Rated M for strong language, drug and alcohol use, violence, sexual themes and situations, blood, gore, and psychological horror.
Appearance:Once a imposing, handsome man with an air of authority, now Marc just looks tired and older than his years, thin and haggard. His wild mane of hair's gone prematurely stark white, in fact, it's been that way for a long time, and his ice-blue eyes have a far-off look about them that belie past tragedy.
Bio: Carrow used to be a spook, the real kind. A CIA agent doing Uncle Sam's dirty work the world over, and it was a job he was very, very good at. Well connected, charismatic, and wickedly intelligent, there was talk of him being on the fast track making director....
But everything changed one fateful night when he was sent with a team to investigate what may have been a national security concern in a small town not far from a nuclear control facility. People were seeing and hearing strange lights and sounds in the woods, and several had disappeared, including a county sheriff sent to investigate. Terrorism or foreign actors were suspected to be involved, be it in espionage of sabotage.
Whatever, precisely it was he saw that night is anyone's guess, but by morning, he was the only one left alive, stumbling out of the woods unarmed, naked, covered in blood and muttering to himself. A swift investigation was concluded and then immediately classified, and Marcus himself was put on psychiatric leave. Nobody, much less the government, was interested in what he had to say, and it was only his connections that kept him out of a padded cell.
He became obsessed with finding out the truth of what happened to him, and not long after finally being deemed fit for service, he was caught trying to access further classified information and stripped of his security clearance, given a menial desk job. His career was over, and his marriage fell apart not long after, which only furthered his obsession. He joined several paranormal support groups, began contacting the media, and was becoming both an embarrassment and a liability to the agency. It wasn't going to be long before he either got rid of himself or they did it for him.
His salvation came in the form of a phone call from a blocked number, the person on the other end of the line using a voice scrambler. Apparently, someone had heard of his particular 'situation', someone very important, with very deep pockets. No name was ever given, but something else was offered instead. Marcus would have to stop talking to the media, quit his job, and live under the radar. In exchange, he was given protection, and expense account, and most importantly, validation.
There were things out there that defied all explanation. The government knew and cared more about keeping it from the public than dealing with it. His mysterious benefactor or benefactors, meanwhile, took a more active approach, fighting the shadows from the shadows themselves, and they wanted him to join them, on a trial basis. The gave him a few lead to follow, and he's made a good account of himself so far, saved who he could, and more importantly, made it through safe and sane. Now it's time for him to take a step up the ladder, which means no more solo work. Luckily, the agency already had their eyes on a few hopeful recruits, and tasked Carrow to round them up. And so now he's headed upstate with a damaged marine riding shotgun and a girl far too smart for her own good in the back seat, with little more instruction that the address of a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere where they're supposed to meet 'like minded individuals'.
Name: Kasimir Singh Barq, 'Kas' for short.
Appearance: A lanky, well-built man with deep olive skin, almond eyes and long black hair tied back in three braids, two shorter ones framing his face and a third going back nearly to his waist, sometimes wrapped up under a turban when he's in a good enough mood to deal with overt stares and subtle racism. He wears a Kara bracelet looped around his right wrist, and a hooked Kirpan dagger at his waist, both of iron.
Bio:Half Pakistani Sikh immigrant, half American mongrel, all punk. His father was a disabled military veteran that died when he was a teenager, his mother too busy between two jobs and four kids to reign him in, Kas grew up running wild on the mean streets of Chicago,where he got into his share of trouble with both the police and rival gangs that wasn't so easy to get out of...so he did what his father did, what his family guru had been telling him to do for years, and joined the Marines.
While he wasn't the best at following orders, he was quick, clever, tough and fit in well to military life, finally doing something he thought he though he could be proud of. Two tours in Afganistan and one in Iraq disabused him of that notion, though. He saw the worse of what people could do to each other, and went through many phases of trying to deal with it. Numbing himself to it with booze and sex, pushing through it with exercise, and eventually found some solace in the religion of his culture that he had never really thought of as his own.
For a year or so he was a full on bearded, turbaned Khalsa. Became a vegetarian, abstinent and celibate, meditated on the texts, and took the message of serving and protecting the weak to heart. Kinda preachy and annoying to his squad mates, who missed their wild man Kas, but whatever made him happy, right? And it did. His last year of service, they were stationed at a FOB in northern Afghanistan, coordinating with police and military forces and local tribes to keep out the Taliban. He was beloved in the nearby village, not quite a fellow Muslim, but he could speak decent Pashto and shared more of their look and customs than the average American. He was thinking of transferring from the military to the state department, to deal more with infrastructure and education than combat when....it happened.
A local chief he had a working relationship with showed up at the base one night while he was on gate duty, with his wife and sons, all in a panic. Children had disappeared from several households, and everyone feared the worst, the Taliban would not shy away from kidnapping, either as an intimidation tactic or to secure ransom money and goods or cooperation from 'collaborators' with the Americans. By all rights, Kas should have woken up his commanding officer, who would have called up the chain of command, and waited for daybreak before doing anything.
But the chief wasn't waiting, they had found tracks and drag marks leading up into the foothills from one of the houses and child had disappeared from, and he and his sons meant to arm themselves and go to rescue them immediately. It was brave, and righteous, all of the things he meant to be himself. It was also foolish. These were herdsmen and farmers, not soldiers, with antique rifles and the odd batted AK, and if it was the Taliban, and they were prepared, it would be a bloodbath and those kids would be in danger as well. So Kas made the call for himself, let the base commander sleep, rounded up a few friends and a Humvee, loaded for patrol and went to help the chief.
They found the kids in a cave, but not alive, and the killers, but they weren't human...the survivors of that patrol would later recall them to be some sort of smoke most times, that only became solid when they went in for the kill....and when they were visible, they were wrong. Too many eyes, too many hands, too many mouths....to much of everything. Their guns were useless, and the panic led to several casualties by friendly fire as bullets ricocheted through the cave. The Afghans seemed to know what they were dealing with, though. One of the men only had his great-grandfathers musket for a weapon, and old thing, a relic of the British empire....with a rolled iron barrel. When he swung it at one of the things, it screamed, a horrible sound that left Kas' ears literally bleeding just by hearing it, and vanished. Neither steel nor lead hurt them, but iron did, and as it happened, Kasimir had his Kara and Kirpan. He with these ritual items, the afghan with his old musket, and the chief who'd taken up the chain scourge used to punish criminals that was his badge of office, fought their way out.
The surviving Afghans called the creatures Ghul, a type of evil Dijin, man-eaters, known to legend and folklore but unseen in living memory. Why here, why now, and why them was a question never answered, because Kasimir was court-martialed shortly thereafter. The whole story was dismissed as a junior officer trying to justify his own rash decisions that led to a tragic friendly-fire incident, since many of the remains recovered from the cave had gunshot wounds form the initial panic, and the partial-devouring of the corpses chalked up to wolves. As for the kids, the Taliban must have executed them long before Kas and the locals showed up.
He was given a dishonorable discharge, a heavy fine for destruction of government property, and sent home poorer than he started. He's been in therapy ever since, working odd jobs to help out his family, who think he was just traumatized by service, same as his father. He still wrestles internally between despair and faith, jumping on and off the wagon frequently, but holds onto the ideals he picked up, with a few changes. Protect the weak and innocent, yes, but when your too late to protect, vengeance is just fine.
Carrow found him languishing in a jail cell, awaiting trial. He'd been working as a bouncer at a strip club, when one of the girls vanished from the parking lot, found raped and murdered a week later. Kas knew exactly who it was, a creep who'd been stalking her for a while. Instead of going to the police, he went himself and stabbed the man sixteen times with his Kirpan. The police weren't far behind on the lead and found him shortly after the act, before he'd even cleaned the blood off his knife. He was fully expecting and prepared to go to jail.
But Carrow showed up, asked him a few questions, made a call to whoever was running the show. Kas was released two days later, citing lack of evidence. The police officers who had arrested him suddenly changed their stories, and his Kirpan had vanished from evidence. Carrow was waiting for him in a car when he was released, and calmly handed him back the 'missing' blade, and told him the not to kill anyone else without his say-so.
Name: Brooklyn 'Brooksie' Paige
Appearance:A petite, some wound say 'mousy' young woman, with dirty blonde hair and gentle, blue-grey eyes peeking out from behind half- frame glasses. She dresses with a unique style unto herself that pretty much screams hipster, only fitting for the proudest nerd to ever live.
Bio: Brooklyn has no dark and troubled past, no close-encounter. She had a fairly normal, middle-class upbringing in Seattle, an one of no less than five children to loving, if somewhat distant parents, owing to their busy schedules, and like many 21st century kids essentially raised herself on a steady diet of books, television, and of course, the internet.
Come high school with it's cliques and culture, she settled nicely into the role of 'Queen Geek'. It was an easy transition, she wasn't rich or pretty enough to be prep and lacked both the coordination and interest for sports. She knew the trivia and the minutae, breezed through classes, and formed herself an indulging 'harem' of beta orbiters that treated her like a goddess. It was a good time.
But online was where she really shined, a self-taught hacker that made a name for herself, or at least her handle, across IRC and comment sections, part activist, part troublemaker, snooping where she wasn't meant to.
It was just before college started that she got really big into the cryptozoology and conspiracy theory circles, using her 'skillz' to dig into unexplained happenings for witnesses and survivors who put their stories out there, and she continued doing that on the side at University, where she had a lot of time on her hands and access to a very good workstation.
And as she dug deeper, things started to fit together. Names that kept popping up on heavily-redacted files, money trails making their way between shell corporations and once-vocal 'believers' who suddenly changed their stories. Something was up and she was almost ready to start making real noise when she started being contacted by someone who despite her talents, remained totally anonymous. The emails were odd, and seemed to be coming from multiple people.
Some were flattering, respected the talent and dedication that had gotten her so close to the truth. Others were threatening, making it clear that 'they' knew who she really was, her parents were, where she went to school, where they worked, and leaving what they could do with that information and their obvious resources to her imagination.
She was getting scared but didn't know what to do. She couldn't go to the authorities, she had broken a lot of laws in her short career, and for all she knew, they WERE the authorities. She couldn't tell her parents, that would just drag them into her mess. She was on the edge of a breakdown when she was called up to the Dean of the Universities office. When she got there, he was sitting with Carrow, playing the part of a recruiter for the DOD. Her country wanted her help, a job offer, Cybersecurity. Classified, high paying.
She breathed a sigh of relief. It had all been a test, of course! A mindgame thought up by some government think-tank looking for likely candidates. And for her, a dream come true. It wasn't until Carrow got her alone that he told her the truth. It was all real, she's stumbled her way into something way bigger than she ever could have imagined, and there's no way she's not sticking around to see wherever this rabbit-hole goes.