Cast of Characters
The team gets a peaceful rest under the overwatch of Duchess’ raccoon spirit who parts ways at sunrise. The team opts to head back to the campground and pick up the trail again. Under Walker’s lead they follow the trail leading to the burnt remains of a CFS Ranger station.
While checking the area and remains of the building, a twisted and corrupted Spirit of Man arises from the building remains. The spirit, covered in boils and oozing sores, appears humanoid but the limbs are unnatural proportions and twisted in a grotesque mockery of metahumanity.
Eternal is undeterred and immediately draws his monoblade, charges in, and in short order the team quickly dispatches the stray spirit.
Afterwards, Walker again picks up a bit of the trail to get a relative direction of where the attack came from. From here, the team decides to check the most recent known attack, and make their way up to a hiker’s aid station in the northeast of the area.
Taking the jeeps as far as they can off-road, the team then heads on foot, with Sledge to look after the jeeps. On the way, Walker takes a call from the Johnson. The Johnson is interested to hear their progress and continues to prod into what the team has encountered and found so far. He also, several times, reinforces that there’s no need to worry about his research stations. Suspicious from the call, the team sends off a message to Tatters to see if he can do some investigation into the Johnson (based on the information that he’s a researcher at Stanford).
The team reaches the aid station, and finds similar graffiti and damage to the area. There is some anti-Wuxing graffiti and Eternal notices that the map of the area posted for hikers has marks made at each of the locations that have been attacked. Two marks also appear at the known locations of the research stations in the north.
Once again, Walker follows the trail, this time a long distance until they get to the main road. Losing track of where the trail is picked up on the other side of the road, the team heads to regroup with the jeeps. On the way back to the jeeps, Raccoon and a few team members end up snickering at Duchess, who has strangely had a portion of the back of her dress turn brown.
Upon reaching the jeeps, Tatters has turned up some information that the Johnson is indeed a researcher at Stanford with a large grant from Wuxing, and his CV predominantly shows research into how environmental factors can affect mana & the astral.
Heading back to the road, Walker makes another attempt at finding the trail, and finally picks up where they re-entered the woods. They follow the trail a short bit to get an idea of direction again.
Before it gets dark, Eternal opts to climb a tree and see if he can spot any signs of recent activity, and does see some faint plumes of smoke to the southwest, likely near the logging camps. The team again takes the jeeps as far as they safely can, before moving the rest of the way on foot.
Eternal scouts ahead of the group, moving quietly through the forest. The first camp is quiet, although destroyed. Several large drones are busted, chemicals leaking out, some drums of chemicals damaged and leaking. Seeing no movement, he moves to get a view of the second recent attack and spots a mutated or diseased mountain lion gorging on a corpse. As the team starts to catch up, he fires a shot from his sniper rifle, causing the big cat’s head to explode instantly. At Ace’s request, Eternal provides him with the paw from the beast.
The team finds and helps a survivor who relates some of the attack and the team once again gets an idea of the angle of attack and retreat the TerraFirst! group used. Given the time, everyone retreats to the jeeps and settles down to rest for the night.