Summary: When Tesla and Druitt find the body of a man, mutilated by something without a name, the Sanctuary is their first port of call. Magnus cannot resist the challenge to her skills and intellect, but it isn't long before she realises that this isn't just an injured predator seeking easy prey.
Set: Between Haunted and Kali.
Spoilers: `Sanctuary for all` (obviously), maybe `Kush`, definitely `The Five`, just possibly `Requiem`, `Revelations` (both), `End of Nights` (both), `Eulogy`, `Sleepers` and `Haunted`.
Genres: Several. These include: Drama, Angst, bits of Adventure, Hurt/Comfort, Suspense and Mystery.
Rating: Fairly strong T for bloody violence, mostly you only see its affects, not it being inflicted. As an episode, a 15, on a par with Nubbins or the autopsy scene in Requiem.
Disclaimer: This world belongs to the genii Amanda Tapping, Martin Wood and Damian Kindler. If I did own this, Monster would be cannon.
My first Sanctuary fic and my third fic overall.
"Ready." Henry lifted the lid off the crate.
"Woah!" All four of them leapt back, Will shouted, as the abnormal shot out like a bullet. Magnus glimpsed black fur, long claws, membrane wings as the terrified creature flew towards the robotic assist.
"Some critters just don't know when to quit." Kate snarled, training her stunner on the abnormal.
"They're incredibly shy." Magnus replied, staring after it. "Being sedated and shut in a crate for seven hours, then waking up in a completely different habitat is probably her personal hell."
"And having her home flattened for a power plant isn't?" Will put in.
"Geez, Kate, no!" Henry yelled as Kate's hand tensed to fire. "Not while it's on the assist!"
"Because you'll screw up the calibration and I'll have to spend eight hours un-screwing it."
"How do I get it then?"
"Wait a second." Magnus walked across to the robotic assist's controls and tapped the on switch. She'd found herself using the thing less since it had tried to kill them, though she knew it hadn't actually been the robotic assist. As the metal hummed into life, the abnormal swooped down with a high, chattering shriek of terror.
Kate fired. The abnormal crashed to the floor. Magnus approached her slowly. She was motionless. Her black furred body, about the size of a cat's was crushing her delicate wings, the wings that told what she should have been. A bat. A harmless little bat. For some reason, she'd grown to about ten times her natural size. Magnus ran a hand over the wings. They looked and felt undamaged.
"Will, Kate, get her into her accommodation. She's not obviously injured. Henry, check no one has tried to contact us in the last twenty-four hours, and that we haven't got any uninvited guests."
Magnus got up as Will and Kate approached the abnormal. She pitied her. Her home was days from destruction, she'd just been subdued and taken away by strangers. She'd wake up terrified.
"Doc, you'd better see this." Henry called from his lab. Magnus turned and walked quickly over. Henry gestured towards his screen. Two men were striding towards the gate, purpose in every movement. One, approximately her height with dark brown hair that stood almost upright on his head, pale skinned and dark eyed. The other, taller, more solid, bald, skin almost as pale as the other's, eyes paler. Nikola and John.
"This is real-time." Henry's voice jerked her back to reality. "The EM shield's up and he knows it. Do I let them in or not?" Nikola and John stopped in front of the gate. Magnus hesitated for a moment, then,
"Let them in. I'll go and see what they want."
It wouldn't be good news, she was fairly sure of that. Neither one of them would just drop by, let alone both at once, and she hadn't called them. No, something had defeated them, and something able to defeat both Nikola and John wouldn't be bad, it would be very bad.
Magnus met them just outside of the main building. Greetings were exchanged defensively on her part, uncomfortably on theirs.
"Helen." There was a very tense pause.
"Do you mind my asking why you're here?" Magnus asked eventually. They glanced at each other.
"About a month ago," Nikola began, "I discovered that all Cabal workers were fitted with an internal satellite tracking device. I found a program to track them, but the signals are all scrambled after this long, it takes a while to decode them, not to mention, they're scattered all over the globe because they're scared as hell so I called in John to do the dirty work." Magnus gave John a reproving look. He gave her one of futility back, as if to say he couldn't help it. A part of her had dared to hope that, now he knew what he was up against, he might have been able to put up a better fight. Evidently, she'd been foolish to hope. She hadn't had any hope for him for over a century. She'd not done herself any good by starting to hope a month ago.
"Anyway," Nikola continued, "about three hours ago, we spotted a tracker on a tiny island off the cape of good hope and I mean tiny, 8" by 8. Well, John took us out there and what we found was a little, unpleasant. We couldn't think of a normal animal that could have done it, so we decided to call in a specialist." He gestured at Magnus.
"So we're looking at an animal kill?" There was another pause following her question.
"We think so." John spoke for the first time since greeting her. "But there are contrasting signs." Magnus took a moment to answer. Her mandate won over. Protect abnormal from humans and humans from abnormal. If an abnormal had killed a human, she needed to investigate.
"I'll get Will and Kate."
"Bring gloves, it got ugly." Nikola called after her as she walked away.
Magnus grasped John's wrist with her gloved hand. He would take her and Nikola first, then come back for Will and Kate. Fire.
Wind threw her dark hair around her face. The sound of the wind and the crashing waves was all around her. The smell of the sea filled her lungs, tainted by a smell she couldn't mistake. Blood.
Magnus surveyed the dark rock and what was on it silently. In over a century pursuing abnormals, she'd seen her fair share of blood, but the carnage before her left her momentarily speechless. She released John's wrist and just gazed at the body. She saw the bolt of fire behind her.
"Eurgh!" Will's exclamation of disgust was a fair summary.
The body was a young man's, head turned to his left, eyes closed, mouth half open. His head and neck were intact. It was only below the shoulders that the reason he was dead was plain to see. His chest was slick with blood, which grew thicker towards his abdomen. Dear God, his abdomen. Most of what looked like it's skin lay sloughed off to his right, exposing the injuries that had doubtless killed him. The first was a pool of thickening crimson at his solar plexus, the tip of a broken white rib protruding. The edges of the second wound were obscured by the loops of intestine, spilling onto the surrounding rock. What had done this?
"Shees." Kate murmured. "Whatever did this was really pissed off." Magnus drew a deep breath and crouched down beside the corpse's head, laying a hand to the blue-white skin.
"Cold, no rigor-mortis. He's not been dead that long."
"He wasn't cold when we found him, but rigor-mortis won't be far off." Nikola put in as Will joined Magnus.
"No head trauma or neck wounds, neck doesn't look broken either." She could hear in his voice how sickened he was. He was bearing it though. "The rest of him is so covered in... gore that looking for sense in it'll be like looking for a needle in a haystack."
"Except," Kate chipped in, "here." She gestured at one shoulder. "Claw marks. Four in a straight line, so not fangs or tusks. We're chasing something... bigger than a big dog, smaller than a bear." Kate stretched a gloved hand towards the wound, curling her fingers like talons and aligning each over a wound. It looked surprisingly natural.
"What we haven't told you," John began, "is that we tracked another one to Yellowstone. He was in a similar state to this one, but there was a bear sniffing at him, so I assumed..."
"Oh come on John," Nikola interjected, "that was obviously the bear's kill."
"Bears will eat carrion." John replied, determinedly calm, "I'm only saying it's possible."
"Next question," Magnus said, sitting back from the body, "why here? Why did he come here or why did the abnormal bring him?"
"Safe place to eat?" Kate suggested. "Bring the body here, then..."
"No." Will interrupted, "look at the blood, he struggled once he was here."
"And do you see any signs of his being eaten?" Magnus asked.
"Baldie and the vampire probably scared it off." Kate defended.
"And it didn't come back in three hours?" Will pressed.
"It must be very nervous."Magnus offered. Kate gestured at the eviscerated body and gave a derisive snort.
Whodunnit, or whatdunnit? Any guesses about that or anything else welcome, as are reviews, be they positive or negative. Just, please justify your opinions.