The Sorrel-Eades warehouses, a small complex just north of the Farraday City Boardwalk, have been abandoned for years. It was declared an EPA Superfund site a decade ago, when a truck dangerously overloaded with industrial chemicals exploded outside the center warehouse building. It’s well known among the locals that anyone who goes in the S-E complex dies, and some of the earliest examples of that death were graphic and frightening. But the EPA never actually sent anyone to clean it up—whether they forgot, or the lords of the city forbade it, nobody knew. The end result was the same: nobody went there unless they actually wanted to die.
The truth of the matter is that the chemicals have been gone from the complex for years. When Haruspex Analytics wanted to find a place where they could operate in anonymity, they chose the most environmentally inhospitable location they could find, cleaned it up, and made sure nobody knew it was clean. In the end, it was simply one contaminant being replaced with another, and it still killed anyone who came too close or stayed too long. In the last few days, however, locals have noticed things happening there—specifically trucks driving up to the center building, and armed guards unloading sealed containers. So far no one has worked up enough curiosity to start poking around, and the storm currently engulfing the city is a far more pressing concern.
A storm, it should be noted, that has left the Sorrel-Eades complex relatively untouched.
All eleven buildings sit comfortably within the storm’s eye. The old chain link fence that closed off the complex from the rest of the city is gone, ripped to shreds and flung across the city by the eyewall separating the complex from everything else, but the warehouses themselves are untouched, an oasis surrounded by a swirling wall of screaming clouds. The clouds themselves are terrifying, moving at such speeds, with such a small circumference, that they resemble the inside of a tornado—smooth, almost marbleized. At the higher elevations, lightning sparks so furiously that the light filters down through the clouds, so that even at ground level they glow with a faint green light.
It is into this scene that Jack Barrow emerges from the eyewall next to the southeast warehouse, soaked to the bone, carrying Red Shift and Jenny Forrest, one under each arm. He hops up onto an old loading platform as if the weight of the two were nothing, and sets them down against the warehouse cinderblock wall. Red Shift immediately staggers to his feet, using the warehouse wall to steady himself. Jenny stays where she is, fumbles with her chin strap, and removes her helmet. Her braided hair is soaked, and she wordlessly turns her helmet over, watching the water spill out.
“That… was undignified,” Red Shift says.