Scenario Author: Allan Goodall
Write-up Author: Allan Goodall
Run Date: July 22, 2006
Game System: Chaosium's Basic RolePlaying (BRP)
Keeper: Allan Goodall
Characters: Gabriel Dodge, codename MALCOLM (Jason Gallagher); Joshua Frost, codename MORGAN (Jimmy Pope); Carson Kovac, codename MAYA (Alana Goodall)
Note: Hurricane Katrina timeline items were taken from the Hurricane Katrina Timeline article on the Shreveport Times web site (no longer available) and from Salon's Katrina Timeline article.
"I had this dream where I relished
The fray and the screaming that filled my head all day"
- The Tragically Hip, "Nautical Disaster" (1994)
Lafayette Cemetery Number 1 lies between Prytania St. on the north and Coliseum St. on the south. It's western boundary is 6th Street and its eastern boundary is Washington Avenue. Agent MAYA thought that there were entrances off both 6th St. and Washington, so she took them to the Washington entrance as that would be closer.
A large tree limb blocked the cemetery's gates, which hung open. Her flashlight showed that while it was spared flooding, the old cemetery had suffered from wind damage. Tombstones had been knocked over. Flying debris had knocked holes in the outer walls, and had damaged several of the stone mausoleums characteristic of New Orlean's cemeteries (New Orleans' water table was too high for underground burial).
The gate opened with a squeak. They dropped the rubber raft near the gate. MALCOLM placed the motor in the raft. They wanted the boat within easy reach, in case they had to leave the cemetery in a hurry. MAYA led the way, followed by MORGAN, then MALCOLM. The damage to the cemetery saddened MAYA, but she was glad that it had at least escaped the flood. They walked down a stone path but didn't see anyone. MAYA pointed to a large mausoleum away from direct view from the street. It was cracked open due to something large and heavy — perhaps a sign post — had crashed into it. They turned off the main path and walked toward it. They were almost within touching distance when they heard something scrape the ground behind them. They turned around.
A half a dozen creatures had managed to sneak up on the agents. They were roughly humanoid, covered in tattered rags. Their long snouts, pointed ears and claws gave away the fact that they were not human. In the glare of the agents' flashlights their skin looked particularly pale, almost greenish.
One of the things stepped forward. It looked more human than the others, but that wasn't saying much. It had female physical characteristics; narrow waist, wider hips, small but noticeable breasts. Before the agents could react, it lifted its head to stare at Agent MALCOLM. It said, in a fast, strange, high-pitched accent, "Gabrieldodge. We need your help, Gabrieldodge." Two of the creatures in the back hopped from foot to foot, making quiet meeping sounds.
MALCOLM was confused at first, but then he recognized the thing in front of him. "Oh my God! TESS, it's you! What happened? You were in Minnesota!" He frowned as he looked over the other creatures. "Wait, where's TRAVIS?"
"He has joined the Brotherhood," snarled the creature formerly known as Agent TESS. "Enough!"
"Okay!" replied MALCOLM. "What do you need help with?"
TESS said that they had a "sick brother". They needed to get something to cure his sickness, something that they could not get themselves. They needed something called "glund fluid" from someone called "Shuggob". MALCOLM didn't know what she was talking about. She explained that Shuggob lived in the Vale of Pnath. MALCOLM did know where that was.
"That's in the Dreamlands!" cried MALCOLM. He looked intently at TESS. "How do we breech the reality barrier?"
"Why would we want to?!?" asked MAYA.
MORGAN put his hand up! "Excuse me a second." He and MAYA pulled MALCOLM away from the creatures. "Do you talk to the dead often?" he asked.
"This is my team mate," replied MALCOLM.
"Yes, who you lost in a cemetery!"
"She's changed, and she's really freaking me out! She wants me to go to the Dreamlands."
"What's this 'Dreamlands' you are talking about?" asked MAYA.
"Haven't you ever dreamed?" asked MALCOLM.
"What?" replied MORGAN.
"Of course!" shouted MALCOLM. "This explains everything!" He told the others that when you dreamed sometimes you "went someplace else", that your consciousness was sometimes transported to another plane of existence. "The higher-ups in Delta Green are aware of these Dreamlands."
"They're aware of a hell of a lot they're not telling us about!" said MAYA.
MALCOLM continued. The creatures in front of them were ghouls. Ghouls lived both in the Waking World and in the Dreamlands. Suddenly it was clear to MALCOLM how he could breech the reality barrier. Ghouls lived in the Dreamlands but could tunnel into our world.
"Why do they need us to do this?" asked MORGAN.
"I'll ask!" said MALCOLM. He moved back to TESS. "Do we need to go to go to the Dreamlands physically?"
"Yes," she said. "It is the only way to bring back the fluid."
"Have you helped us?" he asked.
"Helped you?" She shook her head. "We have not helped you. We have only watched you."
"So who shot the super troopers?"
"Man with a gun. Gold-teeth Man."
"Lepus!" gasped MORGAN.
"If you bring the fluid back for our brother," continued TESS, "we will explain where he got the tainted meat."
"What's wrong with your brother?" asked MORGAN.
"Is this something about mad cow disease?" asked MAYA.
MALCOLM introduced MORGAN and MAYA to TESS. MORGAN repeated his question.
"Our brother has gone mad."
"Mad, as in attacking people for no reason?" asked MORGAN.
"Oh!" said MORGAN. "We know where he is! 'Tainted meat'. Did he... did he eat... Oh, my God, he ate a rioter!" He glared at TESS. "Do you eat people often?"
"Only dead people."
MAYA began to huff and puff very noticeably. She pointed to her mouth and said to TESS, "See, breathing!"
MORGAN said, "Well, beware of the water!" He was thinking about the alligator thing that attacked them in the water earlier that evening. Something with fangs, and claws and a long snout. He looked over the ghouls. They had fangs. And claws. And long snouts. "Oh! You are the alligator people!"
MALCOLM asked TESS if what they thought was an "alligator thing" was actually their brother.
"Yes," she said. "He will ruin everything. We must stop him."
One of the other ghouls stepped up and put a claw on TESS's shoulder in a very human gesture. He sniffed, twice. "I'm getting hungry," he said, in a high pitched voice. The others started to shuffle back and forth and make louder "meep" sounds.
"Oh, look at the time!" said MORGAN, looking down at his wrist watch. He caught site of his bandage. He waved his arms around. "Look, look! Just a flesh wound! Still living, here!"
MALCOLM told TESS that they would help, but that he needed more information. She said Shuggob was a ghoul but due to some sort of feud TESS and her pack could not ask for the fluid themselves. She seemed certain that Shuggob would be willing to make a deal with the humans. She repeated her promise that if they did this she and her pack would show them where the tainted meat came from.
MALCOLM was pretty sure he knew where the tainted meat came from. Her brother probably ate one of the rioters infected with Majestic-12's own fluid. MALCOLM wanted something more from the ghouls. If the agents did what TESS asked, he wanted the ghouls to owe them a favour.
MALCOLM's demand struck a nerve. The ghouls became agitated. They meeped and snarled at MALCOLM's suggestion.
TESS turned to her pack. "No! We knew this would happen." She turned back to MALCOLM. "We agree to your terms."
"So you will help us, whether it is to give us information or to do something that we can't?"
She nodded. "We will have a blood pact."
"Then it's agreed," said MALCOLM.
"Thank you, Gabrieldodge."
The agents put on the rubber booties that MORGAN carried with them. That way their shoes would remain clean. TESS moved out of the way and the ghouls parted. In front of them was a hole. The agents could have sworn that the hole wasn't there when they first walked into the cemetery.
TESS disappeared into the hole. MALCOLM looked in after her. It was deep and dark. MALCOLM was afraid of enclosed spaces, but he closed his eyes and crawled in anyway. He was followed by MORGAN and MAYA.
They scrambled through the ghoul tunnel. They couldn't see anything, but they could hear TESS digging before them.
After a few minutes a panic attack swept over MALCOLM. Keeping his eyes closed wasn't good enough. He felt constricted, as if the earth was pressing down against him. This feeling was made worse when MORGAN's scrambling dropped dirt on him.
"I can't do it!" cried MALCOLM. "Let me out!" He stopped moving and tried to turn himself around in the tunnel's tight confines. MORGAN yelled at him to keep going, and pushed him forward. The two began to tussle. Suddenly a clawed hand grabbed hold of MALCOLM and pulled him down.
"No!" yelled MALCOLM, as TESS dragged him along. The ghoul was still able to dig faster than the humans could crawl. After a while, MALCOLM's cries turned to whimpers, and eventually he stopped making noises entirely.
Time seemed to lose all meaning. At first it felt like they had been digging for hours, and then it felt like they had only been at it for a few minutes. TESS's tunnel descended for miles (or was it only yards?), and then angled upwards. A short while later they saw a pale light. MALCOLM scampered out of the hole, followed less than a minute later by the other agents.
As they stood, they found themselves in a cavern at least a couple of miles high and many, many miles long and wide. It was like a vast countryside, but underground. There was no sun, but miraculously there was light. They were on a wide plateau. TESS indicated the way they had to go. They were to travel to the edge of the plateau known as the Crag of the Ghouls. There they would find a pathway down the cliff to the valley floor. Across the way were the jagged spires of the Peaks of Throk. As long as they kept walking toward the tallest peak, they would come to Shuggob's house in the Vale of Pnath. Before the vale, though, they would have to walk through or skirt around the Fungus Forest. If distance could be measured accurately in the Dreamlands, it would take them more than a day to get where they were going.
TESS bid the agents good luck. She watched them as they hiked toward the cliff edge. MORGAN was in some discomfort from his wounds, so they took it as slow and easy as they could.
They had been walking for about half an hour when MAYA noticed something strange... something stranger than the fact that they were in a vast cavern with its own source of light. Her gun, which was still stuck in her waist band, was moving. She stopped, alarmed, and pulled out the pistol. It began to wiggle and warp in her hand. The metal extruded itself, and within a few seconds it had changed from a pistol to a scimitar!
As they looked at MAYA's weapon, the guns of the other agents began to wriggle. The clothes of all three agents began to shift and change as well. MALCOLM's and MAYA's clothes turned into peasant costumes reminiscent of the 15th or 16th centuries. MALCOLM's t-shirt and shorts changed into a cloak, baggy, formless pants, shoes and a wool tunic. MAYA's t-shirt and shorts merged and stretched into a long green dress with soft ankle-high boots. MORGAN's dry suit warped into a very good imitation of a pirate costume, with knee high boots, baggy trousers, and a striped shirt. Underneath his shirt, his arm wounds were wrapped in linen. Each of them was wearing a belt. MALCOLM and MAYA had a scabbard as their guns were now scimitars. MORGAN's gun had changed into a blow gun. Their wrist watches had all shifted to mechanical pocket watches hanging around their necks. Their cell phones had completely disappeared, having no analogue in the Dreamlands. Their flashlights had turned into oil lanterns, the kind that looked like they housed a trapped genie.
MORGAN's manpurse was now a sack. He flung it open. His scalpels and medical instruments had changed into a collection of knives and devices that would make Torquemada happy. His bandages had become linen wraps. His medicines were now herbs, salves, a bottle of leeches, willow bark, and a package of a weird fungus. Most disturbingly, MORGAN's laptop was now a thick hand-written tome! He opened it. Almost every picture and every report he had written in his laptop was now scrawled in the book in his own handwriting. His flasks of acid were now bottles of clear liquid he hoped was acid. The only thing that had not changed was the crystal he had taken from Enolsis.
MAYA and MALCOLM no longer had backpacks, either. They now carried sacks. MALCOLM's had the same fungus, willow bark, and linen bandages found in MORGAN's sack. MAYA's sack had fungus and linen, and an oil skin. The oil skin contained blood. She suspected it was O positive...
They stuffed things back into their packs, slipped them on, and resumed walking.
After another ten minutes, they found themselves at the cliff edge. Nearby a trio of ghouls ran to the edge and flung something over. The ghouls disappeared back the way they had come. Looking over the edge the agents saw a huge pile of refuse three stories tall. It was the remains of ghoul meals, flung into the valley for untold years. The crag itself was very tall. It looked like it would take a couple of hours to climb down the path. MAYA looked down at her shoes. For the first time she realized were covered in something that looked like a sausage casing. It was the Dreamlands equivalent to MORGAN's rubber booties.
They took a short break. MALCOLM told them a little bit about where they were. They were in the Underworld of the Dreamlands. Not all of the world was like this. There were beautiful cities teaming with life. He mentioned the intelligent cats of Ulthar and the immortal city of Celephaïs, where no one grows old. He had heard about the Peaks of Throk and the Vale of Pnath, but MALCOLM had never been here. He did warn that some of the native creatures here, besides the ghouls, were not friendly.
"Are they going to want to eat us?" asked MAYA. "How are we supposed to run in these shoe-gut things?"
The agents slipped into silence. MALCOLM picked up a rock and stared at it intently, before setting it down. MORGAN asked what he was doing. MALCOLM said that he was trying to "dream it" into dirt.
MORGAN picked up the same rock. "Hmmm. I wish this was a gold doubloon." As he concentrated, the rock changed shape in MORGAN's hand, flattening into a gold coin.
MALCOLM scowled. He found a piece of bone. He concentrated on changing it into a knife. It snapped. He threw it away and looked around for a big rock. Finding one, he tried to dream it into an anvil. That didn't work, either. Feeling tired, he shrugged and gave up. Meanwhile MORGAN tried to dream away one of his wounds. His attempt failed.
MAYA stared down the pathway. It looked steep in places. "I wish I had a donkey."
MALCOLM asked, "Do you want to make a donkey?"
MAYA shook her head. "I don't think I can dream a donkey."
They began their descent. The path was wide in places, narrow in others. It was clear of rocks and easy to walk on for long stretches, and then there were treacherous points covered in debris. After an hour of walking down the path they took a break along a wide section. Ten minutes later, as indicated by their large watches, they returned to climbing down the path. Eventually they were on the valley floor. Before them was the fungal forest, and beyond that was the Vale of Pnath. They were exhausted, so they thought this would be a good place to stay for the night.
They found a nice flat area where they could sleep. MORGAN dreamt them up a meal consisting of roast beef, water, and cake, forming it out of rocks and leaves. MALCOLM dreamt a bed of leaves and a blanket for each of them. Once they had eaten, MALCOLM used his dreaming ability to heal MORGAN's most recent wound. The air was cool, making it a welcome departure from Louisiana's weather. After eating, with a cool breeze playing across them, they were soon asleep.
The next morning they woke and rolled up their blankets. MALCOLM dreamt that MORGAN's first wound was healed. MORGAN felt much better after this. He was healed, with MALCOLM's (and the Dreamlands') help. He only hoped that the healing would continue once they returned to the Waking World.
They decided to give the Fungus Forest a pass. Though it would take them longer, they thought it best to walk around the long way. They started their trek, keeping an eye on the Peaks of Throk. A few hours later they stopped for lunch. They all tried to conjure up lunch, but only MALCOLM was successful, and even then it was just a small pile of biscuits. MORGAN developed a headache from the effort he put into his failed attempt at conjuring lunch.
"And I should have dreamed up aspirin for you?" asked MALCOLM.
"No, that's okay. I have leeches and mold." MORGAN pulled out some willow bark and chewed on it. It did seem to help his headache.
They started walking. It took them most of the day to walk around the edge of the forest and through the Vale of Pnath. It was approaching supper time when they came across a large cottage in the foothills of the Peaks of Throk. As they walk around the cottage MAYA spotted a big rock. "I like that boulder. That is a nice boulder."
They knocked on the cottage's door. The kindliest looking ghoul they had ever met opened the door. He had the characteristic pointed ears and pale skin of the ghouls, but his snout was not very pronounced. On the snout were perched a pair of glasses with square lenses. MALCOLM introduced himself and said he needed to speak with Shuggob. The ghoul said he was Shuggob. He invited them inside. The agents entered with a little trepidation.
The house smelled like a chemistry classroom. The front room was comfortable, almost cozy, and lined from ceiling to floor in bookshelves. MORGAN noticed a laboratory off the front room. There was a circular staircase that led upstairs, and another that led downstairs. They sat down on leather-covered seats. Shuggob asked if they wanted something to eat or drink. MORGAN thanked him by saying, "Oh, no, no, no, we're fine!"
MALCOLM explained their mission in vague terms. He said they were sent by an ill friend who needed some of the glund fluid. Shuggob asked who this friend was. MALCOLM replied that it was really a friend of a friend. Shuggob pressed them for the name of this "friend". MORGAN interrupted with, "Well, actually it's someone you won't deal with." MALCOLM stared daggers at the doctor, but was forced to admit that MORGAN was correct.
Shuggob seemed more amused than anything else that TESS (which is how she was known, her Delta Green persona being the one to to imprint itself when she became a ghoul) needed his help. They discussed payment. MORGAN listed what he had in his bag, hoping that he could purchase the fluid with medical supplies.
"I have mold," said MORGAN.
"I have mold," said Shuggob, pulling some fungus from his bald scalp.
"I have leeches," said MORGAN, as he rifled through the bag.
"What I need," said Shuggob, "is a flower."
"Oh, and this flower is on the top of a mountain," said MAYA. "And when we get there, we have to make a deal with a billy goat. Are you sure your name isn't Zelda?"
"This is the part where you over charge us for the glund fluid," said MALCOLM, cheerfully. "I like this part!"
Shuggob said that the flower is in the City of the Gugs. MALCOLM explained that gugs were huge bipedal creatures that walked on two legs. They had four arms and their mouths were vertical slits that split the top of their skulls in half. They were nasty, awful things. This would not be a fun quest.
While Shuggob described where they can find the flower, MORGAN pulled out the Enolsis crystal. "How about this?" he asked.
Shuggob looked at the crystal. He pushed his glasses further up his snout and inspected it more carefully. He picked it up and turned it around. His eyes widened, then he frowned a little. "You have been clumsy with it!" He looked at it some more, twirling it in his hand. "You want one bottle of fluid for this?" MORGAN nodded. "Deal!" cried Shuggob. He bounced out of the chair and into his laboratory, carrying the crystal.
"This would be the part where he over charges us for the glund fluid," said MALCOLM to MORGAN.
They followed Shuggob into his laboratory. It was crammed floor to ceiling with glass containers, burners, lamps, metal cages, and the dessicated corpses of strange beasts. Off in a corner was a bubbling cauldron. Suspended above the cauldron on a hook was what appeared to be a human brain. The brain was pulsing; it was still alive. Long, hooked knives were stuck into the brain. Shuggob dipped a ladle into the cauldron and poured the yellow liquid into a bottle. He stoppered the bottle and handed it to MORGAN. As an after thought, he tugged on one of the knives. Yellowish liquid seeped out of the brain and dripped into the cauldron. They were suddenly very glad they did not take Shuggob up on his offer of a meal.
They walked back to the front room while Shuggob tended to some of his instruments. MORGAN looked over Shuggob's books. MORGAN recognized several of them as books pertaining to the Mythos. When Shuggob returned, MORGAN asked him if he would be willing to trade a book for some fluid of his own. He pulled out the bottle of acid. "This dissolves human flesh," he said.
Shuggob retrieved a ceramic bowl and a human arm from his laboratory. The arm bone was gnawed at one end. MORGAN poured some of the acid on the arm. The flesh began to slip off the bone and into the bowl. Shuggob nodded enthusiastically and agreed to the trade. He looked around his library, stroking his chin. He pushed a big tome aside and pulled out a much smaller book.
MORGAN squinted at the spine of the bigger book. "I bet that's the Necronomicon, isn't it?" he said, half-joking.
"Why yes, it is," replied Shuggob as he presented the smaller book to MORGAN. The title of the smaller book was Remnants of Lost Empires. MORGAN looked at it, though his eyes kept drifting to the Necronomicon. He thumbed through the book, then agreed to Shuggob's offer for the acid. He gave Shuggob the acid, and he slipped the book into his bag.
They thanked Shuggob for his hospitality and then departed the cottage. Shuggob waved to them and watched them leave for a while before disappearing back into his home.
"I can't believe I was in the same room as the Necronomicon," said MORGAN.
"I think you've been watching too many of those Evil Dead movies," said MAYA.
"If we took the Necronomicon and slipped it into Andrea's purse, every cultist in the world would be after her," suggested MORGAN.
"Yeah, and she's so butch she wouldn't notice the weight," added MALCOLM.
MORGAN smiled. "If we strapped it to her foot, she wouldn't recognize it from the cheap shoes she wears."
MAYA looked down at her own feet. "I'm not going to make any comments about someone else's fashion right now."
They walked for about two hours before stopping for the night. Their camp was not far from the Fungus Forest, but they had no intention of traveling through it. They would go around it once again. MALCOLM dreamt up dinner. They had a warm meal that didn't involve accepting meat from a ghoul, and sat around talking for a while before drifting off to sleep.
The agents woke up early the next morning. MAYA in particular was desperate for a shower and a change of clothes. Nonetheless, they pressed on with their hike. By mid day they were at the base of the cliff. They started up the same path they had descended the day before.
The climb was much slower going and much more tiring than the descent. Half way up, when they arrived at a wide section of the pathway, MAYA asked them to stop for a while. She was exhausted and needed a break. They stopped for a meal and an extended breather. After resting for two hours they resumed their climb.
It was very late in the day — the light dimmed in the evening in the Underworld even when there was no visible source for that light — by the time they got to the top. TESS was waiting for them. They told her they had the fluid. She was very excited and thanked them for retrieving the fluid so quickly.
The agents were so exhausted that they decided to spend one more night in the Dreamlands. That would mean they would be nice and alert when they got back to the Waking World. MAYA and MORGAN were concerned about the amount of time they'd been away from New Orleans. MALCOLM explained that time passed at a different rate in the Dreamlands. He seemed unconcerned about spending another night away from the Waking World.
They did have to worry about the creatures around them, and perhaps even TESS. They decided to set a watch, with only two agents sleeping at one time. Throughout the night they heard things moving just out of sight in the dark. Several times TESS ran off for extended periods of time. Each of them had the distinct impression of something sneaking up behind them and sniffing them while they were on watch, but they never saw anything. The morning could not come soon enough.
TESS escorted the agents back toward the tunnel. After an hour's walk, they were in front of the hole.
MALCOLM took a good look at the tunnel. His claustrophobia got the better of him. "I'm not going in there!"
MORGAN tried to talk MALCOLM into climbing into the hole. Logically it was the only way they could get home. MALCOLM could not be convinced to willingly go into the hole. Phobias were simply not rational.
"You'll need to put me to sleep," said MALCOLM. The only way he could go into hole is if he was unconscious.
Before MALCOLM could react, MORGAN swung his fist at MALCOLM's head. It slammed into the agent's nose with a crunch. MALCOLM rocked back a second, stunned.
He turned to MAYA. "He hit me!"
MORGAN leaned back and then let loose with a good punch to the back of MALCOLM's head. MALCOLM's head snapped forward, and then he collapsed to the ground, unconscious. TESS grabbed hold of MALCOLM and dragged him into the hole. MORGAN and MAYA followed.
Part way back a groggy MALCOLM woke up. His head ached, but that wasn't the worst of it: he was in the tunnel! He started to panic. TESS gained a tighter grip on MALCOLM's tunic as she pulled him up through the burrow. After what seemed like aeons/a few minutes, the agents felt the temperature in the tunnel increase. Suddenly MALCOLM was pulled out of the hole. MORGAN and MAYA climbed out after him. They were back in New Orleans, back in the Waking World.
The agents looked around. They were still in their Dreamlands clothes. Their guns and cell phones were still gone. So, too, were MORGAN's medical supplies. He looked in his bag. "My laptop!" Instead of the laptop there was the massive tome. Beside it lay another tome, the one he received in exchange for the bottle of acid. MORGAN pulled out the thinner volume. "At least I got something out of this deal. And I've got back up discs!"
"It took a while for things to change in the Dreamlands," said MAYA, staring at her intestine covered shoes. "There's still hope."
MALCOLM only glared at MORGAN as he rubbed his sore head with one hand and touched his nose with the other. MAYA looked at MALCOLM's head and said that there was nothing permanently wrong. He just had a bruise, though she added that he should probably watch out for signs of a concussion.
MALCOLM walked over to MORGAN. MORGAN looked at him, questioningly. MALCOLM pulled back his fist and punched MORGAN in the jaw. "You hit me! Even after I objected!"
An enraged MORGAN swung back, but MALCOLM dodged out of the way. MALCOLM took a couple of steps back, turned, and ran.
Even though MORGAN had never used one before, he pulled out his Dreamlands blow gun, put a dart in the tube, and blew. The dart flew through the air and struck MALCOLM in the back.
MALCOLM stopped running. There must have been something on the dart's point because he could feel it burning. He felt faint for a second, but then the feeling subsided. He ran up to MAYA with the dart still in his back. "Help me!"
"MAYA!" yelled MORGAN. "Leave him alone!"
"The two of you are acting like 12 year old boys!" shouted MAYA, her hands on her hips.
It was then that they noticed the ghouls swarming around them. "TESS, TESS!" cried MORGAN. He pulled out the bottle. "Got fluid! We'll break it, if you don't call them off!"
MAYA pulled the dart out of MALCOLM's back. He looked at MORGAN and hissed, "Give them the glund fluid."
MORGAN handed the fluid bottle to TESS. She thanked them and handed it over to another of the ghouls. The bottle had soon disappeared from sight.
True to her word, TESS told them about the "tainted meat". She said that a man had jumped from a tall building not far from there. She described the building. It was the Memorial Medical Center. He smelled... wrong. But her brother was starving. He didn't even let the man ripen, he just dragged the still-warm corpse away to an abandoned building and started eating it. Almost immediately he went crazy. He slashed out at his own kind, and then he ran off. Ever since he has been preying on "live humans" for food, day and night, in the water and out of it. If he is seen, he will alert the city to the ghoul's presence. This was the last thing the ghouls wanted. It would jeopardize their existence in the city. The fact that city was flooded and it might never be repopulated never occurred to TESS.
TESS pulled a piece of bone from her rags. She handed it to MALCOLM. It had strange symbols carved into it. It was hollow. "Blow into it. We will come," said TESS. Before MALCOLM could say anything more, the ghouls scattered, half of them scampering down the hole to the Dreamlands. The hole sealed itself behind them. MALCOLM tried not to think too hard about what might be lying just below the Earth's surface.
The agents walked back to the Washington Avenue gate. MORGAN and MALCOLM refused to look at each other, and MAYA was forced to walk between them. They picked up the boat and carried it out of the cemetery. They hiked north to St. Charles Avenue. MAYA had them turn left onto St. Charles. Their way was blocked by a pool of eight inch deep water. They trudged through it. The water subsided for a block but deepened as they approached Louisiana Avenue. It was about half a foot deep at the corner of Louisiana and St. Charles. They turned right onto Louisiana. The water deepened quickly, soaking the bottom of MAYA's dress. Only MORGAN, in his tall boots, was safe. The water continued to deepen. They climbed into the boat. MALCOLM started the engine and propelled the boat north along Louisiana Avenue.
The water at Freret Street was five feet deep. MALCOLM sailed the boat around the corner and onto Freret. The next major street was Napoleon Avenue. MAYA told MALCOLM to turn right. They could see the dark outline of the hospital against the humid night sky. Two blocks later they were at the hospital.
It was only as they tromped through the water to the front doors, dressed like refugees from a bad production of Hamlet, that they realized they have no identification, no credentials, no cash, and no credit cards. All of it was lost in the Dreamlands. "Oh my God!" said MAYA. "We're on the Amazing Race!" Their clothes had not changed back, and it didn't look like they were going to. At least MORGAN remained fully healed.
There was a police officer at the front door. The agents walked up, nonchalantly, to the officer. They dropped their boat beside the door, though MALCOLM still carried the motor. They asked the officer if they could get in to see a doctor. The officer just stared at them for a minute. Before the policeman could say anything, the agents explained that they had been trying on their Renaissance Faire costumes when the hurricane hit. MORGAN had a bruised jaw. MALCOLM had a broken nose. All three were dirty and stank from days without washing.
The officer tried very hard not to laugh. He stepped aside and let them in, perhaps for no better reason than if someone else saw them he would have a witness to the absurdity of the situation. As MORGAN passed the officer he said, "Argh!" in his best pirate voice.
MALCOLM dropped the motor behind a potted plant just inside the doors.
The police officer followed them inside. There was no one immediately visible, so he said, "Wait here. I'll get you a doctor."
"Thank you, sir," said MORGAN, as the officer rushed down the hall.
As soon as the policeman was out of sight, the agents ran for the janitor's closet with the gate back to MORGAN's house in Atlanta. They closed the door behind them, then cleared the items away from the wall where MORGAN had drawn the gate. One at a time they touched the wall and said, "Minisub". One at a time they disappeared from New Orleans.