"This is eerie. Getting all sorts of weird readings on my suit, my gauges keep going nuts with every step." She detached and readied her falcata, fully expecting something unpleasant to show itself. "The minotaur -is- dead, right?" As she spoke, they moved into another section of the labyrinth. This one appeared to mostly be white metal with a broad blue stripe along the left wall, flickering fluorescent lights overhead. Scattered throughout were various tools - a small stepladder, a large, spilled toolkit.
They came up to a fork, the thread pointing them to the right. As they passed, Kate glanced along the left path and thanked the Gods that they weren't going the other way, she could see streams of what she was reasonably sure was boiling hot steam shooting out of the floor. Then she turned her attention to this route - much better. Cold, with snowy floors. Old, crumbling wooden supports held up a dirt ceiling, and the walls were mostly dirt and rock, with some metal here and there. Cyrillic writing covered much of the metal walls.
"Anyone read Russian?"
There wasn't time for a response as the snow in front of her split open and a metal cylinder shot out of the ground, rising to about chest height. Kate slapped it against the wall with her sword as it detonated, spraying a lethal hail of steel balls that were fortunately stopped by Kate's armor and sword. She stepped back after it fell to the ground.
"Is...is everyone alright?" She lowered her blade, panting.
"Wait what's the plan for getting into the warehouse. I'm assuming your plan is basically break down the front door and shoot them but I'd like to know." Alexandros replied to the Texan driving the van.
'That way if it is I can volunteer to sneak around back at least. My powers aren't exactly good for getting shot at' he thought.
"I'm not sure that would be particularly effective... we need to figure out how best to approach the place," Jessica answered. "There could be any number of people or monsters in there, maybe both. So... I myself would suggest staking out the place, watching it for a while. If someone - or something - comes out alone, we could maybe capture it for interrogation."
She looked to Brandon, since he seemed to be assuming the role of leader in the group of five. "Thoughts, o fearless leader?" she asked with a smile and a wink.
What the - ? was all Gary had time for before something popped out of the ground, Kate smacked it with her sword and it exploded against the wall. He flinched and cowered at the sound of the blast, affected by the shockwave rather than the ball-bearings the landmine had released.
"Um... I'm okay," he eventually answered the armoured Kate. "And to answer your questions: no, I don't speak Russian, and no, the Minotaur isn't dead. Monsters don't have souls, so they don't have any... well, spiritual essence, Chiron calls it. Their bodies reform after they die. Sometimes it can take a week, or a lifetime if you're lucky. Though not many people have been that lucky," he explained, peering past Kate to look at the snow-covered hall ahead of them.
Gary glanced at the ball of thread, which was coloured a similar blue as it had been before, and pointing down the hall. "Oh, you're kidding. We gotta go through the minefield," he complained to the others.
"Anyone read Russian?"
A small, cylindrical object shot from the snow with a muffled bang. She heard enough war stories from her grandfather to know what it was. Kat crouched and raised her shield to protect herself as Kate swung at it with her sword. The landmine detonated, sending ball bearings flying and bouncing off the walls. When the last of them came to a stop in the snow, Kat lowered her shield. She waited for her racing heart to calm before standing up.
"Is...is everyone alright?"
"Fucking hell...yeah, I'm okay," she replied after giving herself a quick pat-down. No injuries, but the sudden rush of adrenaline left her shaky. "Nobody told me there would be fucking landmines!" She took a glance at the Cyrillic writing that Kate had pointed out. Having grandparents who immigrated from Russia, Kat had a bit of exposure to spoken and written Russian. She was never fluent, but she knew enough to read signs and ask for directions. It took her a moment to read what exactly the old, faded writing said, but when she did, she growled in frustration.
"But the walls did. That writing? It says to beware of landmines." She looked down the path. "So how are we gonna get through, huh? We walk through there and we're dead."
Kate stepped back away from where the mine had risen up and took stock of the situation. Mines of some kind - she'd never heard of these particular design. And mined passage was the way they had to go, so what to do, what to do...she picked up what little was left of the mine's shell, examining it. It was a waste of time, most of it had been reduced to sharpnel or so deformed by the explosion she couldn't get any useful information out of it.
"Okay, I have three ideas...one is that we try to go around, but I'm pretty sure that won't work. The second is...I might be able to figure out how to defuse them, I'm pretty good with machines. Comes with the territory, I guess. The third option is that I could try and run through and detonate the mines in a path, with the rest of you safely back. My armor should be able to take it, but...we may have already alerted the creatures living in this labyrinth with that one going off, and it's almost certain that detonating a string of them would catch something's attention. But disarming will take a while and hold us in one position for most of that time."
She looked at the others. "Anyone else have any ideas, or think one idea is better? Because I'm fairly stumped."
Ling Lei and Ambrose were fast asleep through the whole ride. Cars were useful for that. Lethe, meanwhile, amused herself by trying to climb onto the dashboard. She wasn't supposed to come, being a cat and all, and gave quite the surprise when she jumped out of Ambrose's bag.
When the car stopped, Ling Lei was the first to wake up of the two. She quickly took out an energy drink and downed it, shaking her younger half sister awake to shove one in her hands as well. Ling Lei caught the end part of the conversation, taking a look at the warehouse. "It doesn't look too different than what they showed us. Hopefully nowhere as difficult as looking for a Chimera. A stake out does sound good though. Could even have one of you change appearances every day so they don't get suspicious. As long as they think you're one of those normal non-Mist-seeing-through people and we stay outside the gate there shouldn't be any problems. Might even draw some monsters out when they smell us." She shook Ambrose again. "Hey! Wake up and contribute to the conversation"
"Uh... I don't know... maybe we should..." A yawn cut through her helpful sentence. Lethe jumped up on her lap, rubbing against her stomach and chest. "Lethe, you were supposed to stay behind..." She pet the kitten, who meowed enthusiastically. "I guess Lethe could help, maybe. Smaller, less suspicious..."
Zestia considered her options. There was one idea she could execute. Hmmm. Maybe if I had my skeletons walk over the minefield, they could set them off without casualties. I can always re-summon them easily with my bone. We just need some sort of cover in the meanwhile...
She raised her hand to get the word. "What do you all think of this? I can have my skeletons walk over the minefield to set off the mines. That way, we can get through once they'll be done with that. They're easily summoned by me whenever they fall in battle, so it's the perfect way. The only problem is, we need some sort of cover while they're doing that. Anyone have any ideas regarding that? Because I sure as shit don't." It was a pretty good plan, she thought. It'd just be a matter of patience and getting the others to agree to it, along with their cooperation in hiding behind a cover so they'd be unharmed.
Brandon reclined the driver's seat back, while taking into account everything that his fellow team members was saying. Honestly, if he had his way, he'd be driving right through the gates and the doors, content to start shooting away at what fool might get into his way. However, with the cast of people underneath him, that would be a good way to some dead bodies, which he did not need to explain to Chiron.
Well, the best option might be combining some of the ideas then.
"Right," he started. "I figure we gotta find out what we got on the other side there, before we start runnin' in and fightin'. Rose, I dunno what your cat's got for skills, but if you got some sorta mind link or somethin' wither, we might as well sender in. Other than that, I guess we gotta wait for an openin'. I'm sure if they're hidin' a chimera in there, they gotta be truckin' in a whole mess of food to feed the bastard. We start seeing a couple of food trucks headin' in, that might be the ticket. To get in on that racket to get in there."
He reached down and grabbed one of the Gatorades he had brought along. "So, either way, guess we're sitting tight for now."
"Well, if doubling back isn't safe - and it probably isn't in this place - I can provide cover. My armor can handle this stuff with no problem, but I can't be certain that I can block all the shrapnel. Hold on, give me a second to think." She paused. "Look at the marks in the walls. They're all at about two to four feet up." She carefully approached the markings and examined the angle. "Entry of the ball bearings was at a downwards angle, about..." She trailed off, muttering to herself, then pressed her finger into the snow and used it as an impromptu chalkboard, writing out a geometric equation. "If we hang back about thirty feet, we should be out of range of the balls. I can stand in front of you guys in case any of them get thrown further than my estimates."
"W-well... I can talk to her." It didn't seem as cool as a mind link, especially when she said it out loud. "I can't tell what she's seeing, but she could tell me what she sees when she gets back... I don't think they'll notice her though. She's pretty tiny."
Lethe, for her part, didn't seem to concerned. She looked out of the window at the warehouse, curious. It didn't look too bad.
"You don't think they're actually keeping the Chimaera here, do you?" Ling Lei wrinkled her nose. "In the middle of a city? I thought they were keeping it on the mountain, where the other guys went. Cause seriously. That thing looked pretty strong, and pretty pissed. I doubt they'll be able to keep it chained up in a doghouse, feeding it kibble all day."
"Sounds good to me." Javier said. He began walking slowly backwards to reach the recommended thirty feet. He'd thought of suggesting that he simply run through the minefield. He may have been able to trigger the mines without 'being there' when they exploded. But that wouldn't help the group if he misjudged the end of the field and got killed by stopping too early. Getting rid of the mines via undead minions sounded like a better plan. He shifted his quarterstaff to be in front of him, planting the end in the ground softly. "Will the mines send your skeleton's bones and those metal balls towards us?" Javier asked. He spun his staff in a slow rotor-like movement.
"I'm not entirely sure, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to take that into account." Zestia as well went back about thirty feet. She took her bone out, ready to summon. She sighed lightly, then chuckled a little. This wasn't exactly what she thought she'd have to deal with while going after the chimera, but it did beat just walking for hours with nothing happening. She twirled the bone with her fingers. "Hopefully no one but my skeletons will get hurt. Even though they don't feel any pain." She chuckled lightly again.
"If we hang back about thirty feet, we should be out of range of the balls."
"You don't have to tell me twice," Kat replied as she backed up along with Zestia and Javier. She raised her shield and silently cursed for not bringing armor, or at least a bigger shield. Any sort of extra protection. "Alright, Zombie Master, do your stuff," she said to the Thanatos daughter. "We gotta get moving." The sooner they cleared out the minefield, the better.
Gary, too, backed up alongside the others. Zestia's plan sounded solid, for the most part. Briefly he regretted not bringing a shield or something. Although the Hermes guy, Javier, had a fair point with the question he brought up: "Will the mines send your skeleton's bones and those metal balls towards us?"
"Hm." Gary thought it over for a moment. If the mines were still functional there was a good chance the demigods would still be in range. Let's see here... Raising his staff, he drew a lazy arc in the air in front of him. A low barricade of ice formed as the head of the staff passed through the air.
Gary raised an eyebrow. That wouldn't be enough to shield the group. He made another pass with the staff, doubling the height. A short tap on the wall produced a doorway for Zestia's skeletons to walk through.
"This might work to shield us from any blasts that may occur. So... whenever you're ready, Zestia," he suggested.
"Honestly? I doubt it. I figure a creature like the Chimaera isn't suited to living in a dingy warehouse," Jess answered Ling-Lei. "It's likely better off in the mountains. Though given the team sent that way, it won't have long to enjoy its freedom... I hope."
And so began the long and boring process of watching the warehouse and waiting for something to show itself. About fifteen minutes in, Jess caught sight of a pair of figures exiting the building. They were just standing around... it looked like they were standing guard, though they looked fairly lax about the situation.
"Guys! We've got people out there. A couple of guards," she told the others. "Think we could lure them to us?"
"Whatever." It was a flat reply that came from the boy's mouth. The sun had barely set for the day. It looked to be around 2 PM, and it meant that his shift to guard the outer entrance had presented itself. He grabbed his backpack and walked out without another word or glance. One of the girls that belonged to their little group of demigods trailed behind him.
Gabriel looked towards the afternoon sky, putting a hand up to shield his eyes from the increasingly clouding expanse. These last few nights had been a blur for him. One day he was sleeping alone on a bench somewhere in Bed-Stuy, and the next he was along the East River, helping some group keep watch of something he couldn't put into words. He couldn't even explain how they found him, or why they wanted his help. One of them said that "Us demis need to stick together". That thought lingered in Gabriel as he quietly agreed to work with the kids.
As more clouds gathered, some began a slow shroud over the sun, giving Gabriel some much needed shade. He let out a light, satisfactory sigh as a result. A chill stream of air blew through his shirt, a shirt he's worn ever since he's had to leave Central Park. A gray shirt with one of the short sleeves crudely ripped from it (a result of hellhound attack), with a dingy, faded New York Rangers logo taking up space on his chest. He didn't want to revisit the events of that night, but the shirt he wore triggered his fleeting scene with every mention of it. The more he tried to clear his mind of the thoughts, the more prominent said thoughts became. He'd always hope there might be a day where he could visit his friends without having to fear an attack. Strangely enough, said days were found as he squatted with these people.
"Demis need to stick together." Replayed in his head as he lazily meandered around the warehouse's entrance. He gave his fellow guard a slow glance. His eyes low and cold, his expression distantly neutral. There wasn't much of anything he had to say to the girl, and preferred to not stir up a conversation. The glance lingered for only a second, and soon Gabriel's eyes were back to the skies. He noted on how the sun was beginning to breach its cloudy coverings, and decided to divert his gaze elsewhere. It was pretty peaceful for a warm summer's day on the edge of a waterfront in Brooklyn, no more noise than a random car passing by or a gunshot being released somewhere in the distance. Urban ambiance. Gabriel began to grimace at the whole predicament. He wished he had some music to listen to, something to break the silence.
Zestia had to hold back her annoyance towards being called a Zombie Master since she didn't want to lose her cool in front of the others. Once preparations had been made, Zestia summoned her two skeletons. Mentally giving them orders, they started walking through the door on the ice wall and over to the minefield, being near each wall so that they would be able to cover enough ground.
It didn't take long after they reached the thirty feet to find another mine, which like the first one, sprung up and shot a lethal hail of steel balls. Some of them hit the two skeletons, but they kept on going, still able to walk. That is, until one of them hit an explosive mine, scattering it all over the place, some bones even getting stuck in the ice wall. "Thank Thanatos for that wall..." Zestia said to herself before she summoned the fallen skeleton again beside her and gave it mental instructions again.
This continued onwards for a while, the skeletons getting repeatedly blown up and scattered, the place now getting littered with undead bones. "This is taking a while, but I feel that we're making progress." Zestia said to the others as her skeletons continued to walk over the minefield. Once she stopped hearing explosions and steel balls hitting walls, she looked through the door of the ice wall. The skeletons stood proudly by the end, having cleared out all the mines they could and looking like it with holes in them due to the steel balls. Zestia was proud of her skeletons, unsummoning them and summoning them again beside her, in a better shape. "You've done well. Take a rest now." she said before unsummoning them again. The path was now clear for them, though Zestia worried a bit that whatever else was in the labyrinth could be the way to them. "We should hurry." she said to the others.
"Can't be too sure with these kinda folk though," Brandon noted. "Might be wanting to let that bugger go on the population. Can't do that on no mountain."
As the guards emerged from the warehouse, Jessica brought up the possibility of luring them over to be used to gain access. "Probly could," he agreed. "Could just send one of us out, say this old bucket of bolts conked out on us. That's believable."