A Daemonite Dig

Characters: Lexi Nemo, Voodoo
Rated: PG-13 for Violence
Summary: Lexi Nemo, graduate student in charge of a minor Native American digsite, has an unusual visitor, who reveals that all among her co-workers and the dig itself is not as it seems…
OOC Date: November 23, 2017
IC Date: November 23, 2017
Where: A dig site in Massachusettes

Everything was going just fine. The archaeological dig is not a large one; after all, Native American ruins like these that haven't been picked over or ground under modern progress are few and far between, and they would have to be small and subtle to have passed previously unnoticed and unmolested. The team is only a group of five, with a single grad student for oversight, and one professor assigned from the University, but he only shows up once a week at most to check on their progress and review their findings. It's not terribly glorious, sifting through the bits and pieces of a single small previously undiscovered site on the shore of Long Island.

The one benefit really is that the site is easily reachable and close at hand to those who live in New York state. Including Westchester. Perhaps that is why Alexia Nemo was assigned here to oversee the team this week?

It is dark, which means that the work crew has long since headed back to their motel. They will be back tomorrow morning, bright and early. With modern amenities so close by, why tent up on-site? The other benefit being that there's only a few cameras and a night watchman to avoid while sneaking around the site after-hours. Which gives said mauve mutant a chance to check the place out on her own, following her own instincts and directives.

Yet it seems that tonight, unlike last night or the night before, she is not alone. The first clue to this was the subsonic thrum she felt as much as heard about twenty minutes ago. The second was an odd, spicy sort of leathery scent she picked up just a few moments ago, coming from inside the depth of the cave she just managed to uncover. The third was the beeping coming from her hip.

Inconvenient, that, her pocket Cerebro unit alerting her to a pulse of intense psionic energies in her vicinity. What could cause something like that?

The mutant in question pauses, quickly moving to silence the alarm, then looking at the portable detector. Huh. She wasn't expecting something here….but it puts her on guard as she carefully slides down into the cave, sneaking in slowly as she tries to see deeper inside. Hopefully there's at least some light…or she might be giving herself away.

Inside the cave, light is rather limited. The back and lower portion of the cave is almost utter darkness, even to Lexi's enhanced vision. But her other senses pick up some of the slack. Closer in, she can hear a few things moving, skittering about down there. They aren't mere insects; whatever this is, they are big, human sized. It's hard to make out how many, but it can't be more than three or four, and has to be more than one.

Then light springs up, bathing the area down below. Not golden yellow light, or white. This light is a flare of purple - did they see Lexi and decide she would find this color pleasant?

What the light reveals is disturbing, to say the least. Two figures, looking like some cross between a slightly larger than human insect and a reptile, with chitinous grey-green shells and lethal-looking talons. At the moment they come into view they are both trying to lift a large stone slab out of the way.

The light comes from one of their bodies, as it falls back, convulsing, crying out. The light slides over a figure dressed in gold-accented body-hugging purple, a sword across her back, a blaster at her hip, and a long mane of dark hair pulled back. Her hands are outstretched towards the convulsing figure, an echo of that purple light coming from her eyes. And as the creature screams in agony, the pocket Cerebro unit goes off again - vibrating, since it is silenced - picking up a HUGE spike in psionic energies.

It's safe to say Lexi was not expecting to find warrior women in caves defending the area. Then again, she's seen weirder things. She's not sure what's going on quite yet, but the creatures seem…pretty unpleasant. She starts to creep closer, extending several tendrils. Just in case she needs to fight. Or at least, in case she can help, once she figures out who the side she should be fighting for is. She's leaning towards the woman at the moment.

The creature surrounded by the nimbus of purple light continues screaming, convulsing and twisting about in seemingly impossible ways. If Lexi is perceptive enough, she might be able to realize that what is happening is threefold: first, the creature seems to be splitting in two, one form being peeled out of another. At the same time, the outer form is actually morphing and changing, coming back to a shape that is … quite human. And thirdly, the smaller leathery reptilian insectiod shape is steaming as it hits the atmosphere, causing a rather caustic smell.

The creature is not the only one crying out in pain, or suffering, however. The purple-clad woman is on her knees as her purple energy continues whatever process is ongoing, as if the pain she is causing is being reflected back into her.

That has to suck.

But most problematic is that this creature was not alone, and its partner has gotten over its shock. With a hissing snarl, the creature leaps towards the woman, blade-like limbs leading the way with lethal intent, even as she becomes more and more defenseless, struggling to finish whatever process she has begun.

It's really more reflexive than anything else. As the second creature leaps for the woman's back, there's a sharp whip*CRACK* as two tendrils snap out, catching it in midair to hurl it into the cave wall, as Lexi rolls forward and comes up in a crouch next to the woman. "Man I hope yer th' good guy here…" she mutters, two more tendrils growing out of her back as she brings them down in an overhand smash at the creature, hopefully before it can recover.

Fast, and quite furious, the creature is not quite as defenseless as Tendril may have wished, which becomes a bit painful when one of those descending pseudopods is met with a razor-sharp upraised limb, its own weight and momentum likely enough to very painfully sheer off some of its length. Even so, the creature does stagger a bit, before screeching in rage and leaping to attack again, moving with almost blurring speed.

The purple-clad woman gives a shout, and then falls back, panting for a moment, as she finishes her own effort. Now, rather than one over-sized reptilian-sectoid behemoth, there is a human figure that Lexi might well recognize as one of the undergraduate volunteer students who was working the dig earlier today under her supervision, coated in sweat and unconscious, barely breathing but alive. Nearby is a still-smoking, hissing and bubbling creature that looks like a smaller but sharper version of the original shape, which seems to be melting away in the atmosphere, as if the air itself was high-molarity acid.

~''"Good guy? If you think I'm a guy, I'm doing something wrong."''~ comes a woman's voice, not through Tendril's ears but through her mind. It's not quite as crystal clear as the communication she gets from telepaths at the Mansion; it's the telepathic equivalent of a bullhorn, too loud and a bit distorted. ~''"As for good? Doing the best I can to save the kids, and us. F*ck, I have to do it again."''~

Lexi lets out a gasp as the tip of one of the tendrils is cleaved off, swiping with the other with her full strength now to knock it away as it leaps. Behind her, the tips of her remaining tendrils harden into two foot long blades of chitinous bone, before she brings them forward to help deflect the attacks of the creature. "Well I kinda got a low threshold for good guy.." she admits absently, wincing as her severed tendril withdraws into her body, leaving a gash in her back.

The other woman rolls up onto her hip, eyeing the ongoing fight. She's impressed, and worried. The creature is incredibly fast, incredibly strong, and absolutely fearless. It doesn't help that the damned thing's limbs form into blades quite capable of slicing through even the hardened tendrils given a chance and the right angle.

The only good thing is that when the creature gets in close enough to be a serious threat, that also puts it in range of the woman in purple, and she doesn't hesitate. She reaches out, that purple light ensnaring it. She grunts, then screams out her echo of its pain, as it howls and screeches in fury and agony. As before, this is not an instantaneous process. It takes a while. But eventually the separation is complete, and another of the students from earlier today lies unconscious on the ground. And another smoking husk of a reature lies atop the cracked half of the stone slab they were moving earlier.

Lexi brings her tendrils back a bit protectively near the woman as she works, watching the process with a 'oh my god ew' expression, then looks between the student and the….thing. "…okay…what's goin' on? This is like a bad sci fi so far…" she mutters, looking back at the woman with a bit of concern.

The purple-clad woman falls to her back, panting deeply, chest heaving. She doesn't even look over at those she has freed, or at Lexi right now. But she converses still, trying to answer. ~''"Well, when I tell you, it's not going to get much better. Those smoking hulks are a pair of Daemonites. They were riding your students as a means of getting recruited to this project to investigate these ruins. They want the records in that vault."''~ That said, or sent, she lays still for a while. Other than the panting and heaving.

Lexi kneels down next to the woman in question. "….daemonites. Okay." she says after a moment. "So..like demons, or….like the whole Nailhead demons..no, way, those weren't daemonites…" she muses, frowning a bit as she retracts her tendrils, letting them disappear back into her body as she goes to check the downed students. "So…you're…like a daemonite hunter? Are these two going to be okay?" She looks back over, then crosses over to rummage in her messenger bag, getting out a bottle of water that she offers to you.

The woman seems to let Lexi get through with what she wants to say without interruption. Only once she's offered water does she stir, taking the bottle, cracking it open and drinking half its contents in short order. "They'll need some, too." she says aloud, her voice a warm, fuzzy and seemingly innately sensual mezzo-soprano. "A daemonite hunter? Of a sort, yeah." She gestures to the students. "They'll wake up in about half an hour, with no memory of anything up to the point where they were grabbed. Beyond some bruising and serious headaches, they should be fine." She doesn't explain who or what the Daemonites are. But clearly they are considered dangerous. And expendable, as she's doing nothing while they dissolves as they are.

"Uh huh…." she says, then moves over to carefully dribble some water into the mouths of both students. "And they'll just…dissolve. Th' daemonites, I mean…" she asks, wrinkling her nose at the smell coming off the two alien bodies. " She nods. "Kay. I'm Lexi. Who are ya? I'm guessin' ya were huntin' those things rather than just stumblin' over them?"

@emit "Yes. One of the reasons why they ride others; the particular combination of gases in our atmosphere reacts with their bodies to form an acid." the woman in purple answers. She slowly pushes herself back upright. Then she drinks down the second half of her bottle of water, closing it up, crunching it down, and tucking it away in a belt pouch on pure automatic pilot, leaving nothing behind.

"You are Alexia Nemo, doctoral candidate and graduate student in charge of the day to day operations of this dig site, under the auspices of Doctor Andrea Markenz of Columbia University." the woman offers, as she unzips and then pulls up the hood/mask assembly on the outfit she's wearing, revealing a very dark-skinned but quite attractive and young feminine face, with purple - yep, even without the glow, they're purple - eyes. "You are also called Tendril. I can see why. I am called Voodoo. And I was following them. I caught wind of their operations in the City, and decided to track after these two when they switched hosts. I had to assume anything worth them abandoning the much more useful and connected hosts had to be important. I'm guessing whatever's in that vault would be why."

A vault that, thus far, no one on the dig had noticed or documented. Of course, it's wide open, now, its large and quite heavy stone lid broken in pieces as it was dropped when the fight began.

Lexi looks a bit nonplussed as she stares, either because she's surprised you know so much about her, or that…she's just staring a bit at the girl who was hidden under the mask. "Voodoo, huh?" She frowns thoughtfully, then pads over towards the vault cautiously. "…I'm not sure what th' vault is for…but I got evidence that there's stuff that's off about this place. Artifacts that don't seem ta belong, or that seem too advanced." She puts a hand on her hip, looking back at you. "So…shall we go see what's up then?"

"You're the archaeologist, Ms. Nemo. Lead the way." Voodoo offers, with a wave of her gloved hand. She stands up, and then walks over to follow Lexi. Now that they're not leaping around, fighting for their lives, she taps her belt buckle and produces a blazingly bright hand-held lamp, which she then lifts with her right hand as her left goes to the blaster at her hip. It does also provide the light to show off the woman's substantial curves, which makes that suit of hers more painted on than worn.

Revealed by the removal of the slab of stone is a relatively small depression, just two feet by four feet, and about two feet deep, or so it appears. However, the depression is filled with rubble, just ragged, jagged pieces of stone, and nothing remarkable about them, completely indigenous and unexceptional.

Voodoo comes up behind Lexi and shines her light down, looking at it. "I can't imagine they would have gone to all of this trouble for … this." she murmurs.

Lexi's talents and experience allow her to, with her tendrils, swiftly empty the space, examining each piece of stone in turn. Doing so does yield one tiny mystery: one stone buried in the pile has a cut-out pattern cleanly incised into its lower surface, which was then disguised by filling it with dried mud. With the mud cleared away, the pattern is revealed to be a clock wheel of alien symbols, surrounding a pictograph that the archaeologist will clearly recognize as being of Greco-Egyptian origin.

With the vault emptied, there would appear to be nothing else present. But that cannot be everything, can it?

Lexi hesitates again at the rush of light. It's not like she hasn't seen form-fitting uniforms before, after all…it's not like she wears much of one herself. But, well…it's worth at least noting. "Let's see what we got, then…" she says, stepping down into the vault as she cautiously starts to separate out what she can find. Usually she'd be a bit more careful about this…but under the circumstances, something here might be very dangerous, and thus it's best to remove it while she can. She'll come up with a story about the two kids getting mugged by tomb robbers or something to explain why it's busted open.

She examines the gear curiously. "Huh…Greco-Egyptian symbols. Definitely not supposed to be here for th' time period this place was built in." She gets out her cell phone and takes a picture of the pictographs and such, sending them to her cloud automatically. "So, any idea what this is then?" she says, holding up the wheel to you.

Voodoo stares at the stone's symbology, and shakes her head. "Nope. Sorry. But I can tell you that these other symbols, around the outside, are Kherubim numerals." Whatever the heck that means. "Uhm. Hunh. They're laid out in a way I'd have expected to represent hours of the day. But that's not how they read. They're not sequential."

Voodoo pulls out a phone from her belt and takes a picture of the stone, then starts mucking about with it, fingers pushing and squeezing and whatever across its surface. "There. That's it. Three groups of four." She taps a few more, than makes a mauve face. "OK. Machine says they're … temporal coordinates. Each set is a date and time, in Kherubim notation." More tapping and squinting and finally Voodoo just makes a growling noise of annoyance. "How the heck was I supposed to figure ''that'' out, you stupid hunk of junk!"

Lexi raises a silvery brow as she listens. "Doesn't say what th' dates are for? Any dates that haven't passed yet we should know about?" she says thoughtfully, tilting her head. "An' Kherubim..like th' angels?" she says slowly. "Or is that another group from…wherever th' daemonites came from?" she says curiously.

Voodoo makes a bit of a dismissive wave of her other hand. "Not so much where as when, but yes." 'Cause that clears things up tremendously, right? "All three dates are in the past. Apparently, each date and time was the time of a stellar phenomenon. Specifically, the date when a meteor struck Earth."

Then Voodoo frowns. "Wait. Meteors." She sighs. "Damnit. This is gonna hurt so much. I hate this stuff."

Lexi folds her arms absently. "….stellar…wait, off planet stuff?" She pauses, looking at the puddles where the last of the daemonites are dissolving, then back to Voodoo. "…stellar objects hitting the planet. Not really natural meteors?" she says, making an intuitive leap.

Voodoo nods when Lexi puts it together. "Right. My guess is, alien metal, bits of one of the vessels. I have the ability to seek it out. But using that ability is not pleasant, or easy." She clearly, given her distasteful tone, would much rather not use her abilities in this way.

"Short version, or as short as I can manage:" Voodoo begins. "Two alien empires, engaged in a war together. Two of their warships crashed here on Earth thousands of years ago. The Kherubim managed to hide among humanity, looking like humans, being taken as godlings and the like, representations or bases for various mythologies. The Daemonites hid too, only coming out when they could possess humans, because they couldn't survive otherwise. They've had a sort of intergalactic cold war going on here on Earth for thousands of years."

Lexi blinkblinks, then sighs and rubs her face. "Well, that's gonna fuck up some of my research…" she mutters. "Okay. So….yer onna th' Kherubim, then? Hunting down these guys? An' I'm guessing they wanna find where these chunks of alien stuff fell so they can retrieve 'em or something…" she says with a frown, looking over the gear.

"I'm … a weird case." Voodoo answers, making that distasteful face again. "Short version: I'm a hybrid, seven ways from Sunday. Part human, part Kherubim, part Daemonite. Blah blah, prophecy, destiny, blah blah." Yes. 'The One' is not terribly impressed by any of that foolishness. "I didn't scan their minds much; I was trying to eject them from their hosts because they're a lot easier to deal with that way. If you don't, taking them on in a fight can go badly in an awful hurry. They're badasses, especially in physical combat. So, I'm not entirely sure what they were here for. But they were awful interested in getting in there."

Voodoo again points at the small vault that was opened.

When Lexi finally gets down to examine the vault in close detail, she originally cannot find anything. It is as blank and featureless as it first appears. But Lexi is not entirely normal, and she has the ability to examine things in ways that others - mere mortals - cannot match. Like picking up a vague hint of a metallic scent from one particular corner of the vault. Or using a plethora of tiny tendrils to touch around, exploring the surfaces of the vault.

Which is how Lexi finds the edge, so cleanly and cleverly disguised, and is able to wedge her bone-tipped tendrils down along those edges and wiggle the stone slab free, revealing beneath it not more stone, but a metallic plate. And incised into that plate is the Greco-Egyptian symbol found on the stone located earlier. At the same dimensions, as well.

"Wow. You really are good at this stuff. Where's your fedora, anyway?" Voodoo comments to the mauve mutant girl.

"Thanks. Lost it in a spear trap last month. I order 'em special from a guy I know in New York…" she says absently. "Ya'd be amazed how many of 'em I go through in a year." She apparently is being completely serious too, as she fiddles with it, then brings up the gear and sees if she can fit it ito place like it was over the Greco-Egyptian symbols. "I think this might be a key…let's see." She tries to manipulate it into position. "Huh. Sounds like it'd be heavy ta be partly both sides…I mean, are ya working with the Kherubim?"

"Hah." Voodoo offers. Sure, she's an empath, and knows Lex isn't joking, but she takes it as a joke because it's easier that way. A way to be amusing.

With care, Lexi can get the stone to fit its symbol onto the one in the plate. With a little twist, the edges of the plate light up, and there's a soft hiss as air pressurizes. The plate then releases as maglatches turn off. The plate can then be removed, revealing another vault of similar size to the stone one originally unearthed. This one, however, is not filled with random chunks of stone. This one, instead, contains three odd pieces of technology.

Voodoo, watching Lexi, lets out a little whistle. "Yes, it can be 'heavy'. And … not currently. I was. Then I left them and went independent. But given that I can actually see Daemonites when they're riding people, I can't just ignore that, or the threat they represent. So I try to follow up, when I can." Like tonight. "All three of those look like Daemonite tech. And unless I miss my guess, one of those is a power module. That would be a really good reason why they'd take all of this so seriously."

Lexi cautiously moves into the vault, looking for any sign of triggers…high tech or otherwise. "If it's somethin' hard ta get on Earth, yeah, can see it. So…but all daemonites aren't…bad? Just alien? I mean, ya seem nice. Though yer not…ridin' around in a body that's not yours, from what yer sayin'…" she says thoughfully, circling the items, looking for pressure plates. "Hmmm….this might be safe ta just pick up and remove. I mean, I don't wanna trigger some sorta high tech zappy defense thingee…."

"The daemonites as a race aren't somehow inherently evil, no." Voodoo offers, honestly. "But the faction that landed here is led by those who don't value anyone or anything but themselves. ''They're'' evil." Voodoo doesn't try to explain further. She's not a philosopher. She's a fighter. "Probably best to be a bit careful. But we opened this with the key. That ought to turn off most traps, would't it?" she questions. But she leaves this up to the professional.

Said professional will find that the bottom surface is in fact conductive, and a low-level charge is passing through it constantly, and through the three tech pieces resting on it. It's not a 'pressure plate', but it serves the same purpose. Somewhere inside the high-tech invisible guts of the walls of that vault is a system that considers this an active circuit, and the removal will be acknowledged. Whether that means it will trigger something is anyone's guess. This is definitely not the sort of thing covered in standard archaeology.

Lexi mmmms, frowning. "Maybe there's a secondary security method the. These pedestals look like they're runnin' current of some sort that I'll break if I pick stuff up. So…maybe if we're gonna do that, I should stand in th' door an' use my tendrils ta snatch 'em so we're not at ground zero?" She pauses. "I mean, unless th' door slams shut on them. That'd hurt a bit."

Voodoo shrugs. "I don't know. But you're the pro: if you think we should be paranoid about this, I have no objections to having fewer holes burned through me. Lead the way."

The purple-clad woman backs up to the door, as promised, and waits while Lexi works on extending her tendrils to do as she said she would. Voodoo does brace herself, however, behind Lexi. She doesn't make a big deal about it, but she visibly bulks up, even getting taller, as she prepares herself to try to catch anything at the entrance that might come tumbling down if this trap goes off.

When Lexi lifts the pieces, there is a light buzz through her tendrils as that energy field connects with her. There is a soft beep. But nothing more. It seems that the use of the key was the way to disarm whatever additional security may have been in place.

"Hey. Good job. Now, if you don't mind a little constructive paranoia, might I suggest we take the toys and any evidence, and get out of here before whatever backup they may have shows up to see what happened?" Voodoo mentions.

Lexi whews, reeling in the items and tucking them into her messenger bag for the moment, then she turns the key to close the vault again. "Probably a good plan…do I need ta break th' inscription, d'ya think? I mean…so no one else finds th' vault?" She looks over thoughtfully. "And th' kids, we need ta take them too…"

The purple-clad woman sighs. "Mmm. Take the key with you. That should solve it for now, I'd think. Let's get the stone cover in there, and then put the rest of those stones back. Then we scoop up the kids. One for each of us. Where do you think we should take them?" Voodoo shrugs. "Sorry. I usually just leave the folks I free where they lie, for others to find them. I'm not exactly equipped for 'so, you were ridden by an alien' recovery programs."

Lexi quickly replaces the slab after taking the key again, then reaches out with her tendrils, winding a pair around the kids as she carefully hefts them quite easily. "No, I got 'em. Let's get them back ta camp, maybe? If we can sneak 'em in their rooms, they'll just wake up with a bad dream, right?" she says slowly. "Or….I'm not sure what ta do…" she admits. "We should put them in the hotel though, so someone can find 'em?"

Voodoo nods. "Alright. Do you have a vehicle?" She moves over to start putting everything back together. After the stone slab is stuffed back down in place, she picks up the stones and puts them back in. it takes a while, but she works quickly and thoroughly. Once everything is back in place, she pulls something out of her belt and sprays it over the spots where the two daemonite corpses were melting away, neutralizing the acid before it can do more damage. Then she gets the pieces of the broken cover slab back in place as best she can; it'll have to do.

"I have a hoverbike. I don't know if you can hold onto those two while moving at speed, but you're welcome to the ride, if you don't have anything better." After all, the alternative to Voodoo's hoverbike would be poor Lexi having to hike all the way to the hotel on foot. Not exactly a way to avoid being noticed.

Lexi frowns thoughtfully. "I've got my Rover here. We could drive back into town and meet up again after I've deposited them in their rooms?" she offers, tilting her head as she watches you clean up. She grins a bit. "Though I'd be happy to ride th' hoverbike later, because that sounds AWESOME…"

The purple-clad woman grins and bobs her head. "OK. You get loaded up. I'll follow you into town, keep an eye and make sure you get everything back where it belongs. Then we'll figure out where to meet up to talk." That said, Voodoo pulls her hood/mask back down into place, zipping it up firmly, her face disappearing into the facelessness of her masked outfit. Then she jogs off, staying with Lexi until she is loaded up in the rover. Then she jogs off further. Soon enough, she'll reappear astride a flying motorcycle - a hoverbike. She waves, and follows at a distance - mostly vertical.

It doesn't take long at all to get to town, and after parking her jeep in a area not covered by cameras, Lexi quickly scales up to the appropriate balcony, opening the door and setting the two back in their rooms, then spidering back down, dropping to the ground in an easy three point crouch, before she walks over to where Voodoo is waiting. "There…and where shall we go now? Or if ya'd like we can chat up in my room." she offers too. "Or food. I could eat."

Where is Voodoo waiting? Well, she was hovering over the roof of the motel, watching, while Lexi did a Spider-girl impression. But once Lexi is done, she flies her hoverbike over and lands beside the rover, waiting for Lexi to return. "I figure you probably should eat. Wouldn't hurt if I did, we both put out a good bit of energy tonight. But I'll need to change, first. I can't exactly eat through this mask, and I don't exactly want just anyone knowing what the face looks like under this mask paired with the rest of the outfit." Voodoo considers for a bit. "There's an all-hours diner out close to the highway, about four blocks away. I'll meet you there in twenty minutes." And then she mounts up and flies away. Aren't hoverbikes cool?

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