Cancerous-Tentacled-Blemish-on-the-Cosmos-Birther-of-Maggots-and-Vermin, a high-school girl who is somehow also the direct biological offspring of a building-sized Great Old One. She managed to starve herself to death in the middle of a populated city after her parents went on vacation and somehow transferred their mortgage into her name…
“… and was promptly somehow resurrected by Great Cthulhu to serve as His ‘champion’ in a ‘war’ with basically every other inhabitant of the Mythos (which would be fought entirely by solo human representatives because apparently the Great Old Ones suddenly care about the Prime Directive for some glubbing reason).”
This resulted in her increasing a cup size and her hair turning green. That’s literally it.
“So she went back to her human secondary school and basically continued business as glubbing usual, although she also tried to look up Great Cthulhu in the library and can’t find anything until another young female named Hanako pointed her directly to the works of H. P. Lovecraft himself (whose existence inside what me and the other Mythos types call ‘reality’ still makes my head hurt). A little later Hanako turned into some sort of cross-between-a-Deep-One-and-a-Black-Sabbath-album-cover thing and tried to strangle Popo to death in the name of Father Dagon. I for one was completely onboard with that, but then Hanako got killed by some other girl named Natasha who used the plague-based (?) powers given to her by Nyarlathotep to climb out of Hanako’s shadow and dissolve her where she stood.”
And if any of this sounds actually interesting to you, just imagine it being related in prose more appropriate for the troubleshooting manual of a cordless drill.
This one began simply too. This time, as a tale of devotion.
Natasha, was, at her heart, a lover.
Which is why she served an Outer God known for arbitrarily and capriciously abusing mortals!
She loved, she wished to be loved, and she would go to extreme lengths to do so. She wore her school uniform loosely at best, went braless most of the time, and spoke in a flirtatious manner.
Oh no. The horror.
However, her true affections were reserved for one. Her beloved senior.
To her, he was beautiful, perfect, and had a heart of gold. He looked, to her, like no other.
He does, however, seem to lack any clearly identifying features whatsoever.
She obsessed over him, followed him, looked through his garbage, stole his disposed straws and kissed them.
But, she knew this was wrong. Very wrong. So, she decided. She would tell him how she felt,
In very short. Incomplete. Sentences.
and she would no longer have to resort to such disturbing means to gain his affections.
Unfortunately, the day she made up her mind to confess her love, she came across another doing the same. And this other was accepted.
Natasha committed suicide that night, in her utter despair. And she was saved by her father, Nyarlathotep, who took her heart so that she would live again.
Hmm, unless this turns out to be a crossover with Iron Man that seems rather counter-intuitive.
“Natasha, where are we going?” Popo asked. She was being dragged along by her sleeve as Natasha ran down the street, attracting many stares from the general public.
Because apparently high schoolers fucking around and making idiots of themselves is such a rare thing here in Seattle, Kantō Prefecture (or wherever the fuck this thing is set) that people have to stop and stare.
“To someone who knows,” Natasha responded. “You must not tell her of your lineage. She knows about the war going on, despite her humanity. But she knows more than any of us.”
To be fair, that’s not hard to do.
Popo tore her arm away from Natasha’s and took a moment to catch her breath. Natasha stopped after noticing this, and turned around to face her.
Popo sighed, after she finished catching her breath. “I know nothing about this, and yet you’re trying to help me? Why? And who is Nyarlathotep? Or Cthulhu,
Popo certainly seems to be a girl of rather fickle memory, does she not? Just last chapter she was clinging to Cthulhu as her only true constant, and now she seems to know less about him than she did at the beginning of the story.
“QUIET!” Natasha shouted. “The empowered must not speak his name, for fear of summoning him. Call him the King in Yellow, if you must call him anything.”
*Nina saunters back into the control room*
“I don’t remember that being how it works.”
I mean, accidentally summoning a GOO by reading incantations out loud is definitely a thing, but now there’s this arbitrary line between ’empowered’ people and normal people that I’m not sure what to make of.
“Also, wasn’t that Hanako person just saying Hastur’s name with impunity, like, a thousand words ago?”
Also, where the hell were you? I didn’t even see you leave.
“Perks of an 80 in Sneak, and making a phone call.”
To whom? You only know about ten people with phone access, and five of them want to kill you, and eight of them are in 1975!
“Well maybe my personal life is none of your glubbing business, did you ever think of that?”
Natasha glanced around, careful to make sure nobody was in earshot. “Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu have mutual interests in winning this war. Cthulhu wants to expand his domain to the land, and Nyarlathotep requires balance on this earth to destabilize his enemies in Kadath.
“Whatever the glub that means…”
Cthulhu controlling the Earth would cause perfect balance,
… why? Balance between what? And how does that help Nyarlathotep at all?
and, as such, he wishes Cthulhu to win, and is lending his help.”
“What… what is this ‘war’, anyways?”
I thought we just went over this in Hanako’s massive exposition blob from the last chapter. The Great Old Ones and the Outer Gods are all pissed at each other for no real reason, and instead of just settling it themselves like adults they’re sending human ‘champions’ to fight it out for them at a high school for some moronic reason. It’s really not that complicated.
“You’ll find out shortly. Now, let’s continue.” Natasha held out her hand. “For our patrons, our parents, and the war.”
Popo hesitated, but grabbed Natasha’s hand.
“Oh Great Cthulhu, I hope this doesn’t mean we have to go through the entire briefing thingy again…”
Before long, they arrived at a seemingly unassuming apartment complex. It was approximately three stories tall,
“What, it could’ve been two or four and they just couldn’t glubbing tell?”
and was pretty much ordinary for a more suburban environment’s higher-density housing. Natasha, as always, displayed no reaction. Popo wondered why. She hadn’t reacted to anything but her mentions of Hast- the King in Yellow, that is.
Well, except for Hanako…
“And Popo herself…”
The pair walked up to the third floor, and more specifically, apartment 306. The door was actually different from the others. The lettering was more gothic,
Oh God, have they stumbled upon the lair of Enoby Dark’nesse Dementia Raven TATA Way?
and it lacked the peep-hole that many of the other doors had.
Natasha, seeing Popo’s confusion, explained. “There was an incident where a burglar masqueraded as a family member to enter an apartment here,” Natasha said.
“So how exactly did that… work? Typically the best time to break into a human dwelling is when there’s nobody around, which means there’d be nobody to open the door for kin.”
I’m pretty sure that, like basically everything in this story, it just works because everyone involved is really, really dumb.
“They changed all the doors to be like that, but Amelia, the person we’re going to talk to, refused to let them change it, no matter what they said.”
Which is totally a thing you can do as a tenant in an apartment building.
Natasha raised her hand up slightly, and knocked three times.
After a moment’s pause, a frantic voice said through the door, “Who is it?”
“Natasha, and a friend. She needs to know.”
The voice hesitated for a moment. “Who.”
Oh so now we get a last name.
“It’s not actually Spawn-of-Cthulhu-the-Cancerous-Tentacled-Blemish-on-the-Cosmos-Birther-of-Maggots-and-Vermin? I am disappoint.”
You may have heard of her.”
The door cracked open.
And inside was a horror show. The single-room apartment, the only one of its type in the complex,
This is shaping up to be one SPESHUL apartment.
was littered with the remains of instant ramen bowls, and the only light that was on was the screen of a single computer. The curtains were closed on every window, and the computer’s screen displayed an art program. However, the display was littered with symbols that this person had sketched. Popo was intimidated,
I guess she’s never been to a college dorm, then.
*hurridly averts her eyes*”
but Natasha seemed almost at home, though her facial expression was the same.
The girl they’d been trying to meet stood in front of them, and she reflected her surroundings quite well. She was a short girl, slumped over, wearing a blue track jersey over a messy white t-shirt, and her orange shorts were equally grease-stained.
Man, occult scholarship has really let itself go since Lovecraft’s era.
“I blame the hippies.”
Her face was tired-looking, and the circles under her eyes were almost as dark as her hair. And, for lack of a better word, she looked haunted.
“So, here to learn about the war.” Amelia sighed. “You… probably wouldn’t want to hear most of this if you knew what knowing it meant, but, as that never deters anyone… well, where do I begin?”
“Let’s start with how the glub we know her name even though nobody ever actually said it.”
“The Old Ones and the Great Ones,” Natasha said. “It’s as good a point as any.”
“Right, well…” Natasha closed her eyes, and shuddered. “There are beings in this world beyond human comprehension. The Great Ones, and the Old Ones.
Typically referred to just as the Great Old Ones, which is a lot less confusing. But we can’t have that, now can we?
“Also, is Natasha now having a conversation with herself?”
The Great Ones rule the seas, the land, and the underground. They are the gods of this earth. Beings such as Cthulhu and Dagon are among them.
“Wait, Father Dagon’s not a Great Old One! He’s our people’s spiritual leader and our best connection to the Great Old Ones, but he’s not One himself!”
Then, there are the Old Ones, also known as the Outer Gods…
“Wait, she’s calling the Outer Gods the Old Ones too?”
Because apparently the Cthulhu Mythos as it currently stands apparently isn’t confusing enough.
they are the gods of space. Some are beyond even the comprehension of the Great Ones. And, recently, there was an upset. Perhaps not recently, but…”
“Skip that,” Natasha ordered.
“Yes, Cthulhu forbid we give the reader any idea why the glub any of this is happening.”
“Ah, right. Well, to resolve this dispute, Azathoth, a being incomprehensible to even the Gods, ordered a competition. Each god who wished to participate would impregnate a human,
“Oh, it’s one of those kind of competitions!”
through magic, typically, and have them give birth to a champion. This was to prevent total chaos on Earth,
“Which, once again, is totally something the Great Old Ones would be bothered to give a flying glub about.”
as the Gods warring would cause the entire planet to revert to nothing.
That’s becoming an increasingly appealing possibility.
It is, in essence, a tournament to decide who gains control over this earth.” Amelia glanced behind her. “Unfortunately, my knowing this has caused me to be targeted by several of the Gods.”
“Amelia, may I ask… how do you know this?” Popo asked nervously.
I was just going to assume the magic of Plot.
“They whisper things to me at night. The walls, the ceiling…
Lucky her. All the walls in my apartment ever say to me is “Awesome party, brah!” and shit like that.
I never should have read that first book, but what do you know…” Amelia laughed, but there was no heart, no soul to it. “Once you know one secret, the rest come naturally. I’ll warn you now. Never read any book associated with them and their natures.
“Otherwise you’ll end up with a hundred and fifty stories on your fanfiction.net account where some Joe Schmoe narrator whines about being driven made by the indescribable foetor of the blasphemous Bhulth-Shittagoth of long-buried Y’olo.”
Did you know that I’ve seen their true forms? I knew the hopelessness of my reality. I went insane the first time, tried to kill myself, my mind broken…”
That seems to happen a lot in this story. Teenage-girl suicide, I mean. It’s making me a little uncomfortable.
“Wait, if these ‘champions’ were specifically birthed so that they could fight in this war, why do all the Gods and whatnot wait around until they die to actually tell them what’s going on or to give them any of their powers?”
“And you got better?”
Amelia shook her head. “My mind is still broken. But one of the voices told me the secret to expanding my mind.
“Now I’m a proud member of the Church of Scientology!”
That saved me, and I could function as a human again. But since then, I’ve been attuned, and I’ve seen things in my dreams that would easily kill any other sane human. I suppose I’m not really… human, not any more, but that is irrelevant. I can still warn you. Do not interfere in what is about to happen.”
“Don’t interfere with the events that are occurring partially because of you?”
Looks like somebody’s been taking notes from the Russia division at the CIA.
“That is beside the point, actually,” Natasha spoke. “Tell her about the known players as of yet.”
“Ah… I suppose I must. There is Cthulhu, a sleeping sea god. He is a Great One known for his tentacled visage. Nyarlathotep has descended, too, but I haven’t heard of a champion…
“You know, for an expert on the occult she sure doesn’t know a lot about events in the occult world…”
Looks like somebody’s been… Oh. Wait.
Yog-Sothoth is a participant, an Outer God known specifically for birthing many horrid monstrosities, and Hastur is returning from outer space to inform his champion of their situation. The Great One counterpart to Yog-Sothoth, the Black Goat, is also likely planning something.
“Wait, what? Yog-Sothoth is the Outer God version of the Black Goat? If I remember my catechism correctly, Yog-Sothoth is the Outer God assosciated with Gate spells and teleporty-stuff, and the Black Goat, who we call Shub-Niggurath-”
–Subtle naming as always, H.P.-
“– is a fertility god. I… kinda really don’t wanna know William thinks those two things are supposed to be related.”
I mean, yeah, Yog-Sothoth was responsible for the creation of Wilbur Whately who we met last chapter, but… that was kind of a one-off deal.
Currently, that’s all I’ve managed to tell from my nightmares, but likely there are more. I have no idea how bad it could be.”
Ohhh, I have a pretty good idea of how bad it could be.
“Perfect. Now, we will take our leave. Popo, I assume you understand the situation now?” Natasha asked.
Well, I sure as hell can’t!
Popo nodded after a moment’s hesitation. “Yes, I understand.”
“Um, Natasha?” Popo asked as the two walked back along the street. “Do you live in this direction?”
“No. I have no home. I ran away from it after Nyarlathotep revealed himself to me. I was hoping that, as an ally, you would have the hospitality to give me a place to say. But I do suppose it is rather odd to do something like that. I apologize.”
Wah, wah, wah, I don’t give a fuck.
“No, it’s fine if you’ve nowhere else to go… just, don’t expect any food.” Popo smiled, though the emotions behind it were those of sadness. “I couldn’t afford to feed myself, much less two people…”
“I do not need to eat. Water is sufficient. I convert any mass entering my body into part of it.”
Wow, that doesn’t make you in any way overpowered.
Natasha held out her left arm, and showed it to Popo. It was shorter than her right arm. “When I contaminated Dagon’s champion with the plague, I lost some of my body mass. I will require… perhaps a gallon of water before it is restored to normal.
I hate to continue to be That Guy, but couldn’t she just absorb some of Himiko’s mass back into herself? Her true form was as large as a room, so it’s not like there wasn’t enough to go around.
Popo opened the door of her family home. “Here you are. It’s nothing much, but hopefully it’s fine…”
The house itself was a single-floored house,
Oh. Good. And here I was worried her house was in fact a single-floored convenience store!
with a flat roof and rather nice windows.
“Yes, they’re very… uhhh… well-glazed?”
It had cost her parents probably a lot more than it was worth, and paying off the mortgage had fallen to her, since her parents were still technically alive.
Since, obviously, when two married adults are alive the responsibility for paying off mortgages falls to their minor daughter.
Or, well, mortgage was sort of a loose term. They had borrowed money from a quite shady lender to pay off the whole thing, and were paying it back in installments, similar to a mortgage. It was, admittedly, dangerous, but the word mortgage does stem from mort, a Latin word relating to death.
“Popo’s parents were not too bright.”
But, in all likelihood, they had done it to get rid of Popo. She had been unwanted in the relationship between her mother and her father. Chances were, they were living in some other prefecture, making a good living and never once thinking about Popo.
And it was hard to call the police about something like abandonment. And, if Popo could even get her parents to court, they would have a lawyer at their disposal. Popo, on the other hand, would have nothing.
Right, because young white(?) girls from a nice neighborhood have such a hard time getting the authorities to pay attention when something bad happens to them!
“Funny you should mention attention from the authorities…”
“Oh. Umm. Never mind.”
Natasha gave a short bow. “Thank you. Your hospitality is commendable.”
“Well, we’re in this together, whether we like it or not.” Popo looked away from Natasha’s eyes, and said, slightly bashfully, “and I think you might need to teach me how to fight.”
I still think you should focus on learning how to write.
“Ah.” Natasha nodded. “I see. Well, the first step you can preform even now. Try to think more logically and less emotionally. That’s how Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep think. Your powers will come to you shortly afterwards.
That’s… it? What, were there not any silver platters available for the author to hand Popo her omnipotence on?
In the meantime, however, I will defend you through your shadow. If you must attack, simply get your shadow as close to your opponent’s as possible, and I will be able to infect them with the plague.”
Popo stepped inside, and beckoned for Natasha to follow. “But, anyway,” she said as she kicked off her shoes, “what is this plague?”
“I call it Wormwood, sometimes. A disease capable of infecting anything alive and killing it in seconds. Most diseases live off their hosts, due to how evolution works, but the one I am made of is bound to no such rules. It kills and replicates as fast as any disease actually can.”
Yeah, a disease was totally what dissolved a room-sized entity in less than a second and left only a blotch on the floor!
Natasha followed Popo inside and removed her shoes neatly. “Any part of my body, in its liquid form, can spread this disease, but only if I will it. It is rather convenient, and you will likely develop something similar as time goes on.”
Because actually having to worry about collateral damage and the socially isolating effects of superpowers is for sissies!
“Oh! Speaking of which, I need to get you something for your arm!”
Natasha gulped down the bottle of water greedily.
Instead of just absorbing it… why, exactly?
She’d taken off her hoodie and hung it by the door, revealing the loose-fitting tank top she wore beneath. It didn’t really reveal much more of her body than the hoodie, though, largely because there really wasn’t anything to reveal.
“Oh, Sue Two doesn’t have a body?”
That’s the first actually Lovecraftian thing we’ve seen so far!
“Your outfit’s… um, interesting?” Popo attempted to start a conversation.
Natasha, thankfully, took the bait. “Yes, I understand…” She gulped down some more water, her arm returning to its original size as she did. “I understand it’s… revealing, but it is most comfortable for me to wear. And my hoodie keeps anything people would want unseen in public well hidden.”
“Ah, well…” Popo glanced down at Natasha’s chest. A large portion of it was revealed, particularly around the sides, but… admittedly, there wasn’t anything there that would be problematic.
“Ok, author, is it really that hard to say that she doesn’t have breasts?”
More importantly, why does the author feel compelled to spend nearly two paragraphs to explain that the Champion of Nyarlathotep doesn’t have breasts?
She breathed a sigh of relief.
“Oh, in case you’re wondering, as an Outer God, I don’t require sustenance, but the same applies to you. That might drive your living costs down a bit, if that’s a problem.” Natasha finished the bottle of water,
So Outer Gods don’t require sustenance, but apparently their Perrier budget is through the roof.
Seriously, what stops her from just absorbing dirt or whatever?
and held her arms out to compare them. Apparently, satisfied, she turned her attention back to Popo.
“Yeah, that’ll help. A lot, really…”
“Ah!” Popo blushed. “How did you guess?”
“ Simple. The author can only come up with one backstory.”
“It… nearly happened to me,” Natasha admitted. “Before I met Nyarlathotep. My parents were kicking me out.
Ok, seriously, do Child Protective Services not exist here?
“They’re probably just too busy trying to figure out if they should report to the Prefecture or the State to actually do anything.”
Back before this ordeal began, I was relatively promiscuous, and my parents had gotten word from some others that I was dating their son. The issue here being that the ‘others’ were many in number. This was not just problematic for them, but me, and my parents as well. So Nyarlathotep removed the source of the problem, my emotions. I left afterwards, of my own accord. It wasn’t in my interest to stay with people I couldn’t tell about my true father.”
Sue has her emotions removed.
Sue immediately makes a major decision for emotional reasons.
“And she shows emotions when Popo mentions the King In Yellow… and when she drinks water… and when she meets that Amanda person…”
Also, is this what the whole “she doesn’t use contractions” thing is supposed to be about? If so, that’s really really dumb.
“It was similar for me. I think it was around the time I started swimming frequently…” Popo ruffled her own hair. “The sort of greenish tint at the roots is, I think, part of that. Too much chlorine. It might be part of me learning I’m Cthulhu’s daughter, as a lot of things changed then, but I think I was just too distracted with starving at the time to notice it.”
“It could also by caused by contact with the slime of a Deep One.
“Huh. That’s a new one.”
Essentially, their version of sweat… But, unless I am mistaken, Hanako was a member of the swim team before we killed her, so that is likely it.”
“Yeah, of course. Put the Deep One hybrid on the swim team.
“…another thing, how can you say that so casually?”
Natasha shrugged. “As I have mentioned, I have no emotions.
Except for all of the times when you have emotions.
Another thing I have is experience. What you should be asking yourself is why you’re not horrified.”
I’d just chalk it up to the beige prose and the complete lack of mystery, suspense, or really any sort of stakes in this supposedly cosmos-spanning conflict.
Popo paused for a moment, and thought. “You’re… right, I’m not frightened of you at all, despite the fact you killed someone in front of me. Never mind the fact that they melted right in front of my eyes.”
“Exactly. We are, by human moral standards, evil beings by nature.
That’s… actually kind of sad.
“I just wish every villainous group in the UNITYverse was this content to spend all day sitting around and chatting about their social lives.”
However, we are not human.” Natasha touched the water bottle, and it melted into the black shadow-fluid that made up Natasha’s true form. She absorbed it into her hand, causing her hair to grow out perhaps a centimeter, and continued,
I hate to continue to be That Guy, but why couldn’t she have just done that when it was full and spare herself the trouble?
“You’d do best to remember that. Now, shall we go to bed? If you don’t have a spare futon, that’s fine. I can sleep in the floor.”
“You mean on the floor?”
“Actually, no. I frequently sleep in my liquid form. So, I mean in the floor.”
No, unless this typical suburban home has water-permeable floors she does in fact mean on the floor.
“You’re being That Guy again…”
So sue me.
Popo sighed, watching the pool of shadowy fluid in her bedroom flow around slightly as it attempted to become comfortable. It had been a strange day for her, what with her learning about Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, and all these other things… knowing that they wanted her dead didn’t help, either.
Popo smiled. It suited her just fine.
And that’s Popo, Star-Spawn of Cthulhu. The ‘fic is still marked as “in progress” and updated as recently as March of this year, but something about it reeks of an idea that couldn’t hold the author’s interest and was thus destined for abandonment-
Popo was startled awake by the sound of tires on the driveway outside. Her street received little enough through traffic as it was, and drivers certainly never bothered to visit her house…
It’s still… going? I swear this wasn’t there when I took the story off of ff.net…
Quietly, carefully, so as not to wake Natasha, she padded her way from her downstairs bedroom through the living room to the front door. It was a quiet summer day, and outside she could easily register the slamming of car doors and footsteps- booted footsteps?
The cheap wooden door slammed open just as she was reaching for the knob. Before she had time to react, Popo found herself tackled to the ground by a heavyset African-American woman in black unmarked tactical gear and mirrored sunglasses. Another armored intruder- this one a thin, vaguely Asian man wearing a bulletproof vest over a crisp black suit- calmly pressed a very real-looking handgun to her skull as in less than three seconds she was flipped onto her stomach and a sturdy pair of metal handcuffs were snapped around her wrists.
She hadn’t even had time to scream.
Lying helplessly with an armored knee planted in the small of her back, Popo could only watch as the Asian man and two others in suits, vests, and sunglasses strode briskly inside and moved further into the house. The other set of cuffs she could see hanging from the woman’s belt were odd- much thicker than the ones she was used to seeing on police dramas, sporting screws and blinking pinhole LEDs that suggested the presence of something electronic inside, and etched near the base with an unfamiliar symbol that resembled an eye inside of a five-pointed star.
It was at that point that Natasha stumbled into the kitchen just on the other side of the living room, looking for all the world like she had just been awoken far too early from a brief nap.
Immediately, the Asian man and one of the others drew their sidearms and leveled them with deadly intent. “Get down on the ground and put your hands behind your head!”
“What, no! I am Natasha, Daughter of Nyarlathotep! Feel my unemotional fury!”
Before she could even begin to move towards them both of the men- Agents, Popo’s confused brain finally decided to name them- had shot her square in the chest. The noise was deafeningly loud in the close confines of her living room and Natasha stumbled backwards a good three feet from the shock and impact alone, but then she rallied, the black, slimy holes in her chest already closing over.
She took a swipe at one of the agents and he backpedaled, bumping up against Popo’s empty cabinets. “Shit, not good!” Then the third stepped into the room, holding an odd, pistol-like weapon covered in yellow and black hazard markings. He took aim and fired, and Popo’s vision barely caught some sort of metallic barbs as they were launched towards Natasha’s chest, trailing thin, ribbon-like wires. The barbs sunk home and the girl made a weird, strangled sound that wasn’t quite a scream, then sunk to the floor. Her body was already starting to lose its solidity.
The tallest of the three men turned to the one with the stun-gun. “Good thinking there, Edwards. That… could’ve been bad.” He had an accent that wasn’t quite Southern and wasn’t quite East European.
“Well, the tip said we might be going up against something like a human-sized Bravo Foxtrot, so I figured she’d be a good conductor.” The other one, ‘Edwards’, nodded. “If that didn’t work I figure we’d fall back and get the blowtorch from the van.”
“Yeah.” The tall man reached under his vest and pulled out a ruggedized monster of a smartphone. There was some sort of insignia stamped onto the bottom of its black, impact-resistant case:
After a second of tapping at the screen he held the phone to his ear and started talking. “Special Agent Clark with Kill Team One. We’re gonna need a biohazard containment team out here pretty damn quick, we got one human and an unconscious Bravo Foxtrot derivative I don’t like the look of.” He paused, listening to someone or something on the other end of the line. “Lee’s still trying to untangle her fucking mortgage payments, but it looks like these two did a pretty good job of taking themselves off the grid before we ever heard about ’em. I don’t think anybody’s gonna care if one day they just… disappear.” He clicked the phone into standby mode and strode over to where Popo still lay on the floor. “Hoooo boy. The labcoat brigade back at McChord‘s gonna have a fun time with you.”
The reality of her situation was finally beginning to set in. All Popo Spawn of Cthulhu, the Cancerous Tentacled Blemish on the Cosmos, Birther of Maggots and Vermin could do was sob as rough gloved hands hauled her to her feet, dragged her to the back seat of the black, unmarked police-issue van waiting in her driveway, and buckled her inside.
“What? I said they wouldn’t last five minutes, didn’t I?”