James stood at the door to the apartment complex, looking down at the woman in front of him. "Excuse me," he said, "Are you Mrs. Thompson?"
"Yes," she replied, "How can I help you?" Mrs. Thompson appeared calm, but her fear was evident in her voice. The presence of a hunter at your door indicated that someone you knew might be infected, and that your life would never be the same again.
"I just need to ask your husband some questions. Is he available?" said James.
"He just left. Can I help you?" Mrs. Thompson asked.
"I'll need to look around," said James, shoving her out of the way as he entered the apartment. Even the slightest suspicion that someone was harboring a nonhuman gave him all the cause he needed to investigate the premises. He felt no guilt over intruding on the rights of someone who associated with monsters. James walked from the entrance to the living room, checking the apartment for possible hiding places. If he had bothered to look up, he would have noticed a man clinging to the ceiling directly above him, his skin and clothing changing colors to match the ceiling's floral pattern.
"You know," James said, "Some of these freaks are so good at blending in to society that you'd never even know they weren't really human."
At that moment, the man lunged off the ceiling towards James and began hitting him repeatedly. James reached for the dagger attached to his belt while trying to shield himself with his other arm. Before he could bring up his knife, the chameleon man had jumped away, reaching the stairs to the roof in a single twenty-foot leap.
James turned to look at Mrs. Thompson, who had witnessed the entire event in stunned silence. "Now I think your husband just left," said James. James turned and started running up the stairs after his target.
By the time he reached the roof, James was badly out of breath. He looked and saw Mr. Thompson standing on the edge of the roof, turning grey to match the stormy sky behind him. After taking a moment to catch his breath, James charged at his prey, dagger at the ready. Mr. Thompson waited for James to get close, then calmly leapt to the adjacent roof. James had too much momentum to stop himself from going over the edge. "I probably should have thought that through a little better," James thought, jumping as far as he could towards the adjacent building.
As he jumped, James felt like his legs had suddenly grown stronger. He reached out for any kind of purchase he could find, hoping that he could grab a window ledge. Instead, he found himself standing safely on the other rooftop. He looked back at the gap between the buildings. "How could I possibly have made that jump?" he wondered. While James was distracted, the pattern on the wall behind him silently bent down and picked up a wooden plank.
A sudden blow to the head brought James out of his confusion, driving him to the ground and causing him to drop his dagger. James turned as quickly as he could and saw Mr. Thompson standing above him holding the wooden plank threateningly.
"You could have endangered my wife by attacking me at home. I won't let you get away with that," said Mr. Thompson.
James responded, "Nobody forced you to marry above your species. Did you marry her to improve your cover, or do you just hate humans so much that you had to ruin an innocent person's life?"
Mr. Thompson raised his plank above his head to finish James off. "I married for love, you miserable bastard!"
James pulled out his pistol and shot Mr. Thompson three times in the chest. James struggled to his feet and tried to say something witty, but he still couldn't think clearly.
Mr. Thompson staggered towards the edge of the roof and fell off the side, leaving a trail of blood behind him. James looked over the side to the spot on the sidewalk where he should have landed, but could not see any sign of the chameleon man. James realized that if the dead body had continued to blend in with its surroundings, it would be almost impossible to see from there. However, James also suspected that Mr. Thompson's apparent death could have been a trick. The way he had staggered towards the edge had looked too deliberate. James sighed, realizing that unless he could find a body, he would have to consider Mr. Thompson an escaped fugitive.
After another run on the flight of stairs, James arrived on the sidewalk. It didn't take him long to confirm that his target was already gone. James looked around and saw that some patches of sidewalk reflected the light differently than the area around them. Upon closer inspection, James realized that these were pools of a thick liquid. The fluid was concealed by the fact that it had taken on the color and appearance of the sidewalk beneath it. However, there was a definite trail of chameleon-man blood leading towards a nearby alley. In order to follow the trail of camouflaged liquid, James needed to get low to the ground and look carefully. He felt a sense of urgency, since if the rain started the blood trail would immediately become impossible to follow. James was so intent on the trail, he nearly walked right into the woman in front of him.
James looked up awkwardly, surprised to see a woman in a long, elegant dress staring down at him. James stood up straight, but found that she was still almost a half-foot taller than he was. "Excuse me, ma'am; did you see a wounded man walk through here?"
The woman acted as though she had not heard him, and said, "James Englehart, you are a man of order. You expunge aberrations from a strictly ordered society. I have need of your talents."
James was now incredibly confused, both by the incongruity of the regal-looking woman appearing in an alleyway and by the fact that she seemed to know him. Attempting to maintain his professionalism, James replied, "If you need to report an inhuman, you should find the nearest Security Lodge. Right now, I'm in pursuit of a dangerous fugitive. I need you to get out of my way."
"Narratives are coming undone. Archetypal characters are beginning to develop errors or lose their sense of genre. You must find the characters that do not belong in the story and terminate the problem. You will meet other agents who will either help or hinder your progress."
At this point, James' confusion had turned into frustration. Rain had started to pour down, and James could see the blood trail getting diluted by the second. James attempted to shove past the woman, saying, "You don't seem to understand that I have work to do here."
With surprising strength, the woman grabbed James and forced him towards a door that stood in the middle of the alley. She glared down at him. "Apparently, you believe I was making a request," she said. Lady Ink pushed James through the door and walked away.