1963-10-02 - Casting a Solution
Summary: Following up on the previous day's meeting in Hell's Kitchen, Domino pays Dio's Scrap Yard a visit.
Related: We're Gathered Here Today..., Once Upon A Hellmouth plot
Theme Song: None
domino duke liv 

It isn't too long since the meeting in Hell's Kitchen that Domino makes good on her word to stop by the salvage yard. She pulls into the lot in a black and blue '62 Dodge Polara, parking off to one side then grabbing a couple of things from the trunk including a large rectangular case, quite heavy at that.

There had been some warning about a dog before so she keeps an eye out, both not wanting to run anything over on the way in nor lose a leg en route to the building proper. Standard salvage yard concerns, right?

"Fellow Guardsman calling!"


No one can miss the dog. Coz is enormous, more than a hundred and fifty pounds of yellow mastiff coming at Domino like a freight train, ears up and tail wagging. He skids to a halt just short of her, leaving furrows in the dirt, and barks — it's more like a bellow. Then he bows, wiggling his hind end.

"Coz!" A voice comes from the garage that's set back on the property, barely visible beyond a wall of crushed cars. "I'm in here."

Coz romps off that way, then looks over his shoulder to see if Domino is coming.


He's not the only one in there, apparently. Liv pokes her head around the edge of the garage door to see who's come a-calling, squinting towards Domino for a moment before her face alights with recognition. Aha. She lifts a hand to wave, lips twisting into a very wry smile.

"Nice car," Liv calls cheerfully, eyes briefly going to the woman's case. "Come on in. I think we've about figured this out."


-Cripes- that's a really big dog! Stand your ground stand your ground stand y—

Right as Coz comes sliding to a halt Domino's hefting the heavy case upward as a makeshift shield, fully expecting to get plowed over by a dog that weighs more than she does! "Gahdamn, boy! What do they feed you, adolescents?"

Well, now she knows where to go to find the others. Just follow the impossible to miss canine posing as a mammoth. Talk about a welcoming committee…

Recognition quickly shows on the albino's face as well upon seeing Liv, giving a quick incline of her head since her hands are busy lugging heavy things about. "Thanks. Got a helluva deal on it." She'll follow Liv in, and look for somewhere to set the case down. "What's cooking?" she asks, curious as to just what they've figured out.


The garage is occupied. Not just by Duke and Liv and the workbenches along the walls. A huge blue car with horns on the front crouches — there's no other word for it — in the centre of the garage. The strange effect is not helped by the garlands of flowers, burning candles, and… chickens, yes, those are some dead chickens… arranged on the hood. The centerpiece of that weird altar, once one takes a close enough look, is the head of a goat, up by the windshield, half-hidden under a heap of roses.

At least there's plenty of space still to stash things under the work surfaces, or there are a few lockers standing open to one side. That would mean going past the car, though.

"Hey," Duke says almost absently. He's stacking dowels of a white wood; his copper skin, where it's bared by his jumpsuit being peeled down and knotted around his waist, is speckled in white wood shavings. "That's Coz, this is Tex." Dog and, apparently, the car. "Casting tools are there." He gestures down toward a metal-working area, then finds his cigarette on a shelf above him without looking. "Almost done cutting these. Might go out and get some better wood, though. Especially for the big guy."


"What else? Ammo." Liv leads the way inside and she, at least, seems utterly unphased by the state of the garage. Though, after a moment's thought, she does give Domino a serious look, lowering her voice. "Don't touch the hood. He gets hungry."

So that's a thing.

Liv herself hitches up on a rickety-looking stool a short ways from where Duke is working, folding her arms behind her head. "Better wood is probably a good idea. That lieutenant of his was almost a problem, the big guy's not going to be any easier."


No sooner is the case set aside that Domino stops herself as abruptly as if she just ran into a hidden pane of glass, even bringing her now empty hands partway up in reflex.

She's staring at the car. Just..staring.

"Did I arrive at a bad time..?" she quickly asks, finding Duke and making eye contact as she casts both of her thumbs up over the tops of her shoulders. "Because I can always come back? When you aren't making a sacrifice to the God of Plymouth. Really, I don't mind."

Blink. "-Hungry,-" she repeats in a lower-pitched tone, now staring at Liv because apparently the crazy has spread to her as well! "Whyyy..do I get the odd feeling that you aren't talking about -fuel-…"

What on Earth did she just step into? Wait—the less she knows.


"It's a Cadillac. Apparently," Duke says, with the air of someone who doesn't really care what it means, just knows that he's supposed to say it. "And it is fuel." He spins around, hands on his hips, cigarette in his mouth. "Gonna have to go to the Other Garden. Used up the last of my allium vineale benedictus on your friend," he says to Liv.

"Maybe not now, though. Need to make these bullets — I assume you know what to do?" he asks Domino. "I can do shells." He points to several boxes sitting on a workbench by the car. "Salt, silver, iron shavings. Good for undead, faeries, the occasional demon. Some of them are fussier than others."

Coz busies himself sniffing everything, especially Domino and her gear. He sounds like he's talking to himself, the way he grumps and wuffles. Tex just…lurks. There's definitely something in there.


There is just the faintest bit of a twinkle in Liv's eye as she watches Domino, a very small smile tugging at the blonde's lips, but she says nothing. It's like there's some kind of an inside joke that poor Domino hasn't been let in on yet.

"I can keep an eye on things here while you fetch it, if you like," Liv tells Duke. "I still owe you one for helping her out, so… least I could do is make sure noone walks off with your things."


Domino's expression only becomes more puzzled, to the point of being properly weirded out. Her head is slowly listing to one side as if the weight of all of this information is proving to be too much to handle. She blinks, straightens, and stumbles "Yeahuhright..bullets. Sure." She quickly shakes her head then goes back to the case, giving 'Tex' one heck of a wide berth. Like if she gets within five feet of it she's going to get swallowed into the trunk and digested by god only knows what.

A quick inventory of Duke's equipment is taken, she over-prepared with what she brought along but it all but guarantees success in the task at hand. She also brought along a couple of long guns, likely for testing purposes.

"Okaaaaay..so we're making wood and silver bullets. This'll be a first. I'm sorry, is that a severed goat head on the hood of that Caddy?" she suddenly asks, immediately halting her own operation to gesture back at the hood. "And everyone's okay with this? I didn't think it was possible to feel normal but I'm getting a little closer every day."


"Rest of it's in the meat cooler." Duke crosses the garage by way of stepping in and out of Tex's back seat. "If you're hungry. Burned the innards on the fire, though. Tex gets grumpy if I let Coz have 'em and I don't like the way they get stuck in its grill." He pauses when he reaches Domino, reassesses the scene. When he turns, some ugly old scars on his back are visible. The rest of him is umarred, so they stand out.

"Guess the goat isn't okay with it, but…" Duke shrugs emphatically. "I take care of them before I use them. Worse things going than having a good life and just one bad day at the end. I'd take it. Bullets, right? The wood is mostly a theory, but it should work if we treat 'em right."


"Whatever else would we feed it?" Liv asks, and the faintest bit of laughter starts creeping into her voice. She's still trying to hold it back, but between Domino's increasing discomfort and Duke's complete and utter lack of social skills, she's having trouble. Her mouth and jaw are tight from the effort and, just for insurance, she pats her knee to try and draw Coz over so she can focus on petting the massive dog. Maybe it'll help.

"Honestly, we've made weapons from stranger," Liv admits with an odd smile, shrugging helplessly at Domino. "But the scale of this, that is definitely new. Well. New to me, I don't know about…" She waves vaguely at Duke.


But..there's a demon problem in most of New York City and they're harboring what sure looks to Dom like Satan's Sedan, and there's the weird stuff all drawn out on the hood and the car seems to actually -like- it, and..it's just..it doesn't..she can't even…


The albino's very demeanor just..suddenly changes. The confusion, the concern, the disbelief, all gone! Like someone just flipped a switch at the back of Domino's mind, turning her into a different person. A lopsided smile is given to Duke when he offers her leftover goat, saying "No thanks, I already ate. I swear goat goes straight to the hips, anyway."

Back to business!

"For the wood bullets go for as heavy a weight as you've got. Lacquer 'em with something if it won't affect their usefulness on vampires, wood bullets are especially prone to wind resistance so anything we can do to make 'em glide better will help extend their useful range. Try to keep the diameter uniform, as well."

Then to Liv, "Can't say that I've ever tried to go fairy hunting before. Are they difficult to shoot? Now undead, that sounds like a walk in the park. A smelly..creepy walk in the park. Hey, maybe you guys can help me out here. I get that demons come from a portal to Hell and all but how did a bunch of vampires get involved with all of this?"


"Hell isn't just for demons," Duke says absent-mindedly. "Don't think lacquering will work on the bullets, it needs contact with the flesh. What about a lead core?" He could burn out the centre of the dowels or drill through. Now he's looking for a tool to do that with, rummaging in an overhead cabinet.

"Anyway, all kinds of things in Hell. Well. The Hells. There's plenty of places down there. Up there. Out there." Hm, that won't do. He puts something that looks like it's from the 1800s aside to keep rummaging. "Guessing they came through when it opened. The big guy might have been stuck there or passing through. Maybe he got help from a friend. What's the way they say it?" He looks over at Liv, scowling. "Something about beds. People are weird about beds."


The blonde doesn't miss the change in Domino's demeanor. Liv just tilts her head slightly to one side, the smile still on her face, though it does sober. A little. How terribly interesting.

"Misery acquints a man with strange bedfellows," Liv immediately replies to Duke, though her eyes stay on Domino. Case in point, perhaps. "As he says, the most commonly held views of Hell are somewhat… simplified. And how difficult they are to shoot will depend entirely on the fairies. The little vampires and ghouls shouldn't be too hard," she muses thoughtfully, lightly patting the sword at her hip.

Now, the smile finally fades from Liv's features. "The big one, though. He might be more difficult. If you could catch him by surprise, it might be our best chance at dealing with him. I doubt getting into a prolonged melee with him would be wise."


Domino snaps her fingers and points back to Duke. "Lead core, perfect. If you can handle it, that'll make a big difference."

While Duke is working out one set of projectiles she does a bit more prep-work. Handloading takes a long time when working in bulk, and bulk is what she's anticipating them needing. There's a case full of primered rifle brass all ready to go and a metal bin full of powder, but when she starts looking for something she can start loading, like perhaps a handful of silver bullets…

"..Oh. Oh, man. This is gonna be a long day."

While the albino's grabbing hunks of scrap silver and a bullet mold from her kit Liv may notice that there's a peculiar detail about the other lady's eyes. When the mental shift happened her eyes almost appear to be glazed over, like she's disconnected from reality and living in a dream world only she can see. She's doing fine with conversation, manual dexterity seems spot-on. She can handle a complicated task such as loading bullets. And yet…

It's like she's high.

"So we set up a multi-stage ambush. He's probably a fan of the up close and personal approach. Lure him in, keep him distracted, then several of us can jump in and take shots down at the guy from multiple angles. Get enough active shooters involved and at least one round should make it through. Saturation bombing mentality. If we're lucky we can overwhelm the guy, make it so he doesn't know who or where to attack first."

Hands are on auto-pilot. If she can't find a fire then she'll look for a torch. It's a salvage yard, there should be something that'll fit the bill.


There's a small furnace for incinerating and smelting behind the garage, and a larger firepit out back. Oblivious goats and chickens putter about the scrap yard which is strangely green once one gets deeper into it. Vines crawl up scaffolding, a plot of vegetables is partly sheltered by a stack of corrugated metal and old barn board, even fruit trees grow here.

Coz helpfully brings silver ingots over from a lock box that he manages to nose open, surrendering them with a bit of a sigh. "He likes you," Duke notes in passing. "I usually have to fight him for those."

"Can't rely on hitting Vlad with any one shot. He's not…he doesn't keep one form," Duke says. He's making Liv help with coring and carving the wood for the bullets. "Jack doesn't remember much but there was a thing in the news — " Duke does read the news. " — about people seeing a cloud of bats taking off with a woman. And the books say he can turn into a fog or a mist. I'm not sure we can kill him but we might be able to hold him up for a few years, at least. Should ask a witch or a sorcerer about it, maybe?"


For a woman who looks like she got lost on the way to a ren faire, Liv seems entirely used to helping Duke with such tasks. Then again, the only thing that really seems to be rattling her at all is the way Domino's changed, and even that hasn't done anything too dire to her behavior.

Just ensured that, as they work, Liv keeps an attentive eye on the other woman. If a switch could be flipped once, it could easily be flipped again. And she's pretty sure it's her own damned fault for allowing it to happen the first time.

"The one who called the meeting — Iron Fist. She said something about a sorcerer, didn't she?" Liv asks, pursing her lips. "She probably has that handled. But, yeah, I doubt he's going to be alone. Maybe we should work out way up?"


She doesn't wander any further than necessary to get some heat going, partly because of the conversation and partly because she's not yet certain that the yard itself won't attempt to devour her soul given the first opportunity.

Now dogs..dogs are still dogs. At least this one is. Even if Domino could throw a saddle onto Coz's back and use the guy as an alternate form of transportation. When he comes over to deliver more silver (awfully smart for a dog, at that) she doesn't think twice about reaching out to absently scratch his ears. "I'm not adopting," she easily replies. It might actually be a joke!

The description of Vlad is rather troubling. "So maybe some shotgun loads aren't such a bad addition, as well. Or maybe a flamethrower. That should work better against a mob of bats or a mist, right?"

A nod is given to Liv, distracted it might seem but she's still paying enough attention. "Something-something-wizard-something. All I know is, if we can't find this guy or he doesn't have all of the right answers we're all in for a very bad time. Unless somebody can forge me a Hell portal-destroying bullet. Probably looking at a fifty caliber for that, at least."

That might also be a joke.


"Silver fulminate," Duke says thoughtfully. This is already a bad idea. "Or silver azide." He stops working and stares off at nothing. This could be the worst fireworks disaster in history. "Inorganics aren't my strong suit, but…" Fireworks would do the trick, though, to damage some kind of fog or cloud.

"Can't close a portal like that with a bullet," Duke adds as an aside. "Doesn't have to be big, just has to have meaning, I'd guess." He points at Tex. "It's not what you feed it, its the meaning. Has to matter." He gets up and wanders off. "Need to think about the silver. Maybe it'd work on those fogs that come in. And light." He stops walking, turns around. "No one knows how to package sunlight yet, do they?"


"I think a flamethrower's as close as it gets unless you make the right friends," Liv says to Duke, tipping her head towards Domino. Credit where credit is due for that idea, after all.

As Liv continues to work with the food, her brow slowly furrows, lips pressing together in a thin line. "I would still like to know how the portal was opened," she murmurs, sounding troubled. "These things don't just happen. Someone had to have opened it from this end, intentionally. They might know how to close it again. Or, you know." She shrugs, glancing between the other two. "Just be very satisfying to punch in the face."


Whatever the mechanic is going on about with the metals, it's all just a little ways outside of what Domino knows. The last question though, that she's a bit more familiar with. "There's tracer rounds," she offers with a partial shrug. "Not exactly sunlight but bright enough to be hazardous to stare at. Can start fires with 'em too, though incendiary rounds are made for it. Do a better job."

"Flamers aren't impossible to build. If we're lucky it might be possible to track down some of the military models, save us a heap of trouble." As for the matter of opening the portal, "Well, you guys seem more 'in touch' with that stuff than most. Who might gain from opening such a doorway? What's the purpose, the endgame? What would another person benefit from such an act?"

It's followed by a more genuine grin, glancing back to Liv. "I like your way of handling business."

The first silver bullet is formed, trimmed, cooled, then held up to a critical eye. "One down. Now just do this five hundred more times."


"Military…fire? Fire throwers? Flamers?" Duke parses the idea of military flame throwers. He stands there, hands in his pockets, brow furrowed. His mind is bouncing back and forth between the fact that people need to be fed and the fact that he has almost no idea what Domino is talking about half the time. Finally, he looks at Liv.

"Things are different now." Duke is master of the obvious — but he only knows that much because his knowledge seems so out of synch. The only way for that to happen is for time to pass more quickly than he's bothered to track. Liv knows him enough to be in his little book, she might have an answer. "It feels like a long time. Has it been very long?"


"It's not just the light," Liv says to Domino, leaning lightly against the table while she works. "It's the nature of it. It wouldn't be a substitute for sunlight." After a pause, she admits, "But fire does work well, so that's probably just semantics, really."

She falls quiet for a moment as she mulls over the other woman's question, actually setting her work down for the duration. "Well. I doubt whoever it was did it out of the goodness of their heart," Liv murmurs dryly, loosely clasping her hands and frowning down at the table. "Demons like to make promises in exchange for favors. The bigger the favor, the bigger the promise. So for something like this…" She trails off, casting a grim look towards Duke. It must have been one whopper of a favor.

Of course, Duke's question earns him a very small smile from Liv. "It has been a while. Yes."


"Well..yeah," Domino answers Duke, back to looking confused but still with that 'lightly glazed' film intact. "Flamethrowers. Yeah..kind of a long time, pal. They've been around for something like twenty years now. Most of the global militaries have some type of their own. The U.S. has been using M2's since the Korean War. Where've you been?"

"Those M2's only have about a seven second run time and about forty-five feet worth of range if you really pushed 'em, but sure. Liquid fire in a pressurized bottle. Ruin anyone's day, sometimes including the person wearing the pack. I'd nominate Deadpool for that one. If we can trust him not to burn down half the damn city with it," she adds with a low mutter.

Back to Liv, "Okay, so the obvious step there would be to check the newspapers for anything out of the ordinary. Some nobody striking it rich would be the most likely story. Maybe some radical new piece of technology had just been 'invented' somewhere this side of the country. Just taking a shot in the dark here but the guilty party is probably somewhat close to the portal than..say, someone out in Japan who's wanting some payback for Hiroshima."

Then again, 'it's been a while…' Dom just gives the two a puzzled look. One more of many.


"Deadpool. The immortal. We should get him one." Duke perks up at the mention. "He likes money," Duke says to Coz. "You'd like him." Coz barks enthusiastically.

"First, we need to get Hell's Kitchen clear of those fogs and storms. Then, we need to find out how the portal got opened. Portal is minding its own business, mostly," Duke points out. "The storms are not." The thought of Hiroshima makes Duke wince. It comes up often enough in the news and books that it's still firmly on his radar. "We need to work this out before someone decides dropping a bomb through the portal is the way to close it from the other side. Honestly, I don't think that would work. I need to think. We need to eat. If no one wants goat, I'll order takeout. Chinese?"


"I don't think handing a flamethrower to a guy who can be bought is necessarily tbe wisest idea, Raph," Liv says slowly, watching Duke carefully. "Not when we'd be asking him to use it against critters like these. Now, rounds made out of frozen holy water or something — that, we could hand him." What could go wrong?

Liv nods to Domino, lacing her fingers together and stretching out her arms. "Well, I'll check the papers, see if anything looks fishy. In the meantime, though…" She points at Duke. Food. Yes. "That sounds excellent."


Domino's juuust about to chime in that she, too, could be bought when she thinks better of it. In this situation..it really isn't about the money. Greed has a time and place, even she can understand that much. So, she instead points back to Liv. "That's a good point. Frozen holy wat—hmm." Once again her mind is working in overtime trying to come up with a means to weaponize a holy blessing.

One more cast silver round falls into a tray with a *Clack!* "Chinese, good call." And proof, perhaps, that she really didn't eat anything before stopping out here. Oops.

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