Friday, November 7, 2014

dollhouse ep02 : Orpheus

10/12/2014
dollhouse

Episode Two
"The Shadow"

Orpheus

Shepherd awakes from a terrible dream echoing the events that lead to his death.  In his panicked attempt to save more homeless people from being beaten to death, he unleashes his Wail and destroys some of the objects in his vicinity.  He awakens to see Kate Dennison attempting to wake him and everyone else dodging to the side to avoid the destructive sonic blast that tears through the wallpaper, tables and chairs and floor tiles.  Most of Kate's clothes have been torn away.  She covers herself and thankfully, does not look too injured.  Shepherd tumbles out of the room in shame, confused that he even fell asleep.   Ellie Baker is impressed that his voice can even do that.  Wendell Pruce and Misha Rusanov explain Shepherd had used that ability even before.  The training session is moved to tomorrow and they are instead to have an exercise with John Carruthers later in the day.  When Wendell asks what happened and if Shepherd was sleeping, Kate explains Spirits do usually rest within things important to them.  Misha mentions to Ellie that he actually visited the Terrel and Squibb agent, Karen Adams, and is happy to see they are recovering.  Ellie happily shares the power was fucking awesome and adds she is trying to add swear words nowadays when she talks because she read online that people who swear are more awesome.

In the cafeteria, Wendell finds himself bumping into Alexander Carter's Crucible - all of them are now sporting office clothing like him.  Taking a detour, Wendell turns to the counter and finds Red, the Cafeteria head cook filling a tray with food she has prepared.  "A good agent should stay healthy.  This worked for the pigs.  It should work for you."  Wendell stares at the mound of corn, carrots, oats, pretzels and other things.  She even throws in a bottle of Pocari Sweat, adding how Carter mentioned Wendell loved licking sweat.  Wendell thanks Red, choosing not to explain how it was meant to be an insult.  Alexander joins him at the counter and tries asking about the Crucible, asking how things are working out.  He insults Wendell on his clothing being very... homeless chic, and tells him he's been monitoring the operations of the different groups and he's noticed Wendell's group isn't quite performing that well.    Red comes up and brings Wendell a second bowl, "Because you are special."

Wendell wonders how he will eat it all.

Misha takes his bicycle to head home, which is an apartment not too far away.  He sees an Mrs. Rosenberg at the common area and she seems terrified, clutching at her clothes tightly.  She gasps when Misha touches her shoulder and after a brief struggle to recall his name admits she is surprised to see him home.  She glances at the door leading to his flat, and tells him she will be well. She ushers him to go on ahead.  Misha heads upstairs and discovers someone has broken into his flat.  He sees the partly open fire exit window and a still-lit cigarette outside.  Sitting on the chair near his computer, Misha projects out of his body and peers to see who is there.  He finds Natalie Wick there, his ex-girlfriend whom he had broken up with in the past when she felt she could not handle all these secrets he keeps.  She has a large duffle bag beside her as she struggles to open a broken soda can.  As Misha slides back into his body, Natalie slides the window open and sees him.  She gasps and rushes to him, hugging him tight as she calls out his name.  She tells him that she is in town and is shocked to see the state he is in.  He tries to brush it off as a small accident, and she even asks if it was because of the bike he rides to work.  He notices how worries she is of him but opts not to say anything. The two clearly still have emotional ties connecting them.

Natalie mentions she was hoping to have a place to crash for a few days, and carefully tries to ask if Misha might be seeing anyone.  Misha offers his place, admitting he has another place where he can stay in for free.  When Natalie is surprised to learn he has a job, he explains the job he has is still the same one that lead to their break up.  It throws an uneasy moment between them. "That's.... that's nice."  She explains she is just waiting for some money and that's the only reason why she has to crash for a bit.  Misha offers to lend her money but she turns it down.  Misha gathers clothes and things he will need while he moves to Orpheus for a bit.  The three occasionally glance at each other.

"Ghosts, huh?" Natalie finally asks, and Misha realizes that Natalie has finally heard about Orpheus from the media.  "It is even on Ellen. She was talking about speaking to dead loved ones and the like.  You really working for that company?"  Misha admits he cannot really say anything. Natalie wonders aloud if they are actually spies, and compares them to the television show Alias.  And even teases that if Misha talks, they probably would cut his finger off or something.  Misha finds a message though telling him to head back to the "headquarters" for an operation.  When Natalie complains about the secrecy again, they end up talking about their break-up.  Natalie asks if the company is more important than her.  But Misha complains that he didn't look for her after the break up because she told him not to do so!   Misha picks her up, holds her in his arms, and tells him he has to go to work.  Out of habit, Misha gives Natalie a kiss on her forehead before he leaves.  Natalie calls out from the window as Misha walks out with the bike that maybe he doesn't have to stay in the company.  "Think about it, okay?"

Shepherd is talking to Craig Forest about what just happened.  Craig explains that its not uncommon for Spirits to sleep and even dream, despite not having a body.  More so for hues.  Resting allows them to replenish lost Vitality.  Craig asks Shepherd if he has identified his Tethers and he admits he has figured out what is keeping him from moving on.  Craig suggests maybe he should try revisiting them.  The nightmares may be clues on what he should do to reconnect with those important to him. "Let's face it, we are dead.  But the fact we are still around here shows we have a lot to think about."  Shepherd is wondering if its possible to be tethered to the act, his murder, instead of to an object.   Craig shifts the topic to weird sightings.  He asks if the word "Bishop" means anything to him and Shepherd admits having heard of stories about the bogeyman who supposedly has killed off an entire team of Projectors.  Rumor has it someone found a bishop chest piece in one of the cradles.  Shepherd wonders if that's some sort of a calling card.  Or a message.

A chirp sounds.  Craig draws out a broken cellphone that looks half-melted and cracked.  The screen flickers on and upon seeing the message on it, Craig pulls aside to take the call.  Shepherd is amazed to see it is made of gauze.  "Reach out and touch someone..."  Craig excitedly tells John that Shepherd nearly stripped Kate of all her clothes, and ignores John's protests of not being interested in women. Craig tells Shepherd that John's training session is cancelled for now; a mission has come up and their team is being called.

Wendell looks up to see the Carter group in front of his table. All dressed in suits, the group talk about being able to afford better food.  They tell him they are heading to another operation, "Our fifth straight success."  "Then again, you wouldn't know anything about being straight."  As the group breakas into a laugh, Wendell stares coldly at the one to threw the joke and asks, "Do we have a problem?"  The group goes quiet.  Alexander ushers his group to head off as he tells Wendell, "You know you'd show much more promise if you didn't distract yourself with so much dick."

"Well you'd show more promise if you weren't such a dick," Wendell snarls back.   Red feels hurt about Wendell not enjoying his food, mentioning that if he really liked his food, he would have used his tongue to wipe his lip, not the tissue.  Wendell sees the pager message for the Mission and heads to the room to find the others.

In the room, an older woman is enjoying her cigarettes while she is seated by the window.  Ellie seems to be trying to share with her the stories of the previous missions, but though she is looking at Ellie, she does not seem to be paying any real attention to her.  Wendell and Shepherd arrive to see the two and quickly recognize that the woman with the cigarette is actually a fully projected and manifested woman. 

"That's nice dear... that's nice."

Shepherd peers to Detect her Nature Group and finds it to be different from his.  Ellie introduces the woman to the others as Fiona, but the woman explains, "Ellie is it? I would have really prefer to be addressed as Mrs. Parker."  The woman addresses Wendell and asks directly if he's a Sleeper, noticing the scars on his inner elbow and the slight bruising from the medication.  She identifies Shepherd as the leader of the group and admits she was tasked to work with the group to see if she will synch well with the Crucible. She tells them she is a Skinrider.  Each time she ends a cigarette, she lights a new one.  While Projected, it seems, is the best time to smoke. She asks Wendell if he is hoping to jump, from Sleeper to Skimmer, and he tells her he's fine.  He offers her some corn, sarcastically, and she declines it knowing its from Red's cafeteria.  "You have been around long," Wendell remarks.    Fiona admits she's been under for four days now.

Kate Dennison arrives, followed by an apologetic Misha, who introduces them formally to Fiona Parker.  Fiona questions Kate if this is a good idea given the group seems to be very fresh.  Kate asks Shepherd if it will be a problem and Shepherd says it hasn't become a problem so far.  Fiona does find it a surprise to see Misha working with them, surprised to find former "enemies" working for them.  The group is puzzled if she's referring to his being a Russian.

Mission #0605

Mission Type: Intelligence Gathering, Covert
A dark shadowy figure supposedly has been stalking Taylor Gleason, 9-year old son of James and Heather Gleason, residents of 56th-Fern Rose Wall Homes.  The  father believed it to be simply an imaginary friend until the wife claimed to have seen a smiling face reflected behind her while she was working on the computer.  The mission is fully covert and none of them are to be seen by the clients, especially the son.

Fiona raises however that there have been some cases of children still being able to see Projected entities despite being unmanifested.  Kate suggests that if there are no alternatives, Ellie might have to take care of the child.  Misha adds that as a Sandman, she can put the child to sleep.  Fiona offers that Wendell, as a Wisp, can bring them in, but Shepherd counters that might be too taxing.  Wendell is amused that they are actually planning this time.  There are rumors that a pedophile priest once lived in the subdivision as well.

The plan is to have Ellie go in first, lull the child to sleep.  The rest of the team then project from across the street and make their way in.  Being residents of a private community, the group realizes they will have to deal with the guard at the gate.

Fiona asks if they are close enough to hear each others' thoughts and they admit they can't.  She is thankful that she won't feel out of place too much.  Shepherd tells Wendell to go online and search for information on the place but he reminds him that he and Ellie both have to head down to the cradles and get started on being brought under.   Misha offers to try searching online via Google.  Ellie excitedly wonders aloud if the techs can ensure they all have cradles next to each other.

Fiona admits this is the sixth group she has joined, with the previous five all failing to work out.  The last group she tried was the Carter group.  Shepherd asks about her life prior to Orpheus and she tells him she was a very caring mother, but her daughter blinded herself to reach for ambitions... or maybe she used to own a circus and collected freaks for a living.  Maybe she used to belong to a coven of witches, or used to be a nun.  The truth is she used to be in a home for the last seven years.  They left for some foreign company and they died in a plane crash, with her inheriting everything.  She hates how they died before she could get the last laugh.  Somehow she had possessed the nurse that same night and felt what it was like to be young for a day.  She was resuscitated and learned she must have done what they called Projecting. She could not relearn how to skim, however.  So now she's a Sleeper.

Misha's research finds a possible name for the pedophile priest: John Montgomery.  He also finds that the former tenants of the house were an Elmer and Anita Dune.  Oddly, these former tenants do not show any clear online traces.  No public posting nor social pages.  Nothing that stands out.  The house is also deep inside the subdivision, and the group realizes it might be better to bring the van inside and project from there.  But among the rich and famous, the Dunes did not seemingly have that much of an online presence.  When he searches for information on Father Montgomery, there are a lot of posts from a man who seems to have repeatedly been asked if he's related to the said priest: many posts are from him denying he is related to the priest.  Misha tries to message the man directly, and creates a profile on the site ATM4EVER.  When the man starts chatting back, Misha starts to realize the lawyer is just some guy who seems to be into... more interesting sexual practices... and the man clearly is in the site for some other reason. The man does share that around the 3rd of November, emails tend to flood him asking if he was the pedophile.  The man starts a video chat and things take an odd direction.  Realizing this was a dead-end, Misha logs out before the man gets too feisty. Cross referencing the name with November 3, however, he finds a forum post asking about a priest raping kids at that date.  The forum is locked up.  Shepherd takes the chance to apologize to Kate about what happened and she admits the dreams can be hard to discern between visions at times for Banshees. She also shares that the client used to work for Terrel and Squibb and that might be a reason

Wendell catches a glance of Fiona's sleeping body in the Cradle and realizes why the woman is very attached to staying projected.  Her aging body is barely recognizable as her own, with a folded wheelchair nearby.  He joins the others and the group soon makes their way to the subdivision to begin their Mission.  Fiona does share her concern that she's not sure how she can help being a Skinrider and the mission is supposed to stay covert.  Shepherd reminds Fiona to be sure to move away any other pedestrians in the area.  Misha shares the information he's gathered and the group learns of Montgomery, the pedophile's activities, and the marriage announcements.  Shepherd considers that if Smiler turns out to be violent, they will have to consider fumigation.  Fiona asks what the plan is if Smiler is a projector. Wendell is disgusted at the concept of a skimming pedophile. Ellie arrives and seems excited with her idea for the group to have a name based on their first letters.  As they drive, they drive past some people screaming as they run from an alleyway.  They glimpse a horse-headed man in the alleyway but think its just because its almost Halloween.

The first hurdle is the distance of the house from outside the subdivision.  They realize they have to go inside.  To get past the security at the gate, Fiona possess the guard.    Misha tries to lie to the guard but Fiona just tells him to get inside.  Shepherd tells her to follow after five minutes.  Fiona directs them to a blindspot among the security cameras, then finds a way to delete the tapes. When Ellie and Wendell consider walking ahead, Shepherd starts barking orders.  Ellie teases that he's Carter-ing on them.  They go ahead.  Misha starts to worry what is taking Fiona so long.  Shepherd goes back to check on her while Misha skims and keeps watch of the vicinity around the van.

Wendell and Ellie see the house is still lit up.  Ellie gets shushed by Wendell who reminds her they are in a mission; she stops chatting about movies and shows she's been seeing.  Misha stares at the distance at where Shepherd had gone, and he never notices the dark shadowy figure that stares at him from behind.  Slowly, the shadow moves closer to Misha.   Shepherd catches the guard furiously masturbating, and then realizes Fiona releases her hold on the body and head back to him with a smirk on her face.  As it turns out, she trained the camera to record him doing that and in effect taped over their arrival.  Shepherd has to admit it was good work.  When Fiona quizzes his not liking teams, he admits not relying on one means one doesn't get disappointed.

As the team monitors the family secretly, Wendell and Ellie keep tabs on the parents as they finish their chores and prepare for bed.  James Gleason seems unawares of their arrival. Heather Gleason, they learn is having some kind of an affair, with secret messages of meeting up being proposed.  The kid is carried by James to his room to tuck him into bed.  Wendell follows inside and sees the two have a tickle-fest on the bed.  As expected, the kid seems to sense Wendell in the room.  Wendell tries to ignore the sexual tension on seeing how fit the father looks as he checks under the bed, as well as in the closet.  The dad steps inside, and doesn't step out immediately.  The kid is getting worried, but when Wendell peeks through the closet to see what's going on, the Dad is looking at a cellphone message "Yes I will be online tonight.  Catch you online."  When he steps out, the dad slips the phone back on the table and tucks the kid in bed.  He grabs the phone back before he leaves the room.  Wendell stays to watch the kid in bed.

Misha turns and finds Ellie staring straight at him.  Ellie reports the house seems normal.  She shares her observations and even adds how the dad looks fit.  Fiona and Shepherd return, with Fiona worrying that there might be some truth about her being a Vitality sink to groups she used to be with. Ellie shares her findings and Fiona opts to stay in the van.  The three others make their way towards the house.  Wendell realizes that it is Heather who has plans to stay awake and remain online to chat with the man she is having an affair with; some guy nicknamed E.  James was peering into her cellphone!  Heather lies about having work to do tonight and James decides to let her lie slide for now.  Ellie is sent upstairs to make both parents fall asleep with her Sandman powers.    Misha tries summoning a dog in the area and finds a ghost dog he feels an affinity to.  He names the ghost dog Geek.  Misha plays with the ghost dog and it barks out in excitement.

While the group spread out, it is Wendell who notices there is a dark shadow in the room.   Wendell tries to move to get a better view of it and discovers the shadow is of a smiling face in the darkness.  The Smiler slowly turns to face Wendell as well!    The spirit dog's bark is heard and Wendell is surprised to see the boy peer out from under the sheets. Did he hear the dog?  The boy suddenly addresses Wendell, asking him if he sees the Smiler too.  Wendell claims this is just a dream, and the boy asks if Wendell is an angel since his mother claims an angel will protect him from danger.  Ellie steps towards the mother who is busy at the computer and she causes her to fall asleep.  She falls asleep with her face on the keyboard, leaving it typing the letter F over and over again.  Shepherd whistles and glimpses the future: What is going to happen in the next few minutes?  Shepherd sees visions of things falling from the second floor of the house, soundless and almost weightless.  He sees an almost naked man screaming at the street.  He sees a pale, blonde woman grabbing his shoulders to ask for help.  And that moment, a blonde woman suddenly manifests in front of Shepherd!  Misha moves quickly and blocks her from touching Shepherd.    Her hair is in tatters.  Embers of smoke seem to dance around her.  She panickedly talks about not being able to find her body.  She recognizes them to be from Orpheus.  Shepherd quickly attempts to calm her with a soothing sound from his whistle.  Immediately, the woman goes calm and tells them her name is Alia Green, she works for Orpheus, and she cannot find her body.  "It is still standing right?  Orpheus hasn't been destroyed?"

Wendell and the boy talk about staying calm with the boy admitting he wants to call for his dad.  When Smiler takes a step towards the boy, Wendell uses his Unearthly Repose to try to lure the Smiler away.  Wendell convinces the boy to close his eyes, then makes his glow even more irresistible.  The Smiler begins to follow Wendell. Wendell allows himself to slip through the floor, and the Smiler begins to follow.. fulfilling the vision Shepherd had seen.  Outside, Misha heads to the house to assist the others.  Shepherd tries to talk to Alia and asks her to share everything she can remember.  Alia panics however when he offers they go to the van.  Her hands distort and twist into massive fists.  Shepherd recognizes the Stain identified as Hammerfists! Shepherd tries to sense her Nature her connect but fails.  Still, he tries to help her but soon they realize she may not be remembering things well.  She even mumbles about having all been volunteers.

The Smiler reveals its distorted form, like a blackened stretched out figure.  Misha tries asking for its identity, but it does not reply.  Wendell increases the Unearthly Repose to try and lure it, but worries even the others might be affected.  They try to lure the Smiler out of the house, but it seems to refuse to leave.  Wendell increases the intensity of the beckoning power of his Unearthly Repose to do his best to lure the monstrosity away from the child.    Misha turns away in time and resists.  The Smiler's long arms reach for the ceiling, but the light makes it reconsider pulling itself back up through the ceiling.  As the Smiler moves past Misha, he tugs on the black gauze sheet covering the Smiler to reveal the body underneath.

Shepherd enters the house and sees the glow coming from Wendell.  He calls out to the others for an update and the others inform him of the thing they have lured out of the house.  The black cloth turns out to be part of the Smiler itself... an inverted cassock.  The Smiler is the ghost of the priest, Father Montgomery.  Wendell grabs hold of the Smiler and Stormwends it away from the house to the area near the van.  The Smiler realizes what's happening and tries to resist but its too late.  They emerge much further away and Montgomery shoves Wendell away from him.  Misha and Geek rush out to join them.  Looking around, Shepherd assesses the situation and sees the others now by the van.  His gaze focuses on Montgomery to try to detect its nature.

The young boy swings the window open from above, curious to the many voices he can hear.  Misha calls at Ellie to take care of the kid and she hurries to get to him.  Shepherd's gaze uncovers that Montgomery is of a different Nature grouping.  Wendell calls for Fiona to help!  Misha tries to talk to Montgomery, and it seems surprised that someone knows who he is.  Fiona reaches through the van's wall and clamps her grip on the priest, then tackles him to the ground.  Ellie emerges by the window, fully manifested, and plants her hand on Taylor's head to force him back to sleep.  Misha twists his gauze hands into tentacles to pin Montgomery down and calls for Shepherd to head back.  But the figure on the ground screams out blackfire and the terrible Stain rips into Misha and Fiona's gauze.  Misha rolls away in time to avoid the flames.  Fiona shifts her Vitality to protect herself through Juggernaut.  Wendell, unaware of Juggernaut's power, leaps into the way to protect her.  He shunts the damage his gauze takes to his sleeping body.  Shepherd runs forward, growing in size, as his Brutish form emerges.  Misha transforms his tentacles into Hammerfists, ready to support Shepherd's charge.  In pain, Wendell brings forth his Martyred Stain and returns the pain he took back to Montgomery!  Somehow, the pain causes the black stuff to get sucked back into Montgomery, revealing the lean, tired looking spirit of the priest behind.

Hammerfists pound into the priest, immobilizing him with tremendous blows.   Fiona rolls her eyes, mumbling how she thought she was supposed to be the muscle.  Wendell asks them all about why the priest for that moment shifted into the human form.  Right now, however, he retains the Smiley face once again.  Misha attempts to sense his Nature Group and finds a match: Montgomery is a Marrow.  Ellie pulls back, not wanting to see the Smiley's face.   Misha asks what he wants with the boy, but the Smiley does not respond.  Wendell focuses his will and unleashes a powerful charismatic glow, hoping to force the thing to respond.  The empowered words of Wendell begin to reach Smiley... even reaching THROUGH Smiley to the point the darkness pulls back and Montgomery is brought back to the fore.  His sunken eyes and thin gauze makes them realize he's barely present.  His gauze has been thinned by so much Spite.

"They all think its me..."

A chat box appears on the screen in the computer upstairs.  A message for Heather.  But she isn't there to reply.

Montgomery tries to explain they all thought it was him to was taking the children.  But he's the only one who understands it was the house who is after the boy.  The group tries to understand what is going on.  Shepherd quickly Forebodes to see what he means.  Another message appears in the computer: I'm coming over.

"You knew who hurt those boys," Misha asks, "Who was it?" The Priest cries out "It was me!" and Blackfire erupts once more from his lips.  Fiona pulls Wendell out of the way.  Misha takes the brunt of it.  The Priest begins to weep about the house forcing him to take the children.  About the house forcing him to make those terrible crimes.   Shepherd's Forebode sees James going down the corridor to see Heather at the computer when the door slams shut.  The Forebode sees Ellie laughing at the light switch she accidentally shutting it by mistake, not seeing the chair slam into her.  And the third scene unfolds as Shepherd sees the visual: the very house shuts itself down, locking itself closed from the Crucible.

"Guys, there is a Haunter in that house!" Shepherd announces.  Fiona mutters how bad things are going to get.  Misha reminds them a possessed place cannot be passed through and remarks it looks like a powerful one.  Ellie is suddenly displayed by the window, suspended by electric cables that hold her bound.  She can't break free or pass through the objects.  Wendell tries to use his Unearthly Repose to reach out to the House, warning the rest to look away.  Shepherd throws a Benefit to help Wendell with his Forebode, cementing the beginning of what would become their Crucible.  With Vitality-empowered words, Wendell speaks to the house and asks it who it is.  The house responds and claims the children are all his.  The Crucible realizes it is Elmer Dune, the former tenant.

"You will not touch MY children!"

Father Montgomery admits Dune has been making him take the children away for years.  Forces him to hide the children away in the house.  The house seemingly becomes transparent as Elmer shares his time with each of the children.  Images are shown of the children playing with the man, or doing even more... disturbing things.  Elmer commits suicide the day Montgomery confronts the him to stop doing what he did.  The child, however, wrote Father Montgomery's name in Elmer's blood and this leads the police to believe the Father was behind the abductions, and even murdered Elmer Dune.

Misha, realizing Ellie is still in danger, attempts to mentally reach her.  He recalls the information he had read about some Crucibles becoming so bonded that they begin to share thoughts with one another.  To his surprise, it works!  Misha suggests that Ellie create illusions of the kids he is obsessing over. Ellie finds it confusing how Misha has a British accent in her head.  Almost like some kind of telepathic chain reaction, more of them start to connect in the mental link.  Fiona and Wendell somehow link up with Misha and Ellie as well!  When Misha shares the plan she has in mind for Ellie, Wendell considers doing it himself. Montgomery turns to Shepherd asking for his help to save the boy.  As the priest rushes forward, Shepherd peers with Forebode once more to see what Elmer might do in the coming hour.  He sees the House shaking upon its Foundations and falling into pieces as Montgomery tears a figure out of it.  Seeing that, Shepherd opens his eyes and see Montgomery plunging his hands into the House as he cries out Never Again with blackfire dancing between his words.

Shepherd tells Wendell that Montgomery is about to pry the child out of the house and it will cause the house to collapse!  Misha realizes the client is still inside and staying covert might no longer work in their favor.  Shepherd runs forward, fully Manifesting to barrel down the door.  But a pair of hands clamp down on his shoulders, and Fiona throws Shepherd hurls him backwards.  Wendell conjures images of the kids, and has them appear by his side. "Are these the kids you are looking for?" he tells Elmer.    Fiona apologizes to Shepherd and tells them they've been planning something in their heads, and is annoyed to realize he really doesn't hear her thoughts.  She tells them they are drawing Elmer out with the illusions.  Wendell even mimes hugging the children.  The house begins to shift red, angered by the image before him.  Electricity dances through the floor and walls.  An arc of electricity hits the ground nearby.  Elmer warns him to leave the children be or the next one hits them.  In response, Wendell has the children run away in fear.  "It's all your fault, Elmer!  You scared them away!"  Even Fiona begins chanting the same thing, chiding Shepherd for not getting in with the program.  Inside, a light show of electricity bounces all around.  Shepherd finally connects mentally with the group when Fiona curses in the link about how frustrating it is that he isn't part of it.  Wendell shares how he attempted to lure Elmer out with the illusion of the children but it failed.  

And that's when Montgomery makes the illusion real.  Ellie shares with the group what transpired:  skeletons of the missing children began to force their way out of hiding places in the house and marched their way out of the structure.  Somehow, the dead had risen from the ground and began marching into Montgomery's body and merging with his form.  As the last skeletal body crawls into Montgomery's chest, Elmer screams out "No!"  The priest has attempted to sever the last tether of the Haunter, but he has no Vitality left to do it.  And the group has no way to empower him to do it.



"Stop me.." Montgomery screams as he taps into all the Spite within him to draw the Vitality he needs.  A shaft of light erupts outwards from the darkness of the Smiler's face and tears through the house.  The Haunter screams as the last Tether is severed... but not without a terrible price.  Montgomery is gone.  In his place stands a ten foot tall obsidian monstrosity with tentacles and undulating darkness.  An eternal smile is on its face.    It turns to look at all of them and motions to all of them a farewell, then quickly vanishes into the night.

"Are we stopping this?" Ellie screams!

"How?" Misha admits he has never seen this before.

Wendell tries delaying it of a moment, glowing enough to cause the Spectre to pause.  Shepherd unleashes a powerful Wail at the thing.  In the frenetic pace, there is no time to avoid the area effect of the Horror.  Shepherd stops the assault when he realizes it has struck his friends as well.  The Smiler gives them the sign of the cross, then vanishes as it spreads out as a swarm on the ground. The mission is somewhat a success.  The client knows nothing of what happened, but thankfully, they have succeeded in dispelling the Smiler.  

"Let's just hope whatever that Father has become, it isn't a Jason," Fiona's thoughts mumble, and all hear.  The mental link is going to be something they all have to get to used to.

*

During debriefing, Kate Dennison hears from each of them about the events and seems to be very surprised that they worked well with Fiona Parker.   Shepherd does admit he feels they have not seen the last of Montgomery.  Kate admits being curious to what he did.  The walking skeleton thing was definitely more than just an illusion.  Kate does reassure them that the mental link is probably just wide open right now because it is too new.  It should... filter out better in time.

Shepherd asks if Orpheus had an agent called Alia, and describes what she can of her.  Kate admits she will have to check the files but she does not recall anyone by that name.  Shepherd shares that the woman claimed Orpheus was no longer standing, and that she disappeared.  Kate promises to check the records.  Shepherd feels she was trying to warn them about something.  He tells Kate how Alia claimed to be unable to find her own body.    How Alia was afraid that he was one of those who betrayed them.    She couldn't even find where the Orpheus building was supposed to be standing, for some reason.

*

When alone, Kate Dennison does try checking.  To her surprise, when she attempts the search the computers show no sign of such an Agent being in the roster.    She attempts different spelling approaches and finds nothing.  Finally, she does find a match but to her surprise, her clearance is not high enough to see it. Kate visits the Cradles, searching for anyone with that name but finds nothing.  Kate wonders if there really is a projector who cannot find her way back to her body, lost somewhere in the city.

Kate meets with one of the higher ups, calling for a quick meeting.  None see John stormwend into the office while Kate keeps them busy.  None see him dig through the files and place things back the way he saw them.  None see the two  meet up again later to discuss their findings: Alia Green was in the records.  And her body was supposed to be in a Cradle in a certain location.  But in the basement where the Cradles are, Kate and John find an empty spot.  Both are confused why she couldn't just ripcord, why even more odd, why she couldn't find the building.  When a techie approaches them to ask if they need help, Kate gives an excuse that the two were merely discussing their plans for the upcoming party.  The techie reminds them to tell the new guys.






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