After returning from their journey into Pure territory, the pack discussed what to do next. Aleister had some explaining to do, since he was seen in the ambulance before it was crushed, but not after. He decided to pretend he had suffered a blunt force trauma to the head; Walt did the honors—tired of Aleister’s constant mutterings—rather than letting him bludgeon himself with silver. He wandered around downtown until he was picked up by a cop, but soon enough he had to contend with the speed with which his wound was healing. Once taken to the hospital, he stole a scalpel and kept his wound fresh. He did not hide the evidence as well as he would have hoped to and received some pointed questions about self-injury from his superior. Eventually, he was given two weeks paid leave to recuperate with mandatory psychological evaluations before he could return to work. He was not pleased with the decision.
Bentley went to his meeting with Tachimoto and found himself losing track of fifteen minutes. As he was standing outside of Tachimoto’s office, a cleaning lady told him he was covered in blood and he realized that it was true; and, it was not his blood. Going to the bathroom to clean up, he was soon approached by a very nervous Philip, who told him that the security guards were saying he had killed Tachimoto in his office. Going inside, they found a body mutilated beyond recognition, covering the walls and floor. Philip took a moment to steady himself and quickly dug out an aged bourbon from Tachimoto’s desk. He poured a glass for himself and for Bentley, then swished his finger around in his own drink. After Bentley drank, he noticed his appendages felt a little wobbly for a moment. Philip told Bentley he would need to lawyer up and deal with this situation, so Bentley called Walt.
He listened to the situation and decided it would be better to not risk Bentley dealing with this alone so soon after an attack. Walt gathered the rest of the pack and told them Jeremy would take point on extracting Bentley from this situation. As the pack arrived, Aleister set up across the street with his rifle while Walt sneaked into the building while most of the late night workers ran out because of some form of ward. Jeremy called some gang members—who questioned his activity because of some rumors starting to spread about his time in D.C.—to cause a distraction and walked in with the authority of a police officer. Philip told Bentley he would be able to pull some strings and call in some favors to make this go away if Bentley asked him to do it, which he did. Then they heard the scream.
Aleister set up just in time to see the cleaning lady snatched up by a chitinous arm into the ceiling outside of Tachimoto’s office. Bentley stepped out and called out the attacker, who revealed itself to be a giant spider with a man’s torso. It retreated into the hallway away from Aleister’s sights long enough for more spider-men to emerge from the ceiling to attack Bentley, then charged him. Aleister began taking shots at the spider-creatures before the large one vaulted into the ceiling with Bentley, trapping him in a massive web in the rafters. Philip crouched in the corner to avoid gun fire. As the police arrive outside, Walt and Jeremy must force through thick webbing on the stairwell guarded by a spider-creature with a shotgun. Most of the police are kept at bay by the ward, but a few slip through; Aleister starts taking shots at their legs.
Bentley finished off the spiders in the ceiling, leaving their bodies to shed smaller spiders in sickening numbers. He came face to face with Philip in his Dalu form, who said to him: “desh kar,” a First Tongue expression used by Storm Lords. Then he told Bentley he was sorry, took on a massive white Gauru form, and threw him out of the twenty-storey window.
On impact with the street, Bentley came within an inch of his life and fell into a comatose dream state. He found himself laying down in a swamp he had dreamt of before. When he reached his hand up to take an offered helping hand, he was slapped back down into the murk by the mighty paw of Skolis-Ur, the Winter Wolf and totem to all Storm Lords. When he was allowed to emerge he found himself in a pile of Uratha bones and face to face with his pack totem. The Winter Wolf told him that he was showing his weakness by dragging down his pack and forcing them to tend to him. He told Bentley that they pitied him, which is unacceptable. Bentley was not so proud to ignore this omen and realized his tribal vows demanded more of him.
The rest of the pack scrambled to save Bentley. Bright-Eyes told Aleister that he was still alive despite the twenty-storey drop and he reached him in time to give first aid. Walt skidded down the elevator cables to reach him and Jeremy followed suit after activating the fire safety system that voided most of the oxygen from the office floor and killed the remaining spiders—left over after Bright-Eyes sicked a flock of crows on them. They rigged together a makeshift stretcher and got him to the hospital locus. There they began the long process of tending to his wounds. Bentley suffered a severely fractured skull and plenty of damage to the ribs and spine, which would probably affect him for a long time. Jeremy managed to convince the spirits of healing to aid in Bentley’s regeneration for the sake of the pack’s continued protection of the locus. After a while, Bentley was well enough to decide to get up and keep his bar on the road to opening.