Dresden Files: The GreatNorthwest

Weird Science, Part 2

From the Case Files of Roland Harper

Case File: Weird Science, Part 2

Everyone but Ms. Sullivan had gathered at my apartment to gear for our investigation of the secret lab at OSHU. I spent the morning preparing a thaumaturgy ritual to mask our identities. It was a simple psychic blurring spell, ensuring our likenesses would be hard to remember. From there we went to Smithe’s place to load some ammunition with obsidian dust. The others put on vests of protective material. I unfortunately don’t have one of those. Ghosts and demons don’t usually shoot at me.

After we had prepared as best we could, we waited for night fall to drive up to OSHU. Using the key card on a side door, our first stop on the way to the basement was the laundry room. There Smithe talked a worker into giving us five lab coats. So adorned, we quickly made our way to the lab. I double checked with everyone that they were ready, and knew their roles, and then slipped the silicon replica of Grossman’s finger over my own. I placed it against the biometric lock, and….. Nothing. I was an idiot. Such a high tech device was sure to malfunction as soon as I touched it. I concentrated on holding back my disruptive energy, and tried again. This time it worked, and we heard the click of the lock opening. Stark pushed the door open and we entered.

The lab was much as I saw in my scrying, but empty of researchers, and bathed in the dim red light of the back up power. On both sides of the room were cages, each containing a semi-developed Wendigo. The beasts were all in various states of mutilation, much like I had seen. Some were missing arms, others legs. A few unfortunate ones were nothing more than a head an torso. I felt bad for the humans they might have once been, but these were monsters now, and I have little sympathy for those.

Stark mentioned he remembered this lab, from when he escaped. I imagine much has changed in the last 20 or 30 years, but the layout appeared to be as he recalled. We split up to investigate the areas off the main lab. Stark led Starling and Smith over to where he thought his old tank had been, while Smithe and I went to look where Stark said the offices should be. As Smuthe and I approached, we saw light leaking out from behind the office blinds. Someone was home, after all. Drawing our firearms, we entered the office. There, at a cluttered desk, looking through paper after paper, was Dr. Grossman. At first he didn’t hear us, or, at least, was ignoring us. Smithe tried talking to him, but got nothing until we walked over and I snapped my fingers under the doctor’s nose.

“You’re still here?” he wheezed. Maybe the lab coats threw him off, and he thought we were his lab assistants. To get the point across we were not I place my .357 on the table in front of him. That seemed to get his attention for a second. Smithe was asking him where he had procured the Wendigoshe was experimenting on. Grossman’s vague and dismissive answers seemed to indicate there was one “Alpha” Wendigo, and he had received it as a gift (this was, in fact, the case. Stark and the others had discover the Alpha in a high security pen in the old tank room). When pressed about the details, like who had given him the Wendigo, and whether or not the Society knew about his experiments, Grossman became even more dismissive. Seeing that we were getting no more answers out of the good doctor, and that his work was an abomination of both science and the arcane, Smithe raised his Pistol. We exchanged shrugs, and Smithe put a hollow-point into Grossman’s face.

What occurred next is a confusing jumble. I’m putting some of the pieces together from the accounts of the others, trying to make sense of what happened. As soon as Smithe shot Grossman, the lights went out. All electronic functions in the lab ceased working. I immediately cast my light spell, holding my hand up to shed the blue glow around us. I could hear clicking as Smithe attempted to fire his automatic again. Hexed. The damn thing, along with everything else in the lab, was hexed. And I didn’t do it. In the pale blue light I could see that the doctor’s body was gone. Shouts and horrible howling could be heard coming from the area the others were in. That must have masked the sound of foot falls, because the next thing I know, we were beset by the juvenile Wendigos from the cages. I was bitten on the shoulder, and I could feel the muscles shred. Whirling around and back-peddling, I raised my pistol and fired. The Wendigo who had sunk his teeth into me collapsed, his head missing from my shot. I guess the good news was that mundane rounds had an effect on the half developed beasts.

I heard shotgun rounds being fired across the lab. Stark was fighting off other Wendigo, it seemed. I could also detect a loud banging and cracking, as the Alpha tried to escape its holding pen. Smithe fired once, twice, three times, dropping the Wendigo in front of him, and two others that were menacing Smith and Starling. Always the gallant knight, that one. I could hear Starling shouting at the Wendigo, trying to assert her authority. It seemed to work on a few, as a couple of the beats were cowed back into their cages. It wasn’t enough to save me, though, as I found myself swarmed by legless Wendigo, who had clawed their way over to us. Everything was blinding pain, then all black as I passed out.

While I was incapacitated the others shot and intimidated the remaining Wendigo. Smith had the presence of mind to find the breaker box and get the lights back on. This also powered up the Alpha’s pen, keeping it at bay for the moment. Stark ran over to me with a first aid kit he found on the lab wall. I guess the Canadians had taught him enough about field medics to stop my bleeding and stitch me up. I came to and found that the Wendigos were either cowering in their cages, or dead. With Stark and Starling’s help, I hobbled over to where the doctor’s body should have been. As I examined the black, sooty area, which smelled of sulfur, Smithe went from cage to cage, putting the juvenile Wendigo out of their misery, and Stark was on the phone with his ex-compatriots in Canada. He arranged for the Canadians to alert their American counterparts to the secret lab, and have the Alpha contained.

My examination of the remains of Dr. Grossman told me he had made a pact with a demon. It must have whisked him away before he could die. At least he was on this plane, and not hiding somewhere in the Nevernever. We had stopped Grossman and his experiments, and probably shut down the secret lab, but the doctor was still out there, somewhere. While I can shut the book on this case, I have the sinking suspicion we’ll see the good doctor again.



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