So, yeah. I had just finished treating this minor thug from the Mara Salvatrucha gang when I got a call from Odile, “Hellooooo, not-James. The boys are in The Richmond at [insert address] and probably want your help with fish people, or someone is going to need healing I’m sure. They’ve left me a tasty morsel at home that I’ve got to check on. Ta!” And then she hung up on me. Sigh.
I called Morty, because he still owes me, and I borrowed his car to trek out to the Sunset. On the way I saw a car hit a bunny, or at least I think it was a bunny. I only note it because the event totally suited my grim mood. Who knows what trouble I was about to get dragged into this time.
After I get there I piece together the story.
Apparently Jimmy, Scott, Levi, Malthus, and Odile were investigating the mysterious death of that girl on Ocean Beach. Apparently her heart was ripped out, and the boyfriend that was with her is missing. Definitely sounds like our kind of case, but I wish they’d called me sooner. If I could’ve examined the body, I probably could’ve found clues they’re all oblivious to. Whatever. Spilt milk and all that. Anyhow, since the girl was a student of SFSU, the investigated the campus, turned up the boyfriend’s name (Brad Something-or-other), harassed some kid in a phone booth, and eventually tracked down Brad’s address. So, they set out for the Richmond to investigate Brad’s home.
Turns out that Brad’s family isn’t much for home repairs. It’s an understatement to say the place is a bit rundown. They knocked, got rudely turned away, so they apparently decided to do a little home invasion. Yeah, you heard me, and, no, I have no idea what they were thinking. So, anyway, they bust the door down. Or at least they try to. Apparently Malthus manages to put his foot through the porch, and Jimmy has to cover for him, but I digress. They bust in. They terrify the family that lives there. Sure, they turn out to be bizarre fish people, but even fish people have rights, don’t they? Anywho, there’s some sort of scuffle. One of the fishy people makes a super loud croaky cry that apparently means, “run for your lives,” because they do, bursting out of whatever door or window is convenient. They run to the cliffs at Land’s End and throw themselves into the ocean below. They don’t come back up. That’s okay, apparently we’re adding wrongful imprisonment or kidnapping or whatever the actual legal charge should be to our list, because Malthus or Jimmy or somebody managed to trap two of the fish dudes in the kitchen and have them handcuffed or bound or something.
As everyone who chased the fish family to the cliffs return to the house, Levi and Scott begin searching the house, and Jimmy and Malthus decide to “interrogate” their prisoners. You can’t see my air quotes, but I assure you I did them.
So, let’s skip ahead to something more interesting: my arrival.
Odile’s long gone by the time I arrive, and the rest of the gang is hanging out on the front porch, expressing varying levels of discouragement, debating what to do with their remaining prisoner. Apparently they let one of the two escape before I arrive. They also assaulted one almost to death, so I excuse myself to examine my new patient, and they follow me in.
The entire house has a brackish salt and fish smell. When I see the fish guy with his face all smashed in, I’m more than a little miffed, so I confront the guys, “So, you discovered that the dead girl’s boyfriend is one of these fish people. He’s a suspect, but he may also have been a victim of whatever killed the girl, and you then broke into the home of his family, forcibly detained two of them, and then beat one of them almost to death.”
“There were up to no good,” Jimmy pipes up. “They weren’t cooperative.”
“Uh, huh,” I reply. “Why don’t you guys clear out while I try to heal the guy. Maybe I can get some info out of the guy if I play Florence Nightingale good Samaritan.”
Everyone clears out, except for Scott who keeps watch as a mouse.
During the healing, I have the strangest vision where I’m standing in a cavern underwater. A slightly iridescent elderly lady floats toward me speaking, “Join us under the sea. You don’t have to be alone up above any more. Join us through the baths.” And then I’m back in the kitchen healing fishy. Whoa. That was really weird. I’m guessing these guys have some sort of telepathic link going on, and trying to rebuild the guy’s brain telekinetically must’ve somehow tapped into the network. Freaky.
When the dude wakes, he freaks out and pushes away from me. Long story short (too late), he backs out of the house and starts running toward the cliffs. Scott follows him.
About that time, Jimmy and Levi come up out of the basement babbling about a locket with a photo that identifies the student they pushed out of the phone booth at SFSU as a fish person or friend thereof.
I tell them about the weird vision, and then it occurs to me that the Sutro Baths are nearby. Happy to have a course of action we all run to the street and our various vehicles. Jimmy and Levi mount Jimmy’s bike, a decision Levi will come to regret. Jimmy makes quite the scene using streets, sidewalks, medians, and even the occasional strip mall to reach the baths as quickly as possible. Jason does his best to follow in Jimmy’s wake.
Everyone reconvenes at the site of the Sutro Baths, because apparently Scott’s chase led him to the same destination. Surprise. Not.
Scott tells us which pool the fishy dude disappeared into, so since I was invited and all, I step up to the pool and loudly say, “Okay, I’m here!” After a few moments I decide nothing is going to happen and turn back to the group. Bummer.
So, of course, Scott decides to turn into one of the fish people, because that seems like just as good of an idea as mine. He begins to walk into the water, everyone shouts at him but he doesn’t respond, and everyone tries to spring into action simultaneously. I try to pick him up telekinetically, but the fishy Scott is somehow able to physically resist my telekinesis, which has never happened before. I didn’t even know it was possible. We’re more or less at an impasse, but thankfully I’m not alone. Levi dives forward and cinches a large zip-tie around fishy Scott’s feet (because of course he carries around zip-ties). Jimmy follows that up by running around fishy Scott, scooping him up into a fireman’s carry, and pitching him unceremoniously back on dry land. That’s apparently enough to snap Scott out of his fishy daze and revert to his normal form.
I inform Scott that the fishy people have some sort of telepathic bond that he apparently got to experience first hand, and he’s not very grateful for the information. Much discussion ensues.
Levi pipes up about an amulet he found while searching the house. Everyone rolls their eyes and asks why he didn’t bring this up earlier. He has some Levi-esque lame answer. The amulet has a symbol that looks like an eye, is made out of the same material as some clue they found at the scene of the beach murder, but otherwise doesn’t yield any more useful information.
With no new information the group eventually decides to revisit SFSU to track down the phone booth dude.
Back at the SFSU campus, the team attempts to track the kid down, but we fail. We follow his footprints until they dead end at a place where it looks like a leaf blower has been pointed directly at the ground, leaving a circular pattern of cleared ground.
Levi thinks aliens abducted the kid, but Scott and I tell him to stop being ridiculous. He goes on about faeries and demons and such as if that somehow makes aliens real also. Whatever. The kid’s got a lot to learn.
Anyway, it eventually occurs to Scott to pull the photo out of the locket and look at the back. From there we acquire the names of the three people: Brad, Charles, Darlene, and Abbey. Oh, and they have Brad’s last name somehow, but I don’t remember what it is. So, apparently it’s time for breaking and entering, and we make our way to the SFSU administrative building in search of student records.
This doesn’t really net us much information. Security almost catches us. Jimmy does a surprisingly convincing imitation of a cigar-store Indian. We pretty much get the same address we’ve already investigated, and are pretty discouraged until we discover that both Brad and Abbey were members of the campus Christian Fellowship. It’s not much of a lead, but it’s the best we’ve got for now. We’ll see where it leads us.