The Unusual Suspects

Alligators in the Sewers, Part II
The Mutation

As Accabish breaks from editing the latest articles for the Slog, she considers how the ring might remove the sewer cult as a threat. She runs over the events the Naturalist described verbatim in the early hours of the morning. While the cult was connected by their beliefs and a desire to serve Sobek, it was the cult leader that kept them unified. Without him, the group would splinter.

She decides to pay a visit to city hall later that afternoon.

The demon finds Sgt. Spencer at her desk, looking at her own reports. The officer keeps a careful eye on the security monitor. As Priscilla Webb, Accabish tells the officer about a potential threat to Donna Angstrom. She shows Spencer a drawing of the cult leader and suggests that he has been making threats involving the bureaucrat.

Convinced that he might be a person of interest, Spencer runs the face through their database. As they wait to hear back, the pair talk a bit about other threats to Donna.

Then Kenny Nguyen storms out of Donna’s office. As he leaves grumbling, Spencer explains the head of animal control is normally quite relaxed. She confides she heard him shouting about alligators in sewers recently. He told her that the authorities won’t take him seriously. Spencer thinks he is simply stressed since one of his employees went missing.

The report on the sketch comes back. Unfortunately the man doesn’t appear in their database. Spencer says she will show it around the precinct.

Back at the office, Priscilla has the Slog’s IT person, Vince, look for the man. The young technician moans it is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

The next morning however, Vince informs Priscilla that he managed to locate a man who might be the cult leader in a paper from 2007. He shows her the photo. He’s younger and healthier looking but it could be him. He appears at a protest over layoffs at a recently bought supermarket. Accabish sends the photo to the Naturalist who confirms that it is the man they are looking for.

As Priscilla, she arranges to meet the former owner’s widow, Christine Morris, for lunch. She explains she is doing an article on the fate of local mom and pop businesses in the Seattle area. Mrs. Morris agrees to talk.

Over lunch, Accabish learns a lot about the supermarket and its troubles. She makes a particular effort to learn all she can about the employees who lost their jobs: their names, stories, and contact information. Christine doesn’t have a contact number for Daniel Montgomery but she does recall him. He had been with them for six months when the store closed. Both of his parents had died while he was in his teens. He was only 18 when the store closed and he lost his first job.

As she returns to the office, Priscilla gets a call from Sgt. Spencer. A colleague from the department recalled the young man from a few years back. The youth had the misfortune of being mugged and robbed in the same week. She confirms his name was Daniel Montgomery. Spencer suggest he might be among the local homeless and offers to send his photo to the city shelters.

Several days later, Spencer gives her a few more bits of information. Daniel has been staying at an Eastlake shelter. The shelter people relayed that he managed to get off the streets briefly a few months ago with a job with a Windermere family, the Boltons. something went wrong he ended up back on the streets again.

Accabish decides to contact the Boltons to learn more about Daniel. The father claims he was lazy, a thief and sex offender, but Accabish reads between the lines. The Boltons have a college age daughter. She decides Daniel and the girl must have been too friendly.

She contacts the shelter and arranges to volunteer there, planning to meet him before the cops confront him.

That evening, she doles out soup to grateful people. One of them is a dark man with scaly skin. Daniel thanks her for the food and even takes her up on a second helping. Convinced she has the right man, she puts in a call to Joseph.

Meanwhile the rest of the Ring coordinates a raid on the cult’s meeting location in the sewer. The Naturalist hunts for a disposable cover for Joseph. After several days of careful observation, the demon locates several people who might give up part of their lives for the right deal. But only Jillian Day fits the profile it is looking for. The elderly African American woman lost her house and savings in an insurance scam. For the past few years she’s lived on the streets.

Under the guise of Dorian, the Naturalist gives Jillian a dollar while she panhandling. She soon notices the phone number and note claiming that the person on the other end can solve her problems. She calls and arranges to meet the Naturalist under the Ship Canal Bridge. The Naturalist dons a facade and cuts a deal with her. It offers her a job and shelter for her experience on the street. It also offers a more permanent solution but sensing something suspicious about the well dressed man, she declines, taking only the lesser offer. She signs away part of her life for a month and the Naturalist secures the new paper thin cover.

In the life of Jenny Olson, the Naturalist discovers that John, her husband, has been flirting with a barista named Jackie. Using its supernatural powers, the demon continues to record John’s activities from the nascent adultery to how he plans to teach his kids to program. For now he is none the wiser.

The Weaver meanwhile focuses its free time on unravelling the mysteries of the various gadgets it has. The demon learns the final secrets of the rod, how it works and its creator: the mythical first demon Lilith. Turning to the strange goggles with salt orbs in the place of lenses, it finds that they were forged from a demon’s eyes. The gadget confers the power to sense things without sight though the controls will require more work to decipher.

The Weaver also notices a man watching Jeanette’s home. When Jean tries to confront him, he speeds off. She notifies the homeowner association and trust them to handle it.

Joseph’s week is quiet. A few times he notices some men in dark suits shadowing him but otherwise the only thing that surprises him is Bob Jenson’s new friendly demeanor. The janitor seems to be covering for him and even got him off bathroom duty for the week, passing it off on the new guy. Joseph concludes that Bob wants something.

As the day of the mission arrives, the Weaver seeks out someone who can provide it enough material for a quick Cover. It finds a skateboarder kid and makes him a deal. In exchange for some cash, it will cover for him at school. The kid agrees and takes off for the day.

A street kid meets up with a homeless woman and a well dressed construction worker just after 1 PM that afternoon. Joseph in the guise of the vagrant tells them to call him Hunter for now. The demon leads them to the sewer entrance the cultist couple used last week.

Luckily they find the manhole cover already pulled aside in the alley. Waiting until the street traffic thins, Hunter slides into the shaft. The Naturalist follows but trips over the metal cover. As the loud jangle attracts attention, Weaver the street kid quickly follows the others down.

The trio find themselves splashing through six foot tunnels half filled with gray water. Small dark objects float past them as they try to navigate the dark labyrinth.

Something bounces against the Weaver’s leg. It shines a flashlight down. A bundled pair of pants floats past. A sock and a lost shoe drift after them. The demon reaches into its pocket and pulls out a pair of latex gloves.

Doning them, the teenager grabs the pants. No blood stains or other violence mar the intact pants. The demon plucks a wallet from the soggy clothes. In addition to a twenty dollar bill, a soggy free sub coupon, and a credit card, it find the driver’s license of Glen Jacob, an Eastlake local. Noting the details, it tosses the rest back into the sludge.

Back the way they came, the demons hear voices shouting down for them to come back. They push on and the Naturalist soon finds the tunnel that matches its memory of the path the cultists took to the meeting.

The passage slowly shifts as they push forward through the increasingly turgid and warm water. Along the tunnel walls, the ceramic tiles grow larger until heavy sandstone blocks replace them. Mold and later moss grow up the sides which expand outward and upward as they go. The now vertical walls appear covered in graffiti which on closer examination appear to be hieroglyphs.

They reach a large stone arch inscribed with solar discs and humanoid figures in profile. The Naturalist looks up, spotting a crocodile at the apex.

Then it slips.

Before the water can wash the demon away, the fragile seeming Hunter grabs the burly man and effortlessly sets him back on his feet.

Just beyond the arch, the space opens out more, revealing dry paths along each side of the waterway. They pull themselves up and take a look at the symbols decorating the walls. The Weaver explains they are gibberish. However mapping their path to the sewer maps that Daemon retrieved for them, it says they must be standing within an extradimensional space. They should be in solid stone right now and passed through what should have been a subbasement fifty feet back.

Deciding they are close enough, Hunter lets some of its demonic form through. Instantly the old woman’s eyes glow green and she begins to fade from sight.

They push on and soon see a red glow from around the next turn. The Naturalist informs them that the meeting location lies in a large chamber just around the corner. The demon extends its senses to detect any Aetheric resonances. Beyond a pool of Aether in the direction of the glow, they seem to be alone.

The Weaver decides to test one of the gadgets and rings the rod on the stone wall of the tunnel. Extending its senses, the demon picks out traces of Aether racing along the walls and glyphs, percolating out through the streams of water, and concentrated in three log sized objects just below the surface a few yards away. It alerts the others.

Cautiously they move on, staying as far as possible from the water. The chamber they find is empty with the glow coming from a rose colored bulb in the ceiling. The size and shape of an eggplant, it contains a snake biting its tail which functions as a filament. The Weaver notices a clear liquid collecting in the bottom of the glass. It removes a small screw from the base and collects the Aether that pours out. Hunter asks if there is any more. The Weaver calculates it should regenerate in a day.

As they look around, the sound of someone splashing through the tunnels comes from the way they came. A man’s voice calls to them, asking them to turn themselves in. Realizing the police are still following them, the Naturalist heads back to buy the others time to explore further and keep the cops out of danger.

The Naturalist manages to catch the pair of officers before they reach the full strangeness of the God-Machine’s Infrastructure. The men seem to believe the demon’s story about coming down here to find its lost friend, or at least the part about investigating alone. As they head back to the surface, the demon subtly directs them to the quickest route out.

The Weaver and Hunter push deeper into the tunnels, looking for the main Infrastructure.

Instead, they suddenly find six large alligators slowly encircling them. One pulls itself onto the path in front of them and growls. The creatures approach with uncharacteristic aggressiveness. The Weaver notes a tattoo on the lead reptile’s front limb. A second one has eerie blue eyes. A third looks almost piscine with webbed limbs and a narrow body.

As the beasts lunge for them, Hunter fires three times. Scaly forms collapse in pools of blood and the two demons fend off the survivors with more gunshots and thrown rocks.

In the aftermath, the soaking wet street kid helps the old woman, limping from a leg wound, out of the Infrastructure and quickly to an alternate exit.

The echoes of the gunfire reach the Naturalist just as the cops begin hauling the demon up the ladder to the surface. As one of the officers considers heading back down, the Naturalist quickly stammers that they should call for backup. They take him up to the street and head for their squad car.

One of them sticks him in the back of the car while the other radios for backup. The demon looks at both of them and uses its supernatural powers. The first remains a mystery to it but the demon sees a certain tension in the second, a desire for companionship not approved by his comrades in the department.

The Naturalist tries to convince the officer to let him go. He was just looking for his friend, the demon tells him. He just had an argument with his boyfriend and if he gets arrested, he’ll lose his job. The cop tells his partner to stay here and takes responsibility for bringing the Naturalist in.

The officer does drive the demon to the station but instead of bringing the Naturalist in, he gives the trespasser a stern lecture and warns him he’ll face a large fine if he tries that again. The Naturalist looks contrite and thanks him.

Elsewhere, Weaver hears someone trudging through the sewage near their exit. Hunter fades into the background, its mirrored skin blending into the brown tile.

An Asian American man in waders shines a light in the demon’s direction. Weaver shields its eyes and spots an animal control badge on his shirt.

“Kenny” warns the street kid that it is dangerous down here. The man waves a long control pole as he tells the soaking wet teenager there are alligators down here. They killed a friend of his, Kenny adds. The youth lies and says he hasn’t seen any gators. He wandered down here from an spillway.

Kenny leads him out, unaware of the mirror skinned woman trailing him or the silent presence hunting both the intruders.

The Naturalist calls the others and they arrange to meet in front of a bar. Looking to change covers quickly, the demon first finds a homeless man who might make a deal.

The foul smelling individual it finds is scrawling symbols into the cement with a shard of green glass. The Naturalist considers backing away. Instead the demon looks into his desires. The man seeks redemption in the eyes of his master, Terentius of the 11th circle, for losing a scepter. Cautiously from the safety of a nearby alleyway, the Naturalist manifests the copper tendrils that allow it to detect Angels. The man is merely human.

As Dorian, he approaches the beggar. He offers him the phone number of someone who can help redeem the beggar in exchange for his current state for a short time. Cautiously the madman agrees. A new facade in hand, he finds the others.

The Ring regroups and discuss the recent events in front of the bar. The crowds give the two homeless people and the teenage hooligan, most of whom reak of raw sewage, a wide berth. Then Joseph gets a call from Accabish. She explains that she has eyes on the cult leader and directs them to the homeless shelter.

They hurry over as quickly as they can.

The two demons with homeless facades enter a half hour later. Hunter’s old woman, still dripping with sewage, is immediately pointed to the showers. She reluctantly heads in. The Naturalist meanwhile meanders towards Daniel and sits down in front of him. Rocking back and forth in a fetal position, he delivers a rambling message from Sobek and how Daniel must go to the women’s showers.

As the cult leader sneaks into the showers, the Naturalist creates a distraction by screaming about fleas.

Daniel finds Hunter waiting for him. The freshly washed woman smiles at him. As he tries to excuse himself, she greets him and explains she has something to say. Displaying her inhuman strength, she mocks his god and tells Daniel to flee the city. Terrified by her display of power and the growing inhumanity of the old dark woman before him, Daniel flees. The demonic voice of Hunter chases him out of the shelter as well as causing everyone else to hurry from the building.

As the crowd spills out into the street, Accabish and the Naturalist notice a large Nordic man fall to his knees. Accabish manifests her angelic senses and spots the angel Sabek actively enrapturing the man, who clutches a large wooden cross. Realizing the threat, she causes the man to lose track of time. By the time the Angel realizes its new minion is befuddled the Ring has dispersed and doffed their facades.

In the aftermath, the demons make new plans. The cult has begun to destabilize but there are still the tunnels and Sabek’s mission to disrupt. The Naturalist decides to scout the house of the Stanley Company’s founder and learn what it can about them. The Weaver begins building a bomb to take out the Infrastructure under Eastlake or at least its core. Joseph will snoop around the new Anthropology building the Stanley Company constructed.

Privately the Naturalist visits the woman John has been seeing. As Dorian, it asks Jackie for a job application at the coffee shop while flirting with her and tagging her as a Living Recorder. The espionage on the nascent affair expands.

Alligators in the Sewers

March 2012

It began with the bus explosion. At least that’s what everyone agreed to call it. In truth a faceless angel encountered four surprisingly resourceful demons, screaming at them in a voice like wind chimes. Somehow they destroyed it and the bus. A scattering of metallic cylinders were all that remained of it.

After the reporter and police leave, satisfied with their answers, the demons, joined by one more, fall to talking. They discuss recent events, trying to find a pattern behind what they just experienced.

The nerdish Nick Mathers, known as Daemon online and among his fellow Demons, relates the recent upsurge in cult activity. The Weaver uses the name Jean and twirls one of the rods as she listens. Dorian, one of the Naturalist’s covers, nods, occasionally glancing at his watch.

The pair beside that sturdy frat boy have the most to add. Accabish in the guise of the journalist Priscilla had come to interview them but recognized her partner Joseph among the crowd. Joseph explains his investigations into signs of the God-Machine in the area: strange disappearances, four likely murders near the University and even alligator sightings. Priscilla adds that one of her sources dreams of a clockwork brain coming to life. An occult matrix to create some form of Infrastructure is occurring where they live and work.

Priscilla excuses herself to do some research on her own. The others continue to talk, slowly feeling out their unlikely allies.

Joseph in particular seems sceptical of Daemon and his virtual army of cultists. “You have people…in a game.”

Daemon tries to explain who they are but fails to convince the former child soldier of their usefulness. The Weaver tries to help but as hostilities increase, the Naturalist begins treating the two Demons like small children.

Chastized, talk turns to their past interactions and possible connections. Daemon brings up a janitor who seems to be following him. Joseph recalls the lazy coworker, commenting that Bob Jensen must have noticed one of Joseph’s rare indiscretions as well.

The Naturalist looks at its watch again, realizing it was late for work at the bar. With Joseph’s shift starting soon and Weaver needing to head home, they all head to the next bus stop together.

“I’ve got a raid to get to,” Daemon comments as he tags along.

“In a game,” the janitor says sardonically.

Joseph’s eyes shift to a low shape moving down the street. Along with the Naturalist, he watches as the lizard like beast slips down into a storm drain.

The others look on in bewilderment as the large man runs across the street without a word.

“I don’t think we should go over there,” the bartender says.

Joseph stops by the drain to look at something on the ground.

“What’s over there?” the Naturalist shouts.

The dark skinned man points at a small object on the ground.

“Use your words.”

Joseph gives him the finger.

As the demon drew closer they make out the object in the dim light. A finger, colored with red nail polish, sits a few inches from a wide trail of blood.

Daemon and the Weaver examine the trail which stretches from the grate back to a large puddle five feet away. The pattern of wet blood appears consistent with an attack low to the ground. The demons relay their findings along with a disturbing fact. The attack happened moments before, perhaps while they were bickering amongst themselves down the street.

The newly forged Ring places an anonymous call and makes plans to meet up the next night at a dive bar not far from here. Joseph passes a message on to Accabish to join them.

The Weaver returns to Jean’s home, spotting a suspicious green Civic parked across the street. It recalls a similar dingy vehicle there two nights ago. It ignores the threat for now and lets itself inside. Before turning in, it examines the metallic rod again. The metal is strong but surprisingly flexible. Roughly a foot long, it appears to be made of some alloy. It can sense an Aetheric resonance about it. The rod must be some sort of Gadget.

Daemon messages his guild, putting some of them on the task of locating plans to the city’s sewer lines in Eastlake. Then he joins the rest of them in a successful raid. Annoyingly to him, one of his head lieutenants misses the mission. After logging out of WoW, he messages Zanity, the absent member.

Zanity apologizes for her absence. She got caught up studying for the bar exam and forgot to warn the guild. Daemon admonishes her before asking if it would help if she had the questions and answers beforehand. Zanity waffles on taking that risk and though Daemon tempts her, he chooses not to push the issue.

After concluding their conversation, Daemon locates the site where the bar materials are recorded. Using his knowledge of human patterns he quickly picks out the proper password, downloads the answers, and sends them to another member of his cult to deliver to Zanity anonymously. Let her decide, he concludes.

That night as Joseph does his rounds, he spots Bob carting around a small plastic waste paper basket filled with scraps of cardboard and papers. The large man tries to sneak up on the pudgy janitor but Bob spots him and nervously says hello.

Thinking quickly, Joseph offers to take care of the trash for him so he can get back to his scheduled work. Reluctantly Bob hands it over and thanks Joseph.

Inside the Saboteur finds parts of Amazon delivery boxes and other mail, all for Nick Mathers, Daemon’s cover. He spends the evening slowly disposing of the evidence in receptacles throughout campus.

Meanwhile the Naturalist arrives late to Dorian’s bar. Thankfully Stacie, a waitress, covered for him. They exchange pleasantries and she babbles about her various problems. The night has been slow which is good for his tardiness but bad for tips. She also mentions that a cop named Jack Lawrence came by.

After work, the Naturalist doffs his bartender cover and resumes his main identity as Jenny Olson, frustrated housewife. Jenny slips back home, successfully avoiding waking her two toddlers. Rather than risk the stairs, she sleeps on the couch.

Her sleep is fitful, disturbed by a dull vibration. Eventually the Naturalist wakes up and feeling around finds a phone wedged in the cushions. It belongs to John, Jenny’s husband. But the message on it doesn’t ring a bell. A “Jackie” apparently wants to see Jenny’s husband again. Frustrated and tired, the Naturalist tosses the phone across the room.

Next morning over breakfast, Jenny asks John about his evening. Wearing dark glasses to hide her “hangover”, the Naturalist manifests its mind reading abilities. Through copper laced eyes, it senses John’s surface thoughts as he tells Jenny, truthfully, that he watched Netflix last night. It also detects signs that he is hiding something as he deletes the latest text on his phone.

On his way out the door, Jenny gives him a kiss…and supernaturally tags him with an Embed. He hurries off, unaware that he is recording his day for the demon.

Elsewhere as Jean heads in early for work, she stops and turns down an alley. Halfway down the empty path, she walks up to a handleless door. She steps precisely four feet over, reaches forward and opens a gate into nowhere. Once safe in its bolthole, the Weaver forces part of its demonic nature through its cover. Fine threads emerge from Jean’s fingertips as her hair takes on the hue and texture of aged wood.

The Weaver runs its fingers across the rod. It detects iron, aluminum, trace elements and a large amount of element-161. Scrutinizing the gadget closer it slowly unpicks its secrets. After an hour it learns that the gadget is based on an Embed it has never encountered before, one that reveals the presence of any object or being with connections to the God-Machine.

With matter of the faceless angel behind her for now, Accabish looks deeper into her reporter’s dreams. Shaun Wykes remains something of mystery to her, a product of his time in the memory gap that devoured knowledge of Yeslar Terrace for the past several years. She recalls him talking about being troubled by his own memory gaps, such as the origin of a wedding ring on his finger. As Priscilla, she tasks her IT expert Vince to track down more details, especially about a possible marriage.

It takes the morose technician a day to track it down. Shaun married Mary Burton a few years ago, though Vince can’t seem to locate any other details about her. Priscilla seems unconcerned.

She locates a reputable psychiatrist and arranges an appointment. Alexa Harper probes the blog editor’s concerns about the stresses of her job but Accabish easily avoids raising suspicions. She also slips a listening device beneath her chair, preparing the way for her scheme.

After arranging a follow up session, Priscilla contacts Shaun and convinces him to meet with “her therapist” to deal with his missing time.

In the meantime, Priscilla begins work on relaunching the Slog’s gossip column. One of her writers, Jane, volunteers to spearhead the research into what new trends are out there and how they might rebrand the Slog. Priscilla explains she’s looking for an interesting new spin.

After hours, she contacts her police contacts to learn more about the disappearances last year. Lt. Jack Lawrence is friendly but not very helpful. There were three deaths in the wetlands near the University last year, apparently by invasive snakehead fish. Tom Kobo disappeared around the same time but no clues have surfaced since then. If he also died out there then the construction crews that filled in the wetlands for the school’s new museum would have uncovered him.

Jack also dismisses the rumors of alligators, suggesting a mangy dog or perhaps one of these nasty fish could be the culprit. In any case animal control is looking into it.

Next she hits the streets. A young man in a blue sports jacket tells her that lots of people have gone missing in Eastlake: homeless, prostitutes, even a few members of his gang. He’s seen reptilian creatures climbing in and out of the sewers at night. Some people say there is a weird cult down there worshipping the things. He also mentions a strange disease that’s been affecting people around here, scratching at some scaly skin as he talks. She gets him to pinpoint where he’s seen the animals on a map and thanks him for his help.

The demon works late into the night: researching snakehead fish and the sightings that Vince compiled for her. She find a surge in encounters with the fish in 2009 but they have dropped off significantly since. After talking to an ecoactivist named Yolanda O’Meally, she is convinced that the snakeheads are not an invasive species. The reporter encourages the young woman to investigate further. Next Accabish looks at the work near the University and everything she can find on the sewers.

There she finds the link.

The Stanley Company did the filling in of the wetlands near the school. They are also handling a series of renovation projects in Eastlake, particularly ones dealing with the sewers.

A few days later she listens in on Shaun Wykes’s therapy session. It starts innocently enough but soon veers in a strange and disturbing direction. He begins to talk about his dreams: visions of swamps, pyramids, and a clockwork machine coming to life in the muck. He rambles about ancient conspiracies and inhuman gods. Alexa books a second session for him.

Despite a decade long smoking ban, the bar still stinks. The demons do not let any disgust show. They compare their findings about the rod, the rumors, and the Stanley Company’s probable involvement. Joseph lets Daemon know about Bob’s activities.

As the others talk, the Naturalist watches the crowd. The couple in the booth behind the demon excitedly talk about an upcoming meeting. In hushed tones they mention a man with supernatural powers, a trip into the sewers and the dreams that propel them forward.

Then they stop, staring at the man whose head is craning over them. Sheepishly, the demon smooths things over with a quick apology and some free beer. They accept it after telling him, gently, to keep to his own business.

The Naturalist turns back to the others and switching to an obscure language, fills them in on what it just heard. It convinces Jospeh to tail them and text Dorian if and when they enter the sewers.

The couple soon leave and the powerful Rwandan follows, his skin turning mirror-like and his eyes softly glowing green as soon as he is out of sight of the bar.

As the Naturalist presumed, they enter the sewers. Joseph texts Dorian.

By this time, the bartender had made his way to work. Excusing himself, Dorian heads to the bathroom and locks the door. The Naturalist’s eyes go white as the demon scries the couple and their journey through the sewers.

The tunnels grew stranger as they go deeper and deeper. Strange writing appears on the walls and a red glow appears ahead of them. Eventually the man and woman reach a small crowd of people listening to a dark skinned man with black eyes. He leads them in a ceremony within a large chamber somewhere beneath the city. The Naturalist recognizes it as part of some Infrastructure.

The man tells them of the power of Sobek, the need to survive, and how they will feed those deemed unworthy to the sacred beasts within these tunnels. The Naturalist makes careful note of each of their faces. As the ceremony concludes, the leader reveals the power of their patron by turning his head into that of an alligator!

The Naturalist ends the vision and sends a mass text to the Ring, calling them to an emergency meeting at a local diner after Dorian’s shift ends.

Six hours later, the demons, tired or not, arrive. The Naturalist reveals what it saw.

The Weaver comments that Sobek sounds familiar. It worked in ancient Egypt with an Angel called Sabek. The crocodile headed figure was very indirect in his missions, especially for a Psychopomp, focused on its survival and that of its projects. In terms of capabilities, it recalls Sabek was of middling power.

Joseph finds this new information quite motivating while the Weaver and Daemon remain curious. The Naturalist works on sketches of the people it spotted, worrying about its level of involvement. Accabish stops the demon as it finishes an attractive older woman. She recognizes her, a bureaucrat named Donna who is trying to blackmail her. Then Joseph proposes exploring the sewers and finding the site the cult met at. But he will need the Naturalist’s help…