Volcano, Virgin, Hot Air Balloon

posted Mar 12, 2016, 4:41 AM by Viktor Zólyomi
The following article was written by Jonathan Parker and was originally published in the Con City Times.

A manhunt is in progress to apprehend Mitch Young, Con County's current public enemy number one, for stealing one hundred tons of molten steel, abducting fifteen young women, and hijacking a hot air balloon. The baffling series of events leading to the initiation of the manhunt started with the break-in at the steel mill in Brickton a few weeks ago. Vincent Roarke, the owner of Roarke Steel, was quick to assist the investigation by all means.

"No one robs Vincent Roarke and gets away with it," he stated. "I've handed a copy of the security camera footage over to the police and another to a private detective, and one more to a professional hitman. Let's see who finds those bastards first."

The security camera recordings showed a group of men dressed in black robes and Halloween skull masks breaking into the steel mill with an entire convoy of tanker trucks, which they loaded up with the molten steel. Before leaving, they spray painted the gates with a sloppy graffiti of a white skull.

"The tankers were obviously custom made," Vincent Roarke explained. "They clearly wanted the steel in molten form, but once removed from the furnace the steel starts to cool off. The tankers must have been made to keep the temperature as high as possible, as long as possible. That's an easy lead to go on."

Despite Mister Roarke's advice, the investigations hit a dead end. A week later a seemingly unrelated abduction of fifteen female students of Greenwell University was quickly linked to the theft at the steel mill when a white skull graffiti was found at the student dormitory. Detective Eve Rhodes of the Greenwell Police was quick to initiate a joint investigation of the two cases with Brickton's police force. In the end she was given complete control over both investigations along with temporary jurisdiction in Brickton.

"They told me they couldn't work the case because they were too busy maintaining order in the streets amidst the newest riots," she said. "Which is good for everyone. I wouldn't want the incompetent Brickton cops to jeopardize the lives of the missing students."

As the investigation went on, Detective Rhodes was forced to collaborate with the police of Desert Rock when a hot air balloon went missing from the border town and a white skull graffiti was left at the scene of the crime.

"They took my livelihood, the bastards!" Adam White, founder of Desert Rock's Soaring Skyrides sightseeing company said about the theft of his only hot air balloon. "When I find them, I'm gonna take them up to a thousand feet and give them a taste of what Icarus felt like on his way down!"

The investigation progressed very slowly until a backpacker who chose to remain anonymous spotted an unlikely sight in the mountains north of Brickton: a volcano.

Con County's mountains, known to locals as the Peaks, are non-volcanic mountains, which led to skepticism on the part of the authorities, until the backpacker showed them a photo of a lava pool. The photo eventually landed on the desk of Detective Rhodes who quickly put two and two together.

"They are trying to make an artificial volcano," she explained on her way to the bust. "Just think about it, they use molten steel in place of lava, and use the hot air from the balloon to cause an eruption. Brilliant, really. Baffling, but brilliant."

When police arrived at the Peaks, they found a facility built into the side of the mountain next to the artificial lava pit. There they found a group of men in worker's outfits who immediately surrendered without a fight. The fifteen young women from Greenwell were recovered unharmed from a cage in the basement. Unfortunately, the mastermind behind the operation was on the opposite side of the lava pit and managed to escape in a helicopter.

He was later identified as Mitch Young, founder and CEO of Young Constructions, a builder company based in West Side Con City. The men apprehended in the Peaks were identified as the employees of Young Constructions, and they were more than eager to shed light on their boss's true plans.

"Mister Young is crazy," Senior Overseer Jim Lemmon summarized curtly. "He's into this whole occult shit, you see. At first we found it amusing, how he would decorate his office with voodoo dolls and shit, but then this rejuvenation ritual thing came up and we were no longer laughing."

Several other employees of Young Constructions made the same accusations in their testimonies as the Senior Overseer, which lends credibility to his statements. It is at this point that the reader should take note that the rest of this article, although not explicit in nature, may cause serious mental distress to people with a vivid imagination, and even more distress to people with the ability to think.

"The boss is pushing fifty," Mister Lemmon explained. "He's terrified of growing old. But he found this rejuvenation ritual in one of his occult books. It said, that he could live for a thousand years if he sacrificed a virgin by throwing her into a volcano, at the time of a full solar eclipse. And he was hell bent on performing that ritual, within Con County."

The astute observer may find numerous flaws with Mitch Young's plan. The lack of volcanoes in Con County chief among them, but let's not ignore the fact that the next full solar eclipse over Con County is not due for another hundred and sixty years. But he proved that a desperate man will not back down from anything.

"The boss had us dress up in these idiotic costumes and raid the steel mill in Brickton for molten steel," the Senior Overseer elaborated. "He figured we didn't need an actual volcano, just a lava pit, which we could make if we dug a pit and filled it up with red hot molten steel. Of course we had to build a furnace the size of a small lake, not just merely a pit, but we're builders, we can do that. But then he sent us out for virgins."

The fifteen female students abducted from Greenwell University were, apparently, taken with the purpose of being thrown into the makeshift lava pool. As for why they took so many women when they only needed one, the answer is simple.

"We needed a virgin, and it took us fifteen attempts to find one at the University," Mister Lemmon said. "We couldn't tell just by looking at them, after all. And by the time we could check, they knew we were up to no good, so we had to bring them all with us. We couldn't let them go to the cops, and we didn't want to kill them. We're not assholes. That's the boss's privilege."

And so it happened that the material elements of the rejuvenation ritual all came together in the Peaks. Mister Young was still missing his solar eclipse, however. That's where the hot air balloon came in.

"He was going to block out the sun over the Peaks with the balloon during the ritual," the Overseer explained. "He figured, if he could get away with faking a volcano for the ritual, no harm would come from faking an eclipse."

Fortunately for the abducted virgin from Greenwell, the operation took too long and by the time everything was ready, she was able to persuade one of her captors to save her life by taking away her virginity. This was two days before police burst into the facility in the Peaks.

"The boss was livid," Mister Lemmon recounted. "He wanted to throw the girls, all the girls, into the molten steel just to see if the ritual would work without virginity, but then he convinced himself that it would spoil the lava pit if it didn't work, and then he'd have to start over. So he decided to look for a virgin in Brickton instead. Didn't have much luck there, unsurprisingly. I'm just glad he didn't consider that the ritual never specified the age of the sacrifice."

Mitch Young is on the run as we speak, and police forces all over Con County are hard at work trying to find him. So are the private detective and professional hitman on the payroll of Vincent Roarke, and so is Adam White, who seems to be even angrier now that he has recovered his hot air balloon.

"The sons of bitches scratched the finish on the pipes and left muddy footprints all over the passenger seats," he said. "I'm gonna find this Mitch fellow and carpet bomb his ass from my balloon!"

Detective Rhodes in Greenwell is confident that one way or the other, justice will be served.

"We have our specialist task force on the case," she said. "The guy is as good as dead. I mean, as good as in custody. Which, I am sure, will give those poor students plenty of comfort after their ordeal."

The students refused to comment the abduction, but reports state that since their return home, the number of single females at Greenwell University has dropped to zero.

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