The session began with 9th Squad out on a call—Sgt. Hemelshot had recently decided that the squad could use some training in teamwork by assisting the normal police on a few calls. This particular call involved an armed robbery at a Qwik Stop convenience store in Iota Sector. According to the police channel, one perp was inside the store—the normal police had blocked off the rear exit with a dumpster and were awaiting XSWAT's arrival.
The weather was poor—rain was slashing down almost horizontally as the XSWAT spinner landed next to the normal police cruiser. Hemelshot got out to speak with the two normal police officers, who were both skeptical of the need for XSWAT assistance. Nevertheless, the police cooperated with XSWAT to burst into the store through the front doors in a display of force. The single perp armed with a handgun fell victim to the "shock and awe" style entrance and was easily rounded up. On the way out, another call came in for a Domestic Disturbance in Phi Sector. The 9th Squad was initially reluctant to assist, but once it became known that the husband was a registered Esper, they agreed to tag along.
The address given in the call led to a nondescript single-family-home owned by Ryan Sand. Burton used his gadgetry to construct a psionic nullifying device during the trip. Upon arrival, the two normal police officers moved up and knocked on the door. Tyger heard enraged shouting from within just before the front door was blown off its hinges by a surge of psychokinetic power, blasting the older normal police officer all the way across the street. Thinking quickly, Jama surrounded the older officer with a protective spell, cushioning the blow so that he was merely dazed rather than crushed into a fine red paste. Meanwhile, the 9th Squad moved up to the building and attempted to talk Sand into coming outside. Mrs. Sand made herself known and demanded that the police leave her husband alone! It was obvious that Mrs. Sand had been a victim of domestic abuse, however. Another surge of Esper power blew out windows on the house and the cruiser outside as the house simply peeled open, as if a huge pair of invisible wings had been unfurled. This display shocked the XSWAT officers, but Hemelshot quickly interposed himself between the Esper and Mrs. Sand. The wife turned out to be quite a handful, however, requiring all of the veteran officer's attention lest she slip free of his grasp.
"Let. Go. Of. My. Wife!" The Esper shouted, and teleported outside. He gestured at the police cruiser (with the perp from the Qwik Stop still inside!), which rose into the air via his telekinesis. The 9th Squad attempted to scatter, but the car came slamming down on top of Carpenter, Tyger, and Jama. Burton, fortunately, had leaped out from underneath in time. Hemelshot moved outside and let Mrs. Sand go, all right—face down onto the wet grass and mud. Carpenter focused his faith—filled with the strength of his belief, Carpenter shoved the car off of him and the other officers. "Mr. Sand." He said forcefully. "Calm down."
The impact of Carpenter's personality was enough to shock Sand out of his rage, and he acquiesced to the request. As the couple held each other, the normal police officers remarked how grateful they were for XSWAT's assistance in this case and offered to buy lunch at a local bar & grill, the Irish Glen.
At the bar & grill, the normal police made it clear that they did not trust Espers at all and were appreciative of XSWAT's efforts to deal with the more bizarre elements of Angelus's crime. Eventually, the normal police took their leave, and the 9th Squad finished their meal. After returning to their ready room at the precinct, the squad began considering their next move.
In the ready room, Tyger explained to the team how he had been contacted by Leo recently and informed that several clades had gone missing recently in the Steam Tunnels, a lawless area underneath the city where many maintenance pipes, sewer systems, optical cables, and other infrastructure for the city was located. Criminals call this area "the Underworld." Tyger also informed the team that Leo had strongly stressed the need for a completely unofficial investigation. One by one, the team agreed to assist Tyger in his undercover activity. The squad quickly left to dress in casual clothing—Carpenter and Hemelshot both owned personal body armor from previous careers, but the other officers would have to rely upon the thin bodysuit normally worn underneath the XSWAT armored jacket. Jama was certain that her newly-acquired spell to ward off harm would come in handy.
Just before all this preparation, Burton and Hemelshot put a plan into action to try and contact the Bio-Gestalt computer underneath Kurotachi's research center in Zeta Sector. Burton hooked up an old Dell computer to an isolated, possibly illegal jackpoint and sent an algorithmic communication that included a coded message. The response was instant—the computer had zeroed in on Burton's location and knew everything up to the man's shoe size. In another portion of the screen, the computer began a halting conversation. In between rounds of "hello" and "who are you?" the computer informed them that it had little time and that "someone's holding my hand...and they won't let go." Thoroughly unnerved by this encounter, Hemelshot and Burton terminated the conversation and trashed the Dell. On the way back to the precinct, the screen inside their car flickered with the Bio-Gestalt's final message one more time. Frantically, Burton disconnected his research computers from the datanet, just in case the Bio-Gestalt had decided it didn't like them.
The Steam Tunnels proved to be a new experience for most if not all of the team members—much like an underground shopping mall, it was dimly lit, hot, and extremely humid. Flickering neon seemed to be the main source of illumination, but even then there was quite a bit of lively activity in this particular portion, centered around a Free Clinic and a strip club named TattleTailz. Also nearby was a liquor store (Hal's Liquor), pawn shop (Guns Guns Guns), and day laborer hiring center.
Carpenter aided an old bum get some food while the rest of the team resigned itself to waiting in line at the free clinic. The bum helped clear the way for the group to advance into the Free Clinic, where they met with Dr. Louise Harmon. Harmon confirmed that there was a doctor matching the description of the man they were looking for, named Dr. Sudra Kamang—his offices were just across the hall. Harmon also mentioned that Kamang was not much of a doctor and that he seemed to spend all his free time over at the strip club with his bodyguards.
With this piece of information, the squad headed over to TattleTailz. Inside the strip club, they were met by a surprisingly helpful bouncer, who directed them to "Madame Red." A few drunk businessmen tried to cause a bit of trouble for Jama, slapping her on the butt and demanding that she "shake it" for them. Luckily, the bouncer stepped in before things went any further.
At the bar, Madame Red was easily found—a vixen pleasure clade, Madame Red was stunningly attractive and seemed to have some kind of power to make people nearby become even more physically attracted to her. Burton speculated that she may have some kind of pheromone enhancement. Madame Red made a face when the squad asked about Dr. Kamang, and encouraged them to stay and enjoy themselves—when the squad insisted, however, she informed them that the Doctor could be found in one of the back rooms and gave them directions.
Outside the back doors, the squad encountered a quartet of gangers, many with circuit-like tattoos. Two were pale and sweaty, with unusual bruises around the eyes, and one of the other gangers spoke to these two—"You guys should take it easy, you've been hitting that stuff pretty strong lately." When the squad emerged, the gangers moved to intercept them and demanded that they leave. One sweaty ganger moved to confront Carpenter, but experienced pain upon touching him. Carpenter extended his senses and detected the taint of supernatural evil within the ganger. Alerting the other members of the squad, Carpenter drew his sword, and the battle was joined. Tyger shot one of the other gangers in the leg while Carpenter easily fended off the attacks of two gangers. The last ganger (one of the sweaty and pale brothers) moved to a fence lining around a generator and ripped the fence from its moorings. The chainlink fence then became an impromptu net as he flung it onto Jama, Burton, and Tyger. Jama drew her magic kris knife and began sawing her way out, while Hemelshot and Carpenter continued to deal with the other gangers.
Carpenter cut down his opponent easily, but the other ganger by the generator suddenly got out a vial-like syringe and injected the contents directly into his own eye. The ganger suddenly seemed panicked, bellowing "This isn't right! This isn't how it's supposed to..." before suddenly swelling up to an immense size. An entity tore its way out from inside the man's shell, thoroughly terrifying Tyger and shaking the rest of the squad with horror. The terrible warping of entity sickness struck the squad once more, but only Jama and Carpenter seemed to feel its impact—the XSWAT officers spat out some blood, but remained determined to fight.
Hemelshot stepped forward with amazing courage, placing himself squarely between the otherworldly demon and the rest of his squad. His bravery nearly cost him his life, as the Entity's claws tore deeply into his flesh. Carpenter joined the brave sergeant, and the two of them began to struggle to keep the creature at bay. Meanwhile, Tyger had drawn his sten blade (a crystal grown in zero-gravity on an orbital platform—17 molecules thick at the edge mounted upon a rigid frame) and slashed his way out of the chainlink fence with a grunt. The incredibly sharp knife also cut Burton free in the same effortless sweep. Jama's enchanted blade was no less effective, and she sawed her way out as well, assisted by Burton.
With everyone free, Hemelshot struggled to hold back the Entity, but was finding its size and strength simply too much to handle. Tyger fired his maser over his teammate's heads and blasted some impressive holes in the creature's body. Jama made her way over for a clear shot, and heard something unusual behind one of the closed doors—a woman's scream. Carpenter struck the killing blow, pinning the Entity to the brick wall like a butterfly. Jama's keen hearing soon made out what sounded like her own native language, and it was someone chanting a spell from within that room! Jama alerted the squad, activated her protective spell, and opened the door in time to see three people running out of the room bearing two women with them—apparently Kamang had blasted his way out of the room and was running the opposite direction.
Burton suddenly realized something—here in the Steam Tunnels, there was no rain to wash away the Entity's decomposing remains! The scientist quickly ran into TattleTailz to demand some buckets of ice!
Meanwhile, Jama murmured a spell that summoned a spirit of air to carry her, and sped off in pursuit of the escaping Dr. Kamang. Hemelshot, badly wounded, accepted Tyger's help as they (plus Carpenter) set out on foot to follow as best they could.
Jama's spell of flight carried her to Dr. Kamang in the blink of an eye—she found the Doctor standing over the body of one of the women (apparently a prostitute), bearing the woman's heart in his bloody hand. Kamang spat a prayer to Kali, and began to duel magically with Jama while his bodyguards (canine clades) pulled guns. Ultimately, the two Clades found their guns useless against Jama's magical barrier, but Kamang's spells were slowly but surely pulling Jama's blood right out of the pores of her skin. Although tiring, Jama fought on, striking back with a perfectly timed kiss of flame that stunned Kamang long enough for her friends to arrive.
Tyger's big gyrojet gun boomed twice, blasting Kamang's physical body into ruin. The sorcerer, however, refused to die that easily and send his kris knife arcing into Tyger's body with one final curse. Kamang expired into a pile of dust with the power of his blood magic spent, but Tyger was nearly dead and Jama wasn't much better off. The two bodyguards quickly surrendered, and the remaining girl thanked the team for saving her life.
Back at the club, two gangers managed to limp off while Burton was otherwise distracted putting chunks of Entity flesh into ice buckets. Once he had gathered up as much potential research material as possible, the good doctor barged into the club, shouldered an admirer out of his way, and gave Madam Red a quite thorough kiss by way of thanks.
Afterwards, the team managed to get everyone back together long enough for Carpenter to perform some minor healing on all the wounded officers (He was too tired, however, to heal Jama). The bodyguards produced a card listing their employment agency and were released. Jama blasted the doctor's remains with a fire spell, crisping his jacket—she quickly realized that Kamang had somehow woven protective spells into his garments to protect him. Among the ashes, she spotted a set of keys and produced them. In addition, Jama called up a wind spirit to capture Kamang's cursed kris knife and kept it for further investigation.
The squad moved back across the street to the free clinic and entered Kamang's offices. Inside, they found sophisticated computer equipment, bizarre magical formulae, and complex computer algorithms. A hidden panel led them to a secret laboratory where a refrigeration unit held a selection of organs and a row of cryogenic canisters. Inside the cryo-tubes were four bodies—two of them clades. The squad had apparently found what had been happening to the missing clades. At the end of the session, Hemelshot ordered XSWAT to send in undercover forensics teams into the Free Clinic and the back room of TattleTailz, over Tyger's objections. A call to Leo indicated that the clade rights leader was extremely unhappy to hear that the investigation had become "official." Meanwhile, the squad was left to ponder the evidence at hand...