When the bastards had taken away his company car and driver, Richard had found himself spending rather more time than he would have preferred in the back of a Johny Cab. He quickly shows Saki how to slot the chip and pull up the information. I have some history with the Barkovias, and I'd rather avoid the Golden Goblin until I can figure out what could have possibly convinced me to visit Maximoff's territory given... recent events. I'd rather start retracing our steps at the Glitterdust Club, unless there's some particular reason you wanted to visit the tower first...?"
Once we are in the cab, Richard will take another deep breath. Is there anything distinctive to note about the scent of the orange substance on Thomas's clothing or the fur on Saki's?
As Richard takes in the smells of his companions, he notes that Thomas's clothing 'reeks' of oranges and mangos, which is to say the normal human nose wouldn't be able to pick it up, but Richard finds that his particularly enhanced Vampire senses are able to discover that the smells are coming from Thomas's large orange stain.
He also notes that the fur on Saki's clothing, and the burns on his, both smell strongly of ozone, the smell of which stings and offends his nose; if it were not combined with the fruity smells coming off of Thomas, the horrible stench would be overwhelming, and Richard thinks it fruitful to not take another snoot-full without the open air.
Richard's nose twitches slightly once we're all in the cab, and he stops breathing for a good long while until the pungent scents fade. If there are no objections he'll direct the cab to the Glitterdust club, or the nearest entrance to Underpendros if the club is located in the caverns.
Not feeling particularly chatty, Richard will plug in his phone to charge (he assumes the battery is simply drained) and pull up the news on the cab's screen to see if anything of significance happened yesterday.
Assuming cabs have a charging port to plug accessories in and a permanently installed vid-screen... feel free to ignore the second part if not.
As Richard began looking through his phone, he didn't note any significant events that had occurred the day before. There had been some heavy trading the day before involving new technologies, and in the entertainment industries, and in vacation companies...and that's when Richard knew something was up. His business report typically showed high purchasing of 'essential' markets, but to see so many leisure industries doing so well...when he tried loading the headline story, it kept buffering and buffering. Finally, it popped up.
"THE WAR WITH CHINA OVER!"
"USA DECLARES PEACETIME!"
"SPACE MARINES HELPED MAKE FINAL PUSH!"
"FINALLY, I CAN ORDER BROCCOLI AND BEEF AGAIN!"
"BRONCOS WIN SODA BOWL, 15-24"
"CAPTAIN FREEDOM KILLS FAN FAVORITE RICHARD. LAST WORDS REPORTEDLY “I’LL BE BACK!”
"IN RECENT SURVEY, CHILDREN AGES 8-13 DECLARE SPEEDBALL THEIR FAVORITE SPORT"
"JOHNATHAN E. LEADS THE ENERGY CORPORATION'S HOUSTON TEAM TO WIN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. CEO BARTHOLOMEW SEEN STORMING OUT OF ARENA"
Home and Entertainment
“BARKOVIA INDUSTRIES PRONOUNCES NEW LINE OF BOOMERS WILL COST LESS THAN THINKBEST’S NS-5 LINE OF ROBOTS, WILL WORK TWICE AS LONG WITH LESS ENERGY”
“X-MEN 20: REVENGE OF THE X BEST SELLING MOVIE”
“SAYS CRITICS: ROCKY 31 THE BEST ROCKY YET!”
“LUCAS’S LAST WISHES REVEALED WITH THE NEW EDITS OF EPISODE I: MAUL WAS ALWAYS SUPPOSED TO WIN”
“PENDROS HAS STATE’S LOWEST HOMELESS RATE”
“MAYOR ANNALIESE TAKES VOWS, COMMENCEMENT SPEECH: A NEW AGE HAS DAWNED ON PENDROS, THE LIGHT WILL SHINE, AND THE RATS WILL SCATTER”
“MAYOR’S CRITICS WONDER IF NEW MAYOR WAS ADDRESSING SOME OTHER CITY, PENDROS WAS ALREADY FINE WITHOUT HER”
“IMP SPOTTED NEAR PENDROS SCHOOL; PARENTS FEAR FOR THEIR CHILDREN'S SAFETY FROM INSANE WITNESS”
Richard gives a small, thoughtful grunt as he sends instructions to his brokerage to adjust his market position. He's fairly satisfied- he hadn't expected the war to end so abruptly but he had taken advantage of the war to place long-term investments in depressed markets and it looked like they would be paying off nicely. I'd like to spend XP to buy my third dot in resources.
He idly wondered what had been the cause of the abrupt outbreak of peace; there must have been some interesting deals made behind the scenes. The local news distracts him from that line of thought as he pulls up the full article to read more about the commencement speech. Apparently she had actually done it- and whatever she had done must be connected with the day spent lounging in the sun. And what was this about an imp?
(This might come in sections ya'll. I'm sorry if it does)
As Richard perused the commencement speech, he finds it to be oddly worded. At most occasions, it sounds as boring and dry as a standard politician's speech "I'd like to thank my loyal supporters, who stuck it through with me when my critics my would have tried dragging me down..." Some of things stated were typical for a celebrity politician "Now, the cameras won't be trying to catch every bad moment of my mayoral career, as did my time on national television did, so I hope you didn't elect me to hear about sorted affairs and family problems..." But a few times, she would make mention of something that would have been offbeat with the local voters, but those in the know would completely understand "Some have said that the nights have been without respite. That there is no hope, and no moving forward, and that we are moving towards an end. But I say nay to those who have given into this nihilism. I tell you today that a new age has dawned on Pendros, the light will shine, and the rats will scatter! We shall prevail against the darkness! Come, let us gather, and we shall help guide each other towards a brand new day! Bring to me your ideas, and like a thousand flowers blossoming, these new schools of thought will allow for progress in the arts and the sciences, and for a brand new culture to arise throughout our grand city! Who is with me!? How will you create the change of a thousand flowers blooming?"
As Richard looks over the article about the Imp, and reads the description, he almost instantly knows what the man actually saw; one of Pendros's Kappa. The Kappa of Pendros were not to be f&!&ed with, and Richard knew that the turtle-like beings only dealt with two issues: Things of a spiritual nature, (Since Pendros's werewolves are not WOD werewolves, Kappa deal with spirits like Werewolves normally do) and protecting Pendros's children. Considering that this man spotted a Kappa near a school, it was likely that they were tracking down someone or something that was, or intended to be, harming children. Richard knew that no matter how he felt about it, it was best to stay out of a Kappa's business.
The cab came to a stop in front of the Glitterdust club. The Glitterdust club was notable for two reasons: First, it was Pendros's most popular gay club. Secondly, and more importantly, it was were Nathaniel Gorgeous held court for the Changelings. As was typical for the fair-folk, many changelings were simply walking straight into the club, charming their way past the bouncers. For whatever reason, the changelings of Pendros could be seen for what they truly were by anyone 'in the know', if they didn't take extra precautions against being detected. (Spending a glamour to strengthen the mask).
Upon leaving the cab, the Vampires instantly noted something very odd; most nights, there were at least a few Vampires in the club, or trying to get in, and considering the Glitterdust club was located in an area that was considered Pendros's best club scene, there should be at least some Vampires in the area.
There weren't any to be seen at all.
1d10 ⇒ 7
Richard and Saki's phones suddenly came back to life, having been charged on the way over. Each got what seemed like enough text messages and missed calls to take up a lifetime. In order from most recent to oldest came from:
Tina Smalls (this night, x5)
Tim Noble (this night, x1)
Nikos Maximoff (this night, x2)
Iranis (this afternoon, x1)
Zack Hawkins (this afternoon, x1)
Michael Miller (last night, x4)
Sam (last night, x1)
Michael Miller (last night, x4)
Nikos Maximoff (last night, x2)
Unknown Number (this night, x2)
Unknown Number (this night, x3)
Unknown Number (this night, x1)
Unknown Number (last night, x1)
Michael Miller (last night, x1)
As Saki gets ready to begin scrolling through the exciting list of text messages from his new fans, an email pings up about an intriguing new app for his implanted translator.
ACT NOW! ACT NOW! ACT NOW!
"This SENSATIONAL new coded security algorithm is GUARANTEED to erase any coding malfunctions by constantly scanning the programming for any glitches for LIFE! And if you ACT NOW we'll send you our brand new hardware shielding gel at no extra cost!" (shipping and handling not included.) "This REVOLUTIONARY biosafe polymer can be injected around your implants to insulate all connections, wiring and circuit boards from impacts and even external traumas ...within reason... Also shields your hardware from those pesky EMP spikes!" (please allow 48 hours for delivery.)
Oroku raises a thin black eyebrow in delight and selects to purchase the upgrade for his model "Techno/Synth-Voice Box 3000" at once. The new coding streams in front of his eyes for a moment as the shiny chrome speaker set in his throat crackles merrily away. Then the crackling begins to subside until its replaced by a soft and pleasant tone issues from it for a few seconds followed by a brief message in the voice he had been using intermittently. "Systems are now secure, testing complete." The young Chinese man grins broadly at the others and cracks his neck to the side in relief.
"Ahh that should take of these disruptions I've been dealing with. Now we can get back to back-tracing our steps from last night." With no more crack-ups in his speaker he goes back to read his texts as they approach the vampire free exterior of the Glitterdust club.
Bring to me your ideas, and like a thousand flowers blossoming...
A chill runs down Richard's spine at these words. He remembered how it had gone the first time and he sure as hell wouldn't be stepping into the middle of this. He suddenly wonders, what if he already had? Damn this hangover and whatever had happened last night... damage control was shaping up to be a nightmare. It seemed the princess was drawing a line in the sand- with her or against her. Was it a challenge to the fringe 'True Carthians' or someone else? These were certainly interesting times...
The timing of the phone's restored signal was certainly inconvenient. With additional information at his fingertips it seemed a very good idea to arm himself with whatever knowledge he could glean from the messages, yet it would hardly do to lurk in front of the club... especially with the oddly foreboding lack of any other kindred in the area. Quickly making up his mind, Richard decides to catch up on the texts and voice messages. After exiting the cab he tries to stand casually and look nonchalant, like he's waiting for someone or something and simply killing time with his phone. He mutters to Thomas and Saki, "I'm not going in just yet, something doesn't feel right... and I need to see if there's anything worth knowing in my messages."
-3 minutes ago:*Loud chattering and the distant sound of dub step can be heard in the background.* HELLO? WHERE ARE YOU? THESE A!$&~S WON'T LET ME IN! HEY! I'M WITH THE QUEEN! WHAT DO YOU MEAN I'M NOT ON THE LIST? LISTEN BOY, I- *click*
-5 minutes ago, no message.
-10 minutes ago, no message.
-30 minutes ago, nearly after sunset:RICHARD! Did you see the news? What, no, not that news, this is bigger: The Queen has discovered that someone plans on killing her! She's seeing anyone with a problem down at Club V. I'm going. Anyways, after what we did last night, I think it should be best that we, you know, maybe stick together? Speaking of, I hope your friend Michael is alright. Not many people can talk that way to a Maximoff and get away with it. Anways, meet me at Club V! *click*
-At sunset: Richard, this is Tim. Tim Noble? I know its been a spell, but I'm calling in that favor you said you owed me, back in, what was it? The 70's? When you went, you know, under? Anyways, I hear tell that you're the new Tutor. Heh. I'll bet you didn't know that! I've got a new pupil for you. His number is: Jack's number. I sent him down your ways; from what I hear, everyone is heading down to the B$#@!'s Court. Oh, and Richard? You do owe me big time. A Vampire never forgets a favor owed. *click*
-10 minutes ago: *shuffling can be heard* Michael's voice: OH GODS! AAAAH! NO! NO! NOT MY EYES! NO! AAAAAAH! *The sound of flesh being burned can be heard* Nikos's voice, who incidentally, sounds like Borat: Oh, uh, yes, um, that looks it hurts...oh...Rich, I wouldn't want to be Mikey right now. Of course, if I were him, I wouldn't be able to see that it hurts, I'd just feel it. Ha! I make the funny joke. Rich, what did you do with my special tablet? Hmm? I want my special tablet back. I wouldn’t want to do something rash. Oh wait, I already have! Ha! I make another funny joke! Call me! *click*
-15 minutes ago: Hello Rich! Uh, I was just told you didn’t light up last morning. That’s a shame. However, it is a good news for your friend, Mikey. He, um, is a bit busy trying to deal with some electrical problems right now…Michael’s Voice: OH MY GODS! THUCK YOU! THUCK YOU! Nikos's voice: Oh, he isn’t looking to good…why, I’ll bet he’s hungry after healing all those wounds…let’s get him something to eat… A child’s voice: *crying* I want my mommy…*screaming* It’s a monster! Nikos's voice: No, that’s just what a man looks like when his flesh is all burned up. But why don’t you get a closer look? No? She's shaking her head Rich. Well, let's have your mommy go in first. A woman's voice: *Woman screams* What are you doing! Where's my son? WHERE IS HE!? Ow! Why are you cutting me! OH MY GOD! Whose that man? WHY IS HE ALL BURNED UP? Why is he looking at me that way? HELP! Somebody help!
Michael's attempt to resist drinking a human dry, despite not having any fangs: Resolve+Composure-2 for starving+3 willpower point 6d10 ⇒ (10, 7, 7, 3, 8, 2) = 371d10 ⇒ 2 5 success need. Oh Michael. I'm sorry! :( I can't believe I'm this dark...
Nikos's voice:Oh Rich! Michael sure looks ravished! Maybe we should let him have a go at her? Yes, I think so. *Sound of buttons being hit, and body dropping to the floor* Oh, he's getting up...*Sound of woman screaming, and then gurgling* Child’s voice: MOMMY! MOMMY! Nikos's voice: Oh, that isn't good for a child to see! I didn't even know teeth could rip through a person's throat like that! And I just had the walls washed…tsk tsk…I wonder if he’ll get those stains out?
Michael's attempt to resist losing his humanity 3d10 ⇒ (10, 7, 2) = 191d10 ⇒ 4
Michael’s Voice: *Crying can be heard* no...no...damn you you monster. Damn you... Nikos’s Voice: Call me!
-Text at 3pm: Hey, noticed you didn’t come home last night. Worried about you. Cleaned the house top to bottom. Call me!
-Text at 1pm: Sorry I freaked last night. We should talk.
-Text at 7am: If u gt ths, I must not be underpendros. Can fel rck bhind me. Hard 2 send txt in mnd only. Whatever u do, dnt giv Nik the ring!
-Missed call at 6:30 am, no message
-Missed call at 6am, no message
-Missed call at 5:45am, no message
From here on out, Richard actually got these calls, messages, and texts.
-Text at 5:30am: Sorry I missed your call, I tracked Michael’s last call, he was still in the Casino district, near the Miner’s Casino. What’s up?
-Missed call at 5am, no message
-Call at 4:30, taken
-Call at 2am, taken
-Missed call at 1:45 am: Hey Richard, I just got Thomas out of there. If you stop sucking face with Tina, we’ll be outside, trying to clean him off. How was I supposed to know that the Gatorade cooler was filled with anything other than water? Oh, and grab Oroku on your way out. *click*
-Missed call at 1am: All right Richard, the game will be at the Golden Goblin, at 3am. Don’t be late!
-Missed call at 11:45am: Richard! Long time no see! I heard you put one over on Ella. It’s very nice! I think we can get you into a poker game, sure! Call me! We have special time! *click*
Saki's Phone: Unknown Number 1:
-Missed call 1 minute ago: Oh my god! They just carted away this crazy woman dressed like flapper! I hope you’ll be here soon! I miss you…*click*
-Missed call 10 minutes ago: Sake…I had a great time last night. I’d like to meet up again…I’m at Club V. This line is CRAZY! It loops around; I’ve never seen it this long before! Come down here and get me in! You said you had connections! *click*
-Missed call 5 minutes ago: If I find you around my woman again, I’m going to kick your little yellow ass, like the marines did in space! *click*
-Missed call, 7 minutes ago: Saki! I don’t know what you gave me last night, but it was SUPER different! I loved it! I hope you have some mo--*sounds* no baby, it’s my friend…*click*
-Missed call, 20 minutes ago: Saki! Last night was…oh wait, my boyfriend just came in. I’ll call you back. *click*
--Missed call, 30 minutes ago: Man’s voice If I EVER find you trying to blood bond one of my herd again, I WILL make your life a literal living hell. *click*
From here on out, Saki actually got these texts and messages:
-5am, text message: The goods are good. If you have any problems with Nikos, you come straight to me, you understand? And you better hope I never catch you feeding without my permission again. -LB
-Missed call, 1:46am: Hey Saki, once you’re done kicking those redneck’s asses, would you grab Richard and Tina and get out here? Our cab says it can’t wait any longer, and gave me a chip with free rides for the trouble—holy crap! It has, like, twenty free rides! Wow! *click*
Saki finishes checking his messages and steps over to Richard, and nods Thomas over as well. "It was Michael Miller you were missing this rising yes? Seems there was a fight when we were all together along with someone named Tina at 1:46? And do the initials LB mean anything to either of you two?" Saki scratches his head while thinking if there is anything else he should ask while he has a couple of mildly sympathetic ears on hand. "I think I'm missing something in the translation, but what does it mean when people say they will do something violent or impossible to you if you ever...take a particular action again? Its been happening quite often lately, so I think there might be a missing file from my translation program." While it takes a moment, the others soon realize Saki doesn't even know what a threat is, or doesn't comprehend the concept.
"F--- me." Richard muttered under his breath. It sounded like he'd really gotten his money worth out of that party last night. Hell, if Tina had gotten involved it was no wonder he had a hangover. For some reason, they'd gone and riled up Nikos; Richard couldn't immediately imagine any reason that would lead him to do something so stupid but the damage was done. He winces a little at the screams, though he's not sure why the sound affects him; he's seen much worse. Something occurs to him... the Malkavian had been awfully insistent about attaching himself to Richard's growing Coterie, could he have been looking for protection? And Tim! F---ing Tim Noble calling in an *old* marker! What was this 'tutor' business all about? Four childer in as many days? Was there some sort of organized plan to tie his hands with the duty of babysitting a bunch of neonates?
... Or was someone working behind the scenes to give Richard more eyes and ears, agents to help him accomplish whatever it was he was being set up to do?
Much as Richard wanted to drop in on the Glitterdust club now was definitely not the time. Besides, on an occasion like this it seemed even odds that Nathaniel would be found at Club V rather than in his own domain. He answers Saki in a distant tone as he calls an air taxi. "LB could be any number of people, what is the context? And yes, Michael's the name. Nikos has him captive and is torturing him. Right now." As Thomas looks on agape Richard continues speaking to Saki somewhat mechanically, his mind churning through the implications of the messages he'd received and trying to piece together some sort of coherent narrative to the past day and night. He speaks to Saki like he's addressing a five year old with a particularly broad vocabulary, and continues in a distracted tone. "Does your implant understand... 'hyperbole'? It sounds are being told that you have committed a social transgression and warned that further actions will merit consequences."
Richard had a lot of calls to make and a looming certainty that he needed to be at Club V post-haste. Elesium seemed a good place to be right now, but he sure as hell wasn't going to show up looking shabby. He's going to go home, catch Iranis up on recent events, and change into something fresh while offering Saki and Thomas something clean as well.
Call to Jack: "Hello, my name is Richard. I believe Mister Noble told you to expect my call...?"
The streetlights flashed by one by one as Jack stared out the window from the back of a dirty black and yellow jimmy-cab making it's way to club V. The lights were off and ambient music played on the internal speaker, music Jack knew would have been called 'elevator music' back by the turn of the millennium, and would irritate people to no end but now went under the term 'Jive' and people just ignored it, music designed to distract you and lull your senses, making you more open to whatever the f%*% the blather of whatever advertisement the corporations were blasting you with at any given moment. 'F$!$ing P-R. Feed people s+~$ for long enough and they'll end up believing it's food and thank you for it.' he thought scornfully, looking out at the mass of people dressed for partying making their way through the night as the cab wound it's way down street after street on it's way from Tim Noble's haven in the University District toward the Queen B!##*es' Club, as Noble dubbed it.
Club V... Jack was on his way to meet the Queen, he was going to present himself to the court.
The thought sent a shiver down Jack's spine, making him draw in an deep breath, filling his lungs instinctively with air. 'Air.' Jack though, realizing what he was doing. 'Another thing I don't need anymore.' Breathing out he frowns at the taste of the cabs air on his senses, vomit, piss, sweat and blood covered up by cheap air-fresheners. The taste of Pendros. Corruption, human waste and excess. Why the f$+! did I come back to this place?' But Tim said it was time. And what Tim said, Jack did.
The call from Tim had come first thing after sundown, Jack had woken up to the overwhelming desire to see his sire, the feeling was so strong he nearly ran out the door without dressing but Jack had felt it before, Tim Noble was Summoning him through the blood. Jack had felt it before but not so intensely, this was important, urgent. Throwing on his clothes he had hurried out to meet his sires' call.
Tim Noble's haven was a bar bearing the inspired name 'The Watering Hole' and looking like it's designer had stolen the blueprints from a 1970's spaghetti western saloon. When Jack had first seen it he half expected to see waiters dressed in sombreros and spurs milling about chewing tobacco, the last thing he expected was to he turned into a vampire there. 'A f%$#ing vampire' Jack still had a hard time believing he was one, it all sounded too... sci-fie? He didn't know what to call it, it was all just so strange he'd though when he walked in through the texan style swinging doors of the bar.
Tim Noble had sat haunched over at his customary place in a high stool by the bar, fingering a shot glass and looking dreamily at a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey. The TV was on as always, running a news reel. 'The news?' Jack had thought, shocked to see Tim listening to what he himself called 'The Queen's S&@+ Spitters'. 'If it's important, it won't make the news.' Tim had told him one night, scoffing at Jack's need to watch them. 'You ever see a vampire on there? No, didn't think so. The news don't show whats really happening. If it did then someone somewhere seriously f@+&ed up.'
So why was he watching it now? Making his way to his sire Jack kept one eye on the news as he nodded to the barkeep, earning a cold beer for his efforts, and greeting his sire. "Tim." He said by way of greeting, staring over the bar and fingering his beer. "What's up?"
...the light will shine... ... new schools of thought... ...Who is with me!? How will you create the change of a thousand flowers blooming?...
What the f**@ does that even mean?' The image of the vampire princess standing in full daylight giving that speech ran through Jack's mind over and over again on his ride over. 'A vampire. In sunlight!' Jack didn't know what to make of that, it went against everything Tim had tought him in the past month. Every instinct in Jack's body screamed at him that it was fabricated but Tim just shook his head at it. "It's real kid. It's real." he sounded almost sad when he said it, and then he'd sent him to see the Queen...
Jack's train of though is interrupted by his phone ringing, coming out of his reverie he stares at the unfamiliar number for a moment before answering.
"Hello, my name is Richard. I believe Mister Noble told you to expect my call...?"
"Yes.. Ah, hello Mr. Twidwell. Yes, yes I was expecting your call Mr. Twidell." the cab slows to a halt and Jack grunts as he makes his way out onto the street. "May I call you Richard?" he asks as he stares at the line to get into the club. 'F*~!!'
"err... listen. I'm down by Club V, Tim sent me to see the queen so... meet me there?"
Richard is only one to stand on formality when it was absolutely necessary. He found that if one needed "mister" and "sir" to reinforce one's social dominance the battle was half-lost already, and he got plenty of that ingratiating b%*+&& from his herd. Still, it was good to see the fellow had some sense of etiquette... he wondered exactly what Tim had sent him to learn.
"Richard will be fine; we'll be seeing quite a bit of of each other."
"Yes, I'll meet you at V."
What was Tim getting at, sending Jack to V on this particular morning? The short conversation with his new 'pupil' didn't tell him much. The kid was in for a hell of a ride when he found out what Tim had put him in the middle of- hell, Richard was still trying to decide whether to tell Saki about what they'd learned in the past couple of days. There were
"Alright then, look forward to meting you Richard. Bye, bye." Jack sounds distracted when he says goodbye and hangs up the phone. 'Time too see if the geezers name carries any weight here.' he muses as he puts his phone away and makes his way to the entrance. 'Time to turn on the charm.'
Walking past the row of people standing in line Jack purposefully ignores them and focuses his gaze on the doormen blocking the way to the queens haven. Walking up to them he gives his most businesslike demeanor.
"Jack Smith by Tim Noble to see the Queen." he says simply looking the doorman square in the eye.
Richard's cab first stops at Thomas's apartment to drop the neonate off; the previous night had him worn out, apparently. And that's where he'll stay if Volty doesn't show back up. I mean, who knows? Poor guy could be dead.
The cab then stops at Richard's place. Iranis has done a great job of cleaning up the mess from a few nights ago, and seems fully recovered herself, and the house is filled with the smells of cooking; a clever masquerade ruse, and the way that the servant ate most of her meals.
Club V, featuring DJ Gauge.
The club district is made up beautifully built buildings, their metal and glass exteriors contrasting the mountains and wilderness all about them. So it is almost odd that Club V looks like a simple brick building with 8 stores and no windows, especially when it is seen alongside some of the ritziest clubs in Pendros. But the Club had been pulling in large crowds since it's opening in 2022, but tonight was easily it's largest draw ever.
At the entrance, two lines formed. One seemed to have an end almost at the doorway. The other wrapped around the building, which was the size of a city block. The club could easily occupy thousands of people, so to see lines going out the door is impressive.
As Jack approached, he felt something tugging at him, urging him to flee, to run, to get as far away as he could. The feeling had been building as he got closer and closer to his destination, but as soon as he came within sight of the club, it almost vanished. As he walked past the line outside the club, he felt a tug deep within, as if everyone he walked by was a hungry monster, and they wanted to feast upon him. This was the beast, and if it hadn't been for the magic around Club V, the relatively calm and controlled line would have been the scene of a mass slaughter; it seemed as if almost every Vampire in the city was here.
When Jack tried to get in, the bouncer, who was not a Vampire, looked at his datapad. After a bit, he shook his head.
"Sorry kid. Tim Noble is on the list, but you ain't. Get in line,"
The bouncer pointed at the line that wrapped around the building. Jack did see that every now and then, it did move, but for the most part, it stood still.
Richard quickly changes into more suitable clothes and offers Saki a chance to clean the fur from his garments, then sits down to tell Iranis about the wild night he's had. He doesn't make any particular effort to keep the conversation secret from Saki, implying at least a tacit permission to eavesdrop.
"So, I met Whisper last night... Maximoff assassins... the Chemco plant... f&*~ed-up Tzimisce ritual... met up with Tina and things got a little crazy... blacked out... poker game with Nikos... something about a ring and a tablet? ...horrible hangover, saw the sunset(!)... Michael's being tortured... everyone's at Club V..."
"Things might get ugly soon, I want you to get a contractor out here, reinforce the windows and doors, put in a few cameras... buy us a bit of time in case things go South. I'm going to to to the club, see who I'm still on speaking terms with. Call me if anything comes up." Richard leaves the name of a fellow the Invictus call on from time-to time who's known to do good work and not ask questions, and leaves the details of arranging things to Iranis.
Richard finishes buttoning his jacket and looks at himself critically in the mirror, brushing a miniscule bit of lint from his lapel before nodding in satisfaction. There were a few more calls to make and more business to settle before heading out, but the night was calling to him and he was almost giddy about plunging into the thick of things.
Call to Sam:
Richard seals the phone he woke up with in a padded envelope as he calls Sam, "Sorry for not keeping in touch, it was a wild night. Nikos has Thomas and is doing rather unpleasant things to him. I'm going to give him a call in a minute... think you can figure out where he is? Also, I have an old phone that I need some information off of. I'll have it couriered to you, can you work your magic on it?
Call to Nikos:
Richard opens the call with a cheery tone, "Nikos! You son-of-a-b%%$*, how's it going?"
I'd like to spend 6xp to buy •• in haven security. Additionally, if you're OK with purchasing the occult skill retroactively for Richard, I'd like to spend 12xp for Occult • (Vampires x3)
PbP format can make the pacing of conversations awkward... if holding these conversations in parallel doesn't work for you just let me know.
Oh, does Richard's phone contain a log of calls that Richard placed last night?
Saki doesn't even bother with the tiny white hairs that cover his outfit when he hears they are now headed to club V instead. "I'll have to change too if we are headed back to V, so either we need to stop by the Cherry Blossom, or I'll have to meet you in front of V...can't show up in the same thing I wore there last night." Oroku has been standing still as a statue with his arms folded, staring at a hideous piece of art deco sculpture, wondering how many times the 'artist' vomited into the plaster as he was forming it as Richard runs about preparing.
Back in the cab, he remembers his own list of calls. "We were at V last night too by the way. A bunch of the lovely ladies called me from there or texted me about it, including something about a 'flapper' being hauled away just a little while ago? I'll be back in 3 minutes." The cyberpunk jumps out of the cab before it has even stopped and vanishes into the darkened arch of the entrance. 2 minutes and 57 seconds later he comes trotting back out in shiny black and blue cargo pants with more than 20 zippers and a black mesh T-shirt under a stylized black vest that shows off the lifetime of dedication to his physical body, an intricate dragon tattoo that coils over his left shoulder peeks from under the vest(bulletproof). The LED studded wrist cuffs he wears stop just before hiding the edges of his forearm brands, and his golden mirrored Oakleys are pushed up into his permanently spiked yellow hair.
"So do we know what this other new guys looks like? Apparently there is some sort of special event going on tonight, and people are lined up around the block. It could take some time to find him in the mess." He has also changed his voice setting, his smooth words are now spoken by a trio of Englishmen tenners, giving it a crisp and echoing cadence.
With Saki's nose for the club scene, would he just know what event was planned for tonight that has drawn such a crowd, or if its just the aftermath of the speech?
Richard completely understands the need to look one's best for something like this. Before Saki leaves he pulls up his phone's photo of Jack and shows it to him. "The queen and the princess are holding court. Rumor has it that Sasha thinks someone's trying to kill her, and the mayor is talking about starting some sort of new cultural revolution. The flapper's a friend, I think you met her last night. Name's Tina, you and her seem like the sort who'd hit it off."
I assume that phones would send a basic picture of the person you're talking to, kind of like Skype and some smartphones do currently? I figure we can just call him when we get close and coordinate a meetup. Heck, phones in this setting probably have an app that can guide people to each other based on the signals from the other person's phone.
Jack raises an eyebrow at the bouncers rebuff, a little put off by it. Why wasn't he on the list? Surely Tim would have called ahead, made sure the queen knew he was coming? Or would he?
Suddenly Jack grins at the bouncer, his mirth seems genuine. 'Heh! H wouldn't! ... Would he? ...' Shrugging sheepishly he gives the bouncer his full name, Francis Jacinto Smith, asking him to look again.
As the bouncer gives him the glare Jack starts chatting away at him, smiling casually, never fully meeting his eyes.
"Busy night heh? You'd think the Nine Inch Nails were back from the dead and playing here tonight, heh! The line must reach over a block. I've never been here myself, first time to see the queen, I'm new to the 'crowd' if you catch my drift, barely a month since I've been back in Pendros. I grew up here though, in the University suburbs. My daddy used to drive trucks around there, drunken bastard though. Can't figure out why they let the f%&+er drive though, never stood up straight when he was home anyway..."
Let's see if I get this right, Social Combat Coming Up:
Intent; I want the doorman to let me in.
Dominance: 1d10 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
Attack: Manipulation + Persuation? 3d10 ⇒ (3, 2, 7) = 12 Not sure if I should add two dice for trustworthy face but if so the 2d10 ⇒ (1, 6) = 7 ummm... No success? F#&~.
Haven't had the chance to read up on sway yet, hope I'm doing this right.
Iranis was happy to work out the details of reinforcing Richard's house. She took the news of last night's events without flinching, as if such a recounting of such events was old hat to her; considering Iranis's past, that could be the truth. You may spend XP to purchase ranks in Haven. See my comments on occult in discussion.
As the little robotic helicopter flew away with the phone Richard had handed it, Sam was responding to his question. She sighed heavily.
"Yeah, yeah, I can try. But with the Maximoffs, you just never know how these things are going to go..."
Richard heard the phone ring and ring when he called Nikos. Finally, he picked up.
“Richard. So glad to hear from you. Do you have my tablet?”
Sam’s Computer’s roll: 9d10 ⇒ (7, 9, 5, 4, 5, 4, 5, 10, 2) = 511d10 ⇒ 7 successes needed: 15, extended action, each roll represents a minute’s worth of work. Successes so far: 2.
Richard's phone bings with a text from Sam. He could read it quickly:
"You've got to keep him talking. I won't contact you again until I get through, or I utterly fail,"
"Oh, the pleasure is mutual. Now Nikos... you're a busy fellow. Even busier than I would have thought, before last night. Surely someone who's time is as valuable as your is can think of better ways to spend it than asking questions like that. After last night, instead of asking whether I have it you could ask what I intend to do with it, or what it's worth to me, or who else knows about it..."
"Tell you? As in now, over the phone with everything that's going on tonight? Oh, you're quite the comedian lately Nikos. There are two matters I'd like to discuss with you while you've been co gracious as to take time from your busy schedule to take my call. For the rest of it... I don't suppose you'll be making an appearance at V tonight? They say everyone who's anyone will be there tonight, and it would be an excellent opportunity to catch up on business face-to-face."
"Richard! How foolish of me! Of course I will be a Club V tonight. However, my people tell me that the line, it is not moving along so well, and Nikos, he does not wait in line so well. I tell you what, you send me what it is I want, maybe we talk. But for now, I think I like sound Mr. Miller makes when we yank on his teeth. Pliers. Not built just for around the house use!"
Richard could hear angry screaming in the background, as Michael used every profanity in the dictionary. This continued until a sick fleshy sound could be heard, and Michael's screaming took a much more pained, and less cohesive, tone.
"You know, I hear Vampire fangs can be ground up and used as an aphrodisiac!"
Richard keeps his cool and chuckles quietly. "There's that sense of humor again, Nikos. Surely you don't mean to tell me that the b$%$$-queen would keep *you* waiting in line?! The idea that our dashing Magistrate of the Casino District, Priscus of the Giovanni, the honored Invictus Marquis of our fair city would be kept waiting... why, it's positively ludicrous." Richard recites the titles in a florid tone, the syllables well practiced after so many decades of meetings with the Invictus in so many cities.
"You do still have the guts to stand up to her, don't you? God's sake man, how short of a leash does she keep you on? Is she hiding your balls in that fabulous Louis Vuitton handbag of hers? I've been hearing some of the most interesting rumors lately, rumors that Macario or our esteemed Sheriff might be interested in... are you sure you won't be able to stop by?"
"And about those fangs of Mr. Miller; I know things got rather heated last night, and words slipped through those fangs that really 'oughtn't have been said of a man of your stature... but I'd grown rather accustomed to the idea of having an oracle of my own. Even if he is one of the Princesses castoffs. I don't suppose he's shared any of his insights with you? You should ask him about Runningwater. That one's a real rib-tickler..."
BS-ing was pretty much second nature, but as he drew out the conversation longer and longer he began to get a very bad feeling about what lay ahead. His survival for the past few years had depended on keeping his head down and keeping on the good side of the local Invictus. Now, with Nikos acting even more dangerously unstable than usual and with someone working to thrust him into the limelight with all these neonates and getting tangled up in at least two conspiracies... things were about to get rough. On the one hand the opportunity to taunt Nikos was too good to pass up- both because he was such a horrible person to speak with and on the hope that he would get mad enough to let something slip; on the other hand he was well aware that he might be digging his own grave. Richard's thoughts alternated between S+#+-S&!$-S#+@, I'm a dead man! and Ha! I can't remember the last time I felt so alive!.
By bringing up Michael's visions he hoped to buy the man at least a little time and perhaps to guarantee that whatever else Nikos did to him he would leave him with the faculty of speech. Mentioning Runningwater to Nikos was a shot in the dark, but if felt right and at this point Richard didn't have much to go on besides his instincts.
Nikos paused for a moment, and Richard might have thought that the Invictus leader had hung up, if not for the background noise. Clearly, Nikos was using an older phone, and was covering it with his hand.
"Get him down. No, just...yes...yes...yeah...what's he sayi--is he laughing?"
As the phone clicked, Richard's phone call to Sam resumed.
"That fraking smeghead! He's in the Mountains nearby Pendros, but I can't determine where! The signal is coming from underground...also, I don't know if I can help you on your phone. It's called a razor, and its been magiked. However, looking at the registration numbers and such...I'd bet some serious money on it being Anneliese's, actually. I've already had it sent back to you,"