7105/The Dead are Rising

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The Dead are Rising
Date of Scene: 27 July 2021
Location: Cemetery Belt between Brooklyn and Queens.
Synopsis: If Midnite thinks John's paying that debt to Samedi, voodoo bloke better think again. But, with the help of a good woman and a couple of total strangers, the zombie infestation in the Cemetery Belt is handled, maybe not neat as a pin, but neat enough.
Cast of Characters: John Constantine, Achilles, Meggan Puceanu, Frank Castle

John Constantine has posed:
    Really, no one can just leave a bloody voicemail anymore. After a conversation with a Dead Head - no, literally, it was a mummified head in a box - sent by Papa Midnite wailing about some something happening around the Cemetery Belt and dead rising and blah blah blah blah.

    Really John only listened to about half of the message. Midnite, what a drama queen, amirite?

    So, here he is, Meggan in tow - women deserves better, she truly does - leather duffel in one hand, likely filled with all manner of unsavory spell crap, and kneeling in front of a grave.

    It's not an 'open' grave, not in the traditional sense with a wide gaping hole in the ground. It's more churned earth and a little indentation sloping toward the middle really. "Aye, he was right, it innit in there," John murmurs quietly. He looks left, looks right, looks down, looks up at Megan. The whole process of looking reveals one disturbing fact; damned near every grave in the cemetery is exactly the same as the one he knees in front of now.

    ...and how many others in the belt are the same?

    ..." But where *are* they?"

    Good question there Johnny boy. "First is first right, keep an eye, gonna drop a cage, keep things what aren't runnin' on the natural in, yeah?"

Achilles has posed:
    It's not that Angelo was here to search for the undead. It's not that he was here because he knew there was a problem... Angelo has been living in the States since the late 19th century. He has had friends die and get buried. The first friend he made upon arriving in the States is buried here, and he was simply visiting the gravesite. Off to one side, out of the way...

    Anda gain, Angelo has no real special senses to detect spirits or what have you. What he does have are good eyes, good ears, thousands of years of war experience... and an uncanny ability to realize when he is in over his head.... which he is pretty much every time he fights a superhuman. He finishes visiting with his old friend and stands up, the hairs on his neck standing up. "Bloody... what's afoot?" he asks, his own voice having some hint of an old English accent...

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
One could make a strong argument that voicemail can be hacked, but rarely has anyone figured out how to force a mummified head into giving up its message unwillingly. The kind of person to charm a head probably isn't the sort of chap to mess about with. Certainly not in the Cypress Hills area where Queens and Brooklyn boast a substantial population of dead residents possibly about to become quasi-living residents at the drop of a cursed hanky.

Meggan accompanies the Laughing Magician with his trenchcoat and his duffel bag, her own acquisitions pretty minor. Constantine's spell crap does not extend to her, whereas she is floating an inch off the ground. Extremely few people are likely to notice. Poesies for the dead may not be sufficiently glamorous but she carries the bouquet of small flowers, and a bit of yew like normal people in cemeteries do.

All of them are flowers associated with balm, renewal, death, and healing. The whole span of the city around them goes ignorant of the horrors John peels back, and if innocence is bliss, she's falling right out of that cloud.

"I've my salt," she replies cheerfully. "Everything else is asking for it." Nature agrees; the plants are all tilted to her in the nearest proximity, currently very green and very happy about not being assaulted. There's nothing weird here about a very polite young lady, English voice, and the shaggy rascal over there. At least he doesn't have a damn shovel, right? "I wish they'd sleep."

Frank Castle has posed:
A threat is a threat, and with the vagueness of this rumor, that meant getting eyes on.

Frank and David both are heading towards the cemetery in the Battle Van as things start getting active. Just a non-descript white van with no real markings... excepting that it's a light battle tank underneath the concealment, with heavy weapons in tow.

"Did they at least give you a direction to check out? This is a big place." Frank asks of Microchip as Microchip drives the Battle Van along. "No Frank, just 'something is happening'." Microchip replies. Frank nods slowly, "Just turn on the scanners and we can do a sweep first. Grid searching can come after."

John Constantine has posed:
    "Right then, go time." John drops the duffel to the ground with a 'clank'. Who says he doesn't have a damned shovel? But that little folding bit of hardware isn't what he pulls out of the bag at this moment. No, it's a can of white spray paint. Working in grass, such that he is this evening, doesn't play well with salt or chalk.

    But this current circle he's working, it has little do with protection and everything to do with focus; with drawing power for whatever infernal source is willing to lend him a little extra tonight. ...because he's going to need it.

    Cemetery row is a large area for one little dabbler in the petty to drop a spell over. It takes only a moment really, circles only about a foot in diameter, not overly elaborate with the odd swirlies and shapes that make up the sigils and such. He could draw this one in his sleep. The spell's simple 'nuff too, straight up Latin. For those that speak it, the exact wording isn't important; just the jist: If it ain't powered by what's good and natural of this earth, it don't get out, period.

    Frankly, standing there, arms up as if beseeching the heavens to do is bidding... he looks a little bored.

    Anything of the supernatural bent in the area would feel it, a sort of 'snap' in air, like a little jolt of electricity similar to that caused by touching a doorknob after dragging feet on shaggy carpet.

Achilles has posed:
    Faux LAtin? Angelo's ears pick up on it, and his nose wrinkles, "Great. Magic." he mutters. Because only magic wielders tend to butcher Latin -that- badly.

    What? Angelo -is- supernatural, in that his great grandfather is Zeus, and his mother is a lesser sea goddess. He is supernatural in as much as his mother fed him ambrosia and dipped him in the damned river Styx when he was a baby. In that he cannot die. Magic?

    Well, he has magical weapons. But there is that something... the feel of ozone like an electrical storm was just coming into the area. But rather than summoning a sword, he reaches under his jacket and produces a SHIELD issue ICER. Because hey, any potential opponents -could- be normal folks, and he doesn't want to kill anyone he shouldn't kill.

    Somehow though, his footsteps bring him in the general direction of Constantine, and as he comes around a tree.. he sees the man with arms in the air. "Bollux." he mutters as he lifts the weapon. He's not sure if this guy is the good guy, the bad guy, or the ugly guy. So he waits for now.

Frank Castle has posed:
"What the fuck is going on there?" Frank muses aloud, "David, got some asshole chanting like he's a cultist wannabe over there. Head over there." Frank points in the general direction of John.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
At least the spray paint might prove water soluble in a good rainstorm, though Meggan looks askance at the graffiti artist made of her companion in questionable crime. Now the whole matter of overturned earth, disturbed sod, and her pretty bouquet must appear especially dubious for bystanders.

The circle sketched in a wide arc causes her to move back closer to a variety of granite headstones honouring families entombed beneath disrupted soil. Anything present beneath the blocky, crumbled soil dessicated from the summer heat that isn't a big fan of Constantine's work might opt to spring out and collide directly with her trainers. A jarring hand might pull a 'Thriller' move and seize her by the ankle. Strnager things have happened.

"Imagine we might pass it off as a music video," she murmurs. It's terribly convincing as an explanation when someone comes marching closer. Angelo doesn't distinctly stand out to her as an individual with much familiarity. Those bright green eyes spark with interest, and she turns a look in Angelo's direction. Hiding behind a tree, normally a suitable cause for action, doesn't work very well with your standard issue environmental activist. She even waves in an air of friendly mirth.

John's a fantastic cultist. Meggan Puceanu, the face of many articles about climate change and causing corporations to wet themselves while hissing in tongues, is not. The ancient Greek warrior is another matter, but you don't win points for being a sunny blonde out for an Instagram shot, right?

John Constantine has posed:
    All these old resting places for the dead have'm, treelines and little bunches of the things, something about a rural cemetery act, someone musta thought it looked pretty or somesuch.

    There it is, the first sign of'm. He'll be kicking himself for not having checked the 'where of it' before going to work immediately on the 'containment and why of it'. From the trees, from the hidden spaces behind mausoleums, the dead are coming out to play.

    It might even appear, for a moment, that John's behind their arrival; all hissing and groaning and ambling and shambling. Hey, maybe Meggan's on to something! But it's not a music video, it's an episode of the walking dead where they crossed it over with the Winchester Brothers squidgy distant cousin?

    "Meggan, this innit the right spot for the rest of it," John mutters, completely unaware - no, not really, it's completely unconcerned - of/about strange faces on the scene. He's more important things to deal with.

    The right spot for the rest of it, by his mind, is pretty much dead center of the Belt. That, in his estimation is... "Need ta make that little rise over there," about a football field on that way, the way he's gesturing. Shouldn't be too hard, yeah? Things are slow, they really are.

    But ... there are so MANY of them suddenly, enough to make a person think that, maybe they weren't here all along? Maybe something or someone has decided to release them from some mystical cage just as John's trapped them?

Achilles has posed:
    Suddenly appearing undead beasties? Angelo narrows his eyes as battle instincts take over. He holsters his ICER.. because seriously, what is a dendrotoxin going to do to the shambling dead? "Seriously feel like this is some combination horror movie and reality Tele show." he mutters as he begins moving.

    "Oy! Please tell me this is -not- something you made happen!" he calls out as he approaches John and Meggan. At least he's put away his weapon, right?

    But then his hand reaches to the back of his belt. He's no Punisher, but he does have a different toy there. It's the semi-armor defeating FN Five-Seven pistol. Sure, not great for expanding bullet trauma, but really good at getting through stuff.

    The weapon isn't aimed at anyone however, and he adds, "I wonder if putting these things back in the ground might not be the best option here!"

Frank Castle has posed:
"Stop the van." Frank barks as he brings up a set of binoculars and looks towards the sudden zombie horde. "Is this some mystical crap?"

Zombies. Yep. "Yeah, this is mystical crap. Get the van on standby in case those things are hostile."

Suddenly, the white non-descript van pops out a minigun from the rooftop; a modified M134 to be specific. A pair of PAW grenade launchers on the sides, and a heavy set of concealed armor that covers the outside. To anyone looking the van, it's like a tank/humvee appeared out of nowhere and has aimed weapons at the zombie horde.

"Let's see what they do first."

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Anything nowadays can be a music video. Extras caught up in the influencer's wide-lens shot courtesy of a cheap smartphone participate in a thrilling dance party only add to the plausible deniability of the claim. Makeup artists these days can make the dead look alive or the living seem dead. Right on cue, the corpses torn free of their rotting caskets or their handsome, industrial grade coffins opt to join the party.

"It's a zombie jamboree." Spoken with all the dulcet solemnity a girl from the Lake District in England can manage, Meggan's lilting commentary still remains alarmingly bright. "Four people that way and another incoming." A gesture indicates a relatively narrow swathe, accurate more or less to where the risen dead are not. "You are *sure* you do not want a lift?"

The question must be cause for distaste from one or an old matter buried better than any of these unfortunates, because her tone suggests she doesn't expect John to take her up. The rise a rather lengthy distance off -- a pitch, as she knows it -- warrants a look, and for a moment there, ceases in twirling the flowers around. "Not a chance." She shakes her head. "Someone sent a message to come by, but not why. Awful, innit?" Shades of Gaelic warm her accent, and she's altogether much too unperturbed about the fact hungry dead things hunger for the living.

A humvee popping out from nowhere alas exceeds her general experience, though armaments galore deserve a second look. "They might not stay in the ground." She sounds dubious, flitting to put herself between John and that great ghastly van that Frank drives. Not much as a shield goes, but she asks both men, "He a friend of yours, or responsible for all this? I reckon it'll take me a minute or so to clear the path for you both to get that way." 'That way' being where the brains of the operation insists they go. "Ooh, they really do look awful. That one's jaw fell off!"

John Constantine has posed:
    Right there, in the middle of it all, John reaches out, snags Meggan by the back of her head, fingers curling into her hair and plants a kiss to beat back all hell and high water on the faeling. Get a room, right? Before it breaks, the bastard actually bits into her bottom lip hard enough to draw a little blood, just a little... kinky? Or is there a method to his madness? That little spot of blood is licked away. Gross, dude! "For luck, luv. Keep'm off me, yeah?"

    Then, again without care as to who else might be here and aiming weapons in his direction, John snatches up that bag and takes off at a dead run for the quickly closing gap between him and ... over there. He does, along the way, call out a response to Angelo, "That's the plan, mate!"

    Getting through the gap, in the end, involves him having to make a hail Mary slide through the last two to trying to close it.

    Now here's the thing, as in step with the way these things USUALLY go for John Constantine, all of those shambling, ambling dead? Well, once he's broken through their attempt to box him in, they're turning to amble and shamble in his direction. Why? Because magic's a bitch and whatever bitch is running this Zombie shit show? They likely know that Constantine is about to put an end to it.

    If he stays standing long enough.

Achilles has posed:
    ANd now that he can see that it is zombies, Angelo sighs and puts away his second weapon. "Something tells me this is the wrong tool for the job." he mutters as he does so.

    But then he rolls his neck and lifts his left arm... fist clenched and the arm pointed straight at a zombie in the distance. As his right arm comes up, the hand reaching to grasp at the air just behind his left fist.. a bronze bow appears in his hand... an arrow appearing on the string as he draws the newly appeared string back.

    "So tell me. These zombies.. are they the classic.. destroy the brain, destroy the zombie... type? Or will they keep functioning no matter what?" he asks as he looses an arrow, thunking it through the head of the nearest shambler.

Frank Castle has posed:
"Honestly, I have no idea what's going on here, but someones fucking with the dead, that's never good." Frank gets up from the passenger side and heads up towards the rooftop M134, "start laying into them with the side launchers. I got this."

Anyone who pays attention to the news will immediately know who the man in the trenchcoat and white skull bodysuit who takes control of the minigun, aims it in the direction of the largest horde... and starts firing into it. The noise of it is almost deafening, but a literal /storm/ of bullets starts laying directly into the horde trying to attack John. It's precise 7.62 that chews through the bodies like tissue paper.

Meanwhile, the two launchers that popped out of the sides? Those aren't machine guns, those are mini-grenade launchers. Rapid fire grenade launchers. Automatic 20mm. designed to deal with lightly armored targets or mass infantry, they're in a class all their own for sheer damage to hordes.

A one vehicle warzone starts to rapidly alpha strike the zombie horde.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
In the middle of a graveyard, only a very particular twisted mindset feels the urge to kiss a girl. Meggan utters a sound like a question when John gets his hand in her golden hair, a sound not particularly upset, but the explosive results must be the annoyance for every last real monster hunter in sight. She rocks back on her heels a little, the sting of scarlet riming her mouth like berry stains. Blame the smug bastard for leaving her for dead, snatching up his gear and running while the Englishwoman swoons.

"I've not a clue." Angelo may need better tactical studies to rely on. "Maybe we tear one apart and find out?" The blonde is much too clean for this, carefully tucking one of the flowers from her bouquet behind her ear. "Ooh, that's beautiful! I'll try to stay away from your shots." This should be easy on the ground, but the Greek SHIELD agent is the only one on the ground.

She walks out to meet a rapidly approaching swell of zombies coming to sweep up the few mobile targets which aren't them. John at full tilt drags off the swarm, but nothing stops her from bounding after the undead school like a dolphin. The first of them to come near enough twists to face down its most unlikely combatant, completely uncaring about other zombies being mulched by the spitting bullets tearing into deceased flesh and bronze arrows falling shrill and quick through the air. Yellowed teeth and leathery fingers reach, and the slightest traces of blood snap around heads of 1850s tuberculosis victims, an octogenarian in his Sunday best, a pair of lanky boys in their Union uniforms.

Meggan dispenses with the doe-eyed look there, twisting to snatch at wholecloth so dry it practically comes apart in her small hand. Spinning on her toes, she turns to the snapping bite of the pair of Civil War soldiers and slams her shoulder into the one, using the other convenient handhold to shove the first hungry undead into its peers. Three drop in a wave, dragging a knot closer to her, and that's rather the point as she dances, surrounded by a sea of headstones in rising and falling staccato beats to a stony beat only she hears.

John Constantine has posed:
    There are very few people on this earth that have ever seen the very core of that filthy, battered soul that resides in that squishy meat suit that is John Constantine like Meggan has, and she isn't even repulsed by it. The bond they share, it's one that could probably span a much greater distance than a mere football field.

    So, she'll feel it, that burning ache in John's lungs as he makes his made dash to the where of the thing, the spot he needs to be in order to try and dispatch of the why of it. He's still faster than they are, of course, because they ARE traditional zombies indeed. The kind of near every old zombie flick out there. The Walking Dead, yes they are... but isn't, also, the man running toward that rise? How many times has he cheated death itself?

    He stumbles once, twice, battered lungs constricting, making each breath a battle to be won, but he pushes up and keeps going. He's slowing and they're closing the gap, the ones left standing anyway, when John finally reaches that little rise.

    Angelo's arrow fells the one it's meant to, another quickly takes its place however, so many, a sea of them really, like rows and rows of a shark's teeth reach to fill a gap when one's pulled. They bite too!

    On the other side, the side furthest from John, the back end of the horde, that's where the real destruction takes place.

    This is where it might be important to note that zombies? They STINK? Rotting, putrid flesh, nasty... even more so when they're being blown to bits by Punisher's toys.

Frank Castle has posed:
"This is some major shit." Frank yells into his commlink as he watches the horde, picking small pockets to pick off while the grenade launchers lay waste to the bigger groups. It's a perfect symbiosis of small and large scale warfare as the Battle Van just starts driving around to keep mobile and keep the hordes in visual.

The noise is probably deafening around John, what with the non-stop stream of small explosions from the mini-grenades. Not one, not twice... these are modified P.A.W launchers fed from a custom box magazine on the inside.

Achilles has posed:
    Well, a single arrow takes down a single target. And then a machine gun rips like a two hundred decibel ripping fabric sound. Angelo sucks his teeth and dismisses his bow. "Okay then." he says casually, "So, archery is not going to be fast enough I guess." he says as he starts to stalk towards the nearest zombies.

    More to the point, towards the ones most likely to catch Johnny boy there. His business suit is there in one moment, and between that and the next step of his foot, he is clad in something reminiscent of Hoplite armor, but with a bit of a more modern shape to it. One hand holds a spear... and even as he gets within reach of the walking undead.. one of them reaches for him and its hand strikes the bronze shield that has just appeared in his left hand. "Let's do this then." he says as he begins to move the way that only someone who has studied combat and war for three plus millennia can move... spear thrusting and stabbing, and shield moving to be both a defensive weapon and an offensive one. He is trying to draw them onto himself rather than onto John.. and he seems to be doing a decent job of it.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
From another perspective, Meggan might actually enjoy the pyrotechnic show. Shards of shattered headstones rain through the air, more than likely striking the denizens of the place. Whatever spells damaged the ground by bringing forth the cemetery's residents, Frank's high-powered arms obliterate those traces in cratered pockmarks and strafing runs. Really, the smart move might be running to let the Punisher-van do its work unconcerned about mortal casualties.

She lifts a meter or two off the ground, her jeans falling under cursed hands ripping at her flesh with limited effects. Somewhere she lost those trainers, gnashing teeth unable to overcome a pair of Converse knockoffs. Searching in the chaos while slapping away snapping jaws and curled fingers, she zeroes in on John. Of the two trenchcoated options, hers is doing about as well as he usually does.

"Of course! Lead on!" She cheers on the Greek warrior with undiminished sunny joy, even when one of those zombies grabs her long hair. Mobile perils above and beyond undead running amok force a change in strategy not only for Angelo. The whirling blonde snatches up one Jebediah Cotherington the Third and hurls him the length of said football field.

A zombie missile comes soaring down several seconds later hard enough to disintegrate on impact, not quite misting, but wiping out two stalking monsters climbing over another set of victims to take a pound out of the warlock. The next strike isn't quite so literally a missile. Accuracy calls for a sweeping gesture as an energy burst tinted a crackling green of St. Elmo's fire crashes down into the knot of rotting limbs and oozing organs. Unlike gunshots, it's less deafening and igniting things far more combustible.

John Constantine has posed:
    It's going to take a bit, a bit longer than a bit considering John can barely breathe by the time he gets there. It's making things go a little tilt-y and sideways through tunnel vision and stars dancing in his peripherals.

    He drops to his knees on that little rise. One of the ambling dead that managed to get close explodes spectacularly thanks to Punisher's efforts. ...unfortunately it also douses John in a spray of disgusting, putrid, rotting flesh and ichor. Another day ending in 'Y' innit?

    There's no circle this time, this time it's a little more involved than that, even just the outline of the veve of Baron Samedi takes more time than a simple circle and some sigils. Then there's the dragging out of all the blessed offerings. Have some black coffee, here's a few fine cigars... a bottle of rum - are those hot peppers floating in there? A few ... let's not talk about those, those kinds of toys belong in a bedroom only. ... or on a makeshift 'alter' to the Baron on a sloping hill in a cemetery in New York, they belong there as well.

    Really, looking at the things to be offered, one could imagine the good Baron and John Constantine being best mates, yeah?

    There, that'll have to do. Finally he lights a few candles; black, purple, red and stands. The words he speaks don't roll as easily off his tongue as the old, dead languages that he's used to, but he's making it work, in Haitian Creole - Baron Samedi, something something... blah blah... - again, the actual words aren't important to those that might understand them, just the jist. He's asking the good Baron to help with laying these soulless bodies back to rest.

    ...To those with sight for such things, it seems the spell is working? Spell? No, that's not right. Prayer? Doesn't that only work for a believer? ... of course it's not like John Constantine isn't an expert at making himself sound believable? Whatever the ins and outs of it, the translucent, shimmering, shadowy form of an older gentleman, dark-skinned, black top hat... is currently trying to take shape near John.

Frank Castle has posed:
Just so /many/... "Even with the fucking M134, they're barely being kept in check. Is the whole cemetery getting fucked over?" Frank muses into the commlink, aiming for a group that was almost near John. John can hear the swishing of a high speed rain of lead go by him by feet as the Punisher shreds a group that was almost on him. Inside, David replies, "I don't know Frank, I just know that we have lives in danger and they show no sign of being the cause for sure. The ammmo on the launchers isn't gonna last for more than a minute at this rate."

Among the Punisher grumbles, "Might need to start running them over. I have about five minutes left with the rate I'm going."

Indeed, the Battle Van is staying at range and providing fire support. Honestly, if the police aren't on the way by now from the massively illegal weaponry, it'll be a miracle in itself.

Achilles has posed:
    Sometimes it is not just the raw numbers. Sometimes it is just the right ones. Angelo moves to engage a group that is in position to interfere with the magic. He is covered in blood and puss and gore himself as he is engaging zombies in melee combat. The good thing is that since he can't die, he can't really become another zombeh.

    He's like.. tackling the group of them like a linebacker crashing a multi-back sweep. His spear is lodged in one of them over to the left as his sword is now slashing into the creatures. He's just trying to buy time, not win the fight. Sometimes it's not about winning the fight, but about achieving the objective.

    And then there is the top hatted guy forming. "There is something you don't see every day." he says as he stops beside John, arms going slack at his sides.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
The police really ought to hurry to cases like these, but cases like these probably don't justify the actual attendance of the NYPD in masse. One of the five or six superhero teams based out of the city will deal with the problem before the collateral damage gets too bad, that must be the memo from on high the last decade. Sirens aren't flashing and wailing too loudly from Brooklyn yet.

The six-alarm summoning of a ghostly voudon loa might as well be that loud and dramatic to Meggan, who startles enough that one of the more animated zombies leaps onto her back and drops her down to the ground. A cloud of legs and dusty, heavy skirts stiff with satin blot her out from view, the only sounds from the gnashing and groaning being that a limb colliding with something wet and soft repeatedly.

Grassy slopes run thick with hot spent steel and overturned earth, but even the grass gets into the action. Shuddering blades angle and flatten to send the dead sprawling, gangly gaits wrecked by slippery patches. Weeds lash around, the larger plants installed to honour the dearly departed lashing out with twigs and branches that might slow something down. Fighting from the ground is a risky proposition, but fighting the ground, never a wise idea. Shuddering microtremors further offset the knots of undead by knocking them down, too.

One fae dragged out from the quivering mass utters a patently accusing, "Ew! Seriously, this is disgusting, Constantine!" More true words ever spoken? The loa gets an outright wave. "No disrespect. They're not exactly fresh." A yelp parts her lips and she whirls to thrust another zombie at Angelo. "Oh bother, catch!"

John Constantine has posed:
    Risky business, innit, calling forth the Lwa of, well, basically death when one is known for cheating it so often. John wouldn't be John if he wasn't engaging in risky business. He's banking on the fact that the good Baron will be much more interested in the atrocities of the rising dead than he will be the atrocity that is John's own claimed soul. Also, well, he might be banking a bit on his choice of lifestyles lending him a smidge of approval from the old bastard?

    "Constantine," the name is spit from the Baron's lips like a curse when the Lwa really and truly and right in everyone's face, manifests completely. Oh Shit?

    "Sammie," Seriously John? Really? Sammie?

    The conversation on the little rise there, it's likely drowned out for the most part, by the groans of the walking dead and the noise of heavy artillery, maybe even eaten by distance alone; lest someone is paying attention enough to pick up bits and pieces. ...or if someone manages to fight their way close enough.

    "Rumor has it, you aren't supposed to be here." Where there should, possibly be, jokes about whores and donkeys and sumsuch, the Baron is a solemn character in the play this eve. "...word of advice, don't fight it, hurts less if you don't. That's free, this," he nods toward the horde, "...you owe me."

    "Long line, that," John murmurs... people he owes, long line.

    Some people, one of them present here tonight even, see John Constantine as the last, haggard and crooked, line of defense between the poor and the clueless and the evil that looms over them on the daily. That, however, isn't true. The last line of defense isn't John, it's those around him that choose to make certain he stays standing long enough to do what needs doing. It's people like Angelo, Frank... Meggan, the ones unafraid to wade into the thick of it all. Without them, the Laughing Magician surely wouldn't still be standing.

    When Samedi strides his way down off that little rise, toward the zombie horde, all of them, to the last, follow as if he's the pied piper of the dead. Truth be told, he kinna is, innit he? He'll lead each to the last to where they belong.

    Crisis averted, horde thwarted, John falls on his ass in the grass, lanky legs bent, elbows resting on them and already a Silk Cut between the fingers of his right hand. "One day, the dead'll stay dead, hey mate?" he asks of Angelo. ... way to tempt the fates there, Johnny boy, innit that the truth?

Achilles has posed:
    "You know. I am the -wrong- person to ask about that." remarks Angelo from within his Greek helmet that hides most of his face. He lowers his hands, and his sword, shield.. and even the spear over there all fade out of existence. "Death and I have never truly met."

Frank Castle has posed:
"What. In. the. Mother. Of. Fuck. Just happened." Frank half asks, half muses as the sounds of minigun fire stop and the grenades stop exploding, the horde dealt with. "Fuck if I know, Frank. That guy over there seems to have some involvement though." "Yeah, drive over, we need to have a chat."

With that, the Battle Van drives right for John at high speed, right through the cemetery.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Finding John through a sprawl of zombies isn't easy. The mob marching away after their Hamelin-bound loa leaves a certain open space around the mage, spattered with wrecked corpses and ravaged soil. Chipped monuments that weren't subjected to a full salvo of destruction look straight out of a warzone. Sarajevo, Syria, Sokovia, take your pick. Blasted granite stones and fallen sandstone blocks litter the ground. Mournful, as far as Meg is concerned. The blonde's clothes desperately need to be mended or washed, but whatever effluents and streaky gore from the few fresher dead mark her is a whole lot less bad than grass stains, dust, and dirt.

She offers her hand to John to help him up, Angelo given an initial greeting. "Lovely arm..." She doesn't get another word out at the revving engine. The van approaching at speed slewing over the wrecked ground cuts that off. She holds out her hand, palm outstretched, a classic gesture to stop. Any signs of hostility and the mage and the Greek hero might find themselves hauled up and away with a sincere apology.

John Constantine has posed:
    John accepts Meggan's hand and drags his ass to his feet with her help. "Bolocks," he mutters under his breath over the oncoming van. "Can't a man just... clean up a mess and bloody well go home after?"

    Of course there's still more cleaning to do here, getting rid of all those that weren't able to follow their pied piper for one. There's a reason there haven't been sirens wailing in the distance as well. That bubble he dropped around the area also served as a sort of 'nothing to see here' thing to those caught on the outside of it.

    He'll need to right the mess before that drops.

    "Constantine, John Constantine," he speaks in Angelo's general direction, but his attention is mostly on that van. "Hey luv, how much ya think a man has ta be lackin' in other areas ta drive around in a thing what looks like that?" he asides to Meggan.

Frank Castle has posed:
"Mystical crap, do it." Frank orders in the turret pit. David, for his part, does start to slow down once they start getting closer, and he comes to a stop. At least he's within shouting distance.

"I don't have any intention of hurting you. Can I approach?" Asks the Punisher... who is easily identifiable from this distance.

Achilles has posed:
    "I'll be honest. If I could, I would." offers the armored Angelo. It's a good thing his face is mostly concealed by the helmet. He does -not- dismiss his armor however, and he just shrugs, "If you are a mage, then I assume you can already sense that I am more than I seem to be. Let's just say that Homer told tales of me."

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
The hand out turns into a friendly wave. Just like that, from halt to hi! The world that settles in dirty filaments, puffs of dust and the really horrid stench of the long dead, isn't much of a friendly picture.

"Hullo," she states in that unflappable British English. It's flipped and flappy because it has to be. "That's a lot of lovely firepower.."

John Constantine has posed:
    "Do ya really have to?" John calls out in return. All he wants to do is clean up the mess and go home, really, back to the day that could have easily been spent, in its entirety, in bed... if not for Midnite and the Dead Head.

    Now, it seems he's going to have to spend at least an hour jawin' with some ... whatever that guy over there is... about 'what the hell happened' here.

    He stage whispers in Meggan's ear, "What's that one goin' on about?" with a nod in Angelo's direction. Right straight dick he is, this one. But... John does have a reputation to uphold and being a straight arse is part and parcel with it.

    It might be noted that he hasn't let go of Meggan's hand and he may even be leaning a little on the poor thing.

Frank Castle has posed:
The Van approaches, and the concealed armor and the weapons both slide back into their hiding places... with the Punisher entirely ignoring John's question. The van stops just next to the two, and the Punisher in his trenchcoat and full gear web and bodysuit walks out, M4A1 idled against his chest as he looks to Meggan and John, "Do I need to worry about this again?" He asks curtly.

Achilles has posed:
    "If the zombie apocalypse has been averted, then I think it is time for us to vacate the area before law enforcement arrives." suggests Angelo. "Unless you have some way to keep them from finding us." he adds to John.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Meg is ever polite and awfully sunny, especially in dim and grimy circumstances. Her smile shines in spite of the disgusting corpses in disarray, many shredded to pieces. The uptilted warmth finds its way into the tone of voice, the posture set less defensively. Even the tone of her voice counters John's sarcasm and Angelo's pragmatism.

"I'm afraid this mess will cause a good deal of trouble. I can clean up a good bit, but not the headstones." Recreating them from putty with a smart, clean bit of stoneworking to name each person? Not so much. "Fancy you know a mason?"

Her shoulders shift back slightly, the tension bled off a little. "He's Greek," she adds in a sidelong statement for John. "Homer was the Greek bard. Best of their storytellers. Alas he told a lot, Odysseus and the Trojan War. Is that right?" This to Angelo, as she smartly lifts her palm. "Now don't get me wrong, I like stories, but maybe over a coffee and a fresh set of togs not smelling of two hundred years of a crypt."

Having appointed herself the cleanup crew and the world's least likeliest wetworks squad, she still doesn't shift away from John. Path of least squishy this way. Frank's question just seems to confuse her and then she points to the mage. "You may have to take it up with Papa Midnite. We didn't do the work, only got the message."

John Constantine has posed:
    "How the *fuck* do I know," is John's immediate, barked answer. He squeezes Meg's hand, grateful that, but otherwise... Testy. He's tired and cranky... really doesn't seem to be a Punisher fan at the moment, assist or not, man's holding up the finish. "Figure we have 'bout half an hour before the spell fades," he asides to Angelo. "At the end of which, I was *hoping* to be done here and either in me or on me favorite bar stool, aye?"

    Enough talk, he's done with it. John doesn't pull away from Meggan, but he does tug her along gently if she'll be led. "Stones'll be blamed on vandals," he mutters quietly. "I might be able ta cobble a few of'm back together." But honestly, he's plain *knackered* Been a week, it certainly has... but all the days in a week, they end in y, so it's par for the course.

    He does feel the need to tell her, "I *know* who Homer is, just... th'hell is *he*?" Angelo that is. "I need a bloody drink, luv... a peaceful smoke and maybe a shag." The man is truly and honestly *awful*, innit he?

Achilles has posed:
    "Let's just say.. rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated. I let the others think that shooting me in the foot with an arrow would somehow kill me. I was just tired of all of the bloodshed and war. I was tired of being an utter prick, and killing people just because I was good enough that they couldn't beat me." offers Angelo.

    "I used to go by Achilles of Pithia."

Frank Castle has posed:
The Punisher can usually tell when a person is just /done/ and so far, John isn't giving any indication he was the problem. Instead of pressing the man, he opens a gear web pouch, pulls out a flip phone, and tosses it over to the two. "We can talk later." The Punisher informs John, before he steps back into the Van... and Microchip starts to drive off.

Apparently, Achilles being alive still didn't really interest him that much. Then again, he's probably seen ALL kinds of things in his war.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Given Meggan floats, pulling her along doesn't take particularly much effort. Displacement of gravity means she is effectively weightless when it comes to being a kite for whomever wants to drag her there or here. She's content to follow.

"See, bet you he would be a good one to share a pint with," she opines of Achilles. Angelo. Further commentary wouldn't be wise. The spell is running out, the clock running down, and so much work ahead. Squeezing John's hand, she gives the earth a last forlorn look and heaves a sigh, the kind that is both soft and stained by a kind of sorrow. Not for the zombies, but for the rock and the dirt itself.

Her slanting green gaze marks the van and the man who guards it, his abundant weaponry sure to retreat into the night. only then, when Frank Castle isn't about, does she land for a moment.

"Let me have a word, please?" That word is silent. It's under a spell, after all. But the earth is old, a mother to them all, and the exchange of lilting Gaelic of the Irish persuasion floating, flooding, whispering with a tease and a song bound into one. Hillocks form and fall, the lumpy strafed lines torn into the ground smoothed out. Rome wasn't built in a day, but its ruins can be sorted out in a night. By dawn, the marks won't be nearly so bad.

John Constantine has posed:
    "Some shite's best not discussed barely knowin' someone half a heart beat," John offers in reply to Angelo, helpfully really. It's rare John gives out free advice, so take it and run Achilles, take it and run.

    While Meggan does her work, John finds a soft spot of grass to settle onto, laying on his back, just staring up at the stars and puffing away on of those blasted coffin nails in the form of a Silk Cut cigarette. A time or two, the coughing takes him for a spin, dry and hacking and painful. ... but really the most concerning of it, is when he actually *falls asleep* waiting.

    It's difficult enough to get the man to sleep in bed when he's been up for forty eight straight, it's really not like him to just drift off in the middle of... well, this? Telling that, innit?

Achilles has posed:
    The only reason Angelo discussed it at all was because his helmet concealed most of his face. He smirks and shrugs his shoulders, "Well, be well you two. I'll be around. I have a feeling one of you could find me again if you needed my help." he states before turning to wander off into the night.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
So they go their separate ways. Paths erased, while the spell collapses like so much ash left behind a firework going off in the night. Darkness paints the sky and the blue-red strobes flash in the distance, calling an end as rough as it began.

Stupid talking heads. They have no business anywhere, do they?

Meggan's own exhaustion won't get any better sitting around talking to the cops. The warrior's left. The vigilante turned away. She stoops to scoop up John, the duffel bag, and any remnants that somehow survived the zombie jamboree. John might have reason to rouse himself but not complain, since he walks out of the cemetery instead of flying by hop-skips through the upper atmosphere. Nothing so grand as that for him with his professed hate of flashy things.

Though the man's taking a damn bath and his clothes get incinerated before the morning comes.

John Constantine has posed:
    Except the trench coat, never the coat. Man's dry cleaner must make a fortune fixing that thing, truly. Everything else, well, he has about five dozen of one and ten of the other.