Yellowjakket sped into Whitechapel, and dropped her power. She’d near exhausted herself holding onto it for longer than she’d ever done before. She’d needed to rest and ready herself. She hurtled though the narrow side streets, turning and skipping through them like a mad hare. When she’d felt certain any pursuit had been shaken off, she dove into the Aldgate East Tube entrance. Yellowjakket dashed down the steps and launched herself off the landing, heading west. Following the tracks, she slowed to a stop and blasted a service door open, disappearing off the tracks, and out of the search area.
She kept up a steady run. The dark, narrow tunnels were filled with pipes and littered with debris, making high speed travel very hazardous. More than once she barely ducked a low-hanging valve or bend in a pipe. At her speed, a concussion would be a lucky result. She finally reached her destination after a slow fifteen minutes. She entered the back end of the hidden tunnel, and immediately the bitter smell of marijuana assaulted her. The thickness and intensity caused her to gag involuntarily.
She recovered, and crouched, listening. Up ahead a number of voices carried to her. She started to stalk forward slowly. Yellowjakket wanted to charge in, but it was prudent to get a look first. These might be metas, and if so, it would be potentially very dangerous to get in a fight. The last thing anyone needed was the interest of the Patrols. The smell made her light-headed. She shook her head to clear it, and fell on her side, partly dazed by the potency of the smoke. Her vision swam, rippling like a heat mirage above hot asphalt.
The talking stopped when she fell. Fortunately, no one came to check out the noise. She slowly pushed upright and retraced her steps, finally getting out of the tunnel into clean air. The slim woman took deep gulps of air trying to clear her head. She couldn’t figure out why the smoke in the tunnel was so potent. She’d been around marijuana and other drugs growing up. In the public schools it was impossible to get away from. Kids wanted the latest, and greatest drugs. Their way of rebelling against family authority, or something to sell and make some quick cash.
After ten minutes, her mind cleared. Balance and a sense of wholeness returned. She started down the tunnel, and towards the checkpoint. The guards would want to know about the tunnel and the people nearby. New smells met her as she moved closer. Smoke from burned plastic hung in the air, along with a charcoal smell. She started to trot, suddenly fearful. There was no noise. She moved past the first home. The curtains over the small man-made caves had been burned away. She didn’t smell any petrol or other liquid flammables. The regularity of the burn marks made her think mages. Those were the only ones who might trouble themselves to attack a place underground like this.
The checkpoint was devastated. The metal pipe that served as a watch point had been melted so thoroughly that the sewer tube had collapsed. Debris and loose dirt half-filled the main tunnel. She kept walking, occasionally seeing a location where someone she knew had stayed. Where there had been a small, bustling community, there was now only the sound of dripping water and the quiet squeal of vermin that scurried through the debris of the lives that were once here.
She held her sorrow tight inside. This was not the time to grieve. Right now was time to look, search the detritus for any possible clues about the attacker, and the fate of the people. She sifted slowly through the wreckage, hunting for anything that might tell her where and who to focus her efforts on. A spot of color drew her attention. She moved a piece of charred wood, revealing a strip of blue-grey cloth with a distinct bit of red piping on it. A mage’s robe. That confirmed who the attackers were. It also meant that the people here fought back rather than ran. A piece of robe doesn’t just fall off.
So, with the mages being the culprits, she needed to find a group to question. That could get problematic. The other problem was, why had this place been attacked? It was small, out of the way. Nothing was here that would draw a full-on raid to her knowledge. She needed more information, which went back to finding someone to ‘talk’ to.