Fight the power! Close the Hellmouth!
In which five ageing whitey whitebreads of the 10s pretend to be young hip black dudes of the 70s
Warning: taken out of context this post contains offensive material.
The White Hats
Jon ‘Doc’ Samedy, the Haitian migrant: about 5’9 though stooped and limping. His strangely carved stick is a coco macaque and he wields power over loa and less friendly spirits. He is the brains and medic.
Vic Creed, the scarred veteran: about 6’6 and bulky with it. He is the muscle. This session Vic buys Dex up a second time, now topping at 4.
Roosevelt ‘Arby’ Brown, the trickster: about 5’7 and lithe. Arby has his cowardly nature beaten, except when asked to recall something.
Steve ‘the cutter’ Cutter, the ex-boxer: about 6’, a fast-handed boxer. He is muscle and handyman. This session Steve increases Influence, as that is becoming his forte.
Scene: DeNaRes ranger station, Night-time
Theme: Here I Am (Come and Take Me)
Steve and Vic are standing watch. Nicholette de la Fleur, the crazy-ass bitch from Farmatec that put Jon in the ICU, is still possessed and still prisoner here. It’s been like punishment camp for the last ten days. She needs constant checking, and she still has to take her lady-breaks even if a demon got inside her. Sometimes the demon is threatening and bargaining, other times Nicholette is talking down to them. The warding stone is kept always nearby her, so the demon can’t concentrate properly.
Gunnarsson ducks his head in. He’s seeing some strange lights in town. Passes Steve his binoculars. On top of a big old building down somewhere south-east, a light-show has been rigged in neon. On one side there’s a freaky looking big-eared thing in some kind of pink dress, on the other there’s a big shape in what looks like a cloak or long coat, and two bars flash between them like an equals sign.
While Vic is having a look, Steve calls Arby’s new rented pad.
Scene: Arby’s pad, right beside the tracks
Theme: Sweetback’s Theme
Arby got this rental cheap – the train track rises above the level of the roads here and the noise is appalling. The whole pad shakes each time a big unit rolls by. But everything’s convenient. When the phone rings he rolls up out of his bed and grabs it.
It’s Steve, and he wants Arby to take a look outside his window, off east, and see what the lights are about.
“Who is it Arby sweet man?” murmurs Cherry from beside Arby. As Arby struggles into pants and squints out his window trying to get a line of sight, she dresses quickly and leaves with a “Call me anytime” on her lips and half Arby’s roll in her stash.
Arby identifies the abandoned factory the Gremlins were given. That would make the strange figure with the ears and the dress the Gremlin Princess. Time to call Jon.
Scene: Maman’s house, Fairfax
Theme: Soul Man
As junior man in the house Jon has the job of answering the phone anyway, so when it rings he’s the only one wearily dragging himself out to the hallway where the old-fashioned set stands on its own table. It’s Steve.
Steve explains, and finishes, “Vic an’ me’s mindin’ crazy white mama, so you gots to pick up Arby an’ scout it.”
Jon winces as he dresses. Bullet holes don’t heal quickly. It’s a hot night so he doesn’t need too many clothes. Then it’s out to the Plymouth and down to Arby’s crappy apartment.
Seems like Arby only has the one set of threads: it’s the same awesome shot-silk blue suit he was wearing when he came visiting. The two white hats bump fists, check on their strategy, get into the Plymouth, and the scene switches to a driving montage.
Split screen: driving montage, bull session
While that’s happening Steve and Vic are puzzling out some priorities. Vic still has it on his mind to help Jim. Jim’s made it clear that from here out, he expects some active help with recovering this mystic hammer he’s on the trail of.
“I ast my man what he gon’ do with that hammer, he say he just actin’ on comishun. What I say is, turn’s out that hammer belong’a my big brother Troll, an’ Troll not, uh, gon’ evil up if he catches his hammer, hammer be goin’ back’a that Troll. Though I ain’t tole Jim that,” Vic adds as a codicil.
Steve lists off the Phyllis Wheatley – of course – and reminds Vic that Cleo can get them in to see Esther and Esther will probably just want help here and there.
And Lance Barnes. Now they know more about the situation, two automatic rifles are daunting and they’ll need a good plan to get in.
They also add “get Draco” since Steve is still smarting from that beat-down. They don’t really care about Jon’s hot mama Asha’s call for vengeance.
And since these are all-action white hats, they stop there.
Scene: DeNaRes ranger station: common room
Theme: Ball of Confusion
A briefing session among the white hats. Jon explains that the Gremlins are asking for help. According to the Princess, something they roughly describe as Goblins are pressing Kobolds and Gremlins to help them snatch babies.
“Oh, an’ we stop a muggin’” Jon adds, casually, as though it’s just another good deed. In fact Arby had been sprinting away when he realized Jon couldn’t keep up, so turned back, and Jon fired off his coco macaque’s flash in self-preservation. Whatever, the victim was so keen not to involve police they scored a C-note, and Jon has it safely tucked away.
Planning now surges forward, since the Goblin territory the Gremlins describe is roughly the same as the Rolling 40s turf, deep in Hough. They’ll tackle it as Wildlife Officers, and using catchpoles and flashlights. But with axes or knives hidden. Arby talks some smack about his piece, the Saturday-night special, and when Steve tells him he don’t want no jumpy brutha behind him with a loaded gun, Arby sulks and privately decides to conceal his piece anyway.
So what kinds of demons could these “goblins” be? There’s gonna be some research needed!
But more importantly, going out against possible demons has all four white hats (and any rangers in earshot) agreeing that getting the congregation together is a must. Jon sets off the phone tree by calling Maman, and by sweet-talking her most endearingly he gets things moving.
They have three drivers, and three vans. Steve gets to work re-fitting the Baby Smuggler, and soon has the rear all ready to take adults. Meanwhile inside the station, Charlie Stone guests on Toogood’s Feelgood hour and warns against gun violence and the black neighbourhood gangs responsible for it.
It’s still pre-dawn when Jon writes out instructions about how to get to different Haitian houses, and the three drivers set out.
St John’s cemetery, south of Woodland
Theme: Take me to the river
Vic, in charge of security at the alternative cemetery (St John’s) just walks over, to get a good look at the layout. It’s the coolest part of the August day, so he enjoys the walk. Things that ain’t crazy get out of his road, mostly crossing the whole damn road.
St John’s is an old cemetery like the last one, with an old road through it. Woodland will be busy in a few hours’ time, and the railroad to the south is already singing with the Ohio RT’s first run. The ceremony’s supposed to be up on high ground, and there’s only one such mound, under trees and with slumped old stones. Vic disturbs a number of courting couples who flee into the greying dawn.
Jon arrives first, knowing the congregation the best and with the shortest routes. Then Steve.
“Somethin’s missing,” comments Jon.
“Guest of honor?” Vic hazards. Jon nods. Steve and Vic drive back up the ranger station to fetch de la Fleur, while Jon and Arby unload Haitians and set things up. It’s a weak moment in security, but they get away with it.
Barring Jon the white hats aren’t needed for what’s going to be a long hard exorcism. Arby especially keeps both eyes skinned for trouble. But the only cruiser spotted rolls by too late to stop anything. The congregation is already breaking up.
Partly in annoyance! It turns out that Nicholette isn’t grateful. And she’s quite unbalanced. Her New-England tone rises stridently, demanding to be treated “properly” and threatening all manner of lawsuit. It takes all of Steve’s considerable charm to sooth her into a van and away. The Haitians all decide to walk home.
Break-away scene: Steve and Nicholette
Theme: So you’re leaving
As Steve drives her, Nicholette gripes about Spenser, Wilson and his clinic. He keeps sweet-talking her and learns a good deal of detail about Jill Spenser the psychiatrist, Dr. Wilson the man who dreams of perfect chemical treatment of disorders, and a Green Machine in the Wilson Clinic’s basement.
Steve shows Nicholette his pad, where to come back to once it’s safe to return. Then he drives her out to her own swanky apartment out in Lakes County. She showers and changes and fetches some things, including a purse and overnight bag. Then he takes her all the way to a Penn Station and she catches a train east. She’s got folks over in Connecticut or wherever, but is warned to keep a low, low profile because the powers that affected her won’t stop at anything to silence her.
Scene: DeNaRes ranger station
Theme: Pick up the pieces
Vic preps gear but Arby and Steve help work the books. Jon narrows “goblins” down to three likely types. They drag him away from a dissertation on Spring-heel Jack.
They dress in Wildlife Officer gear (though Vic keeps his black leather duster of course) and pile into the Mystery Machine, and drive to Hough.
Scene: An alley in Hough
Theme: Cold Sweat
It’s getting late and Steve and Vic have been up a long time but time’s pressing on this. The Wildlife Officers have parked well away from deserted streets where the Mystery Machine could have its wheels removed, and walked into the Dead Triangle behind the Barnes place, where no roads can be found.
Trees bulk the skyline into weird shapes and garbage lies along the lane they are following. Arby’s got the creeps but is ready at the front, Steve a little ways off to his left. Arby bends down and checks around a bin where there seem to be too many food scraps.
“No birds or dogs been pickin’ this over,” he observes. “And lookit – small feet.”
Three alleys lead away. Steve picks the left hand. A broad fence on one side, with graffiti on it and unkempt trees leering over it. The sides of run-down two-up houses stack up on the other, blocking them in. Dirt and garbage along the edges. The smell of rotting meat.
Looking over the fence, Vic recognizes the Barnes place, though the trees he’s looking through make it seem unfamiliar. Something moves in the shadows of those trees!
Steve vaults over the fence, Vic scrambles over after him. Something child-size is glimpsed, but it rushes away and dives into the fallen leaves of last year and disappears, towards the fence. On the alley side, Arby’s about to boost Jon but abandons this and rushes after the sound of a fence plank quietly shifting. But the thing is gone around the corner and into the narrow alley between tall houses.
But now the Barnes place is right in view Steve and Vic decide to switch targets. Jon is lifted over and feeds his stick with a little blood. Putting away his pocketknife, he scans the undergrowth. He can see the small footprints, leading away. Nothing else. The foul feeling of evil hangs about the place.
The four advance on the rear of the Barnes place. Now Jon can see a charm field roiling darkly around it. Muttering prayers, he gestures Vic forwards.
Scene: Barnes drug-house, Hough
Theme: Boom boom
A snap-kick has dealt with the back door, and Steve barrels in axe ready, then Vic, Arby not far behind with his catchpole. The stench of rotten meat is thick, making all of them gag a little. Vic and Steve duck left and right. A kitchen, and a half-eaten human body rotting on the floor. Jon gets the gist of the ranch plan layout, and figures a guard with a rifle would be far end and left, in the parlor. He signals Steve, but even as the Cutter heads forward, a very big man-size shape is seen coming from the front left!
Jon snaps off his flash, blinding the man. High-velocity automatic fire shreds up the wall into the ceiling!
Steve charges, cutting the massive man’s shoulder and dashing past, to allow Vic an attack. Which he does! The arm holding the automatic rifle is severed! Close up, Vic can see this is Lance Barnes.
But then, a miasmic rotting shape only vaguely human shambles out of the parlor as well! It’s virtually on top of Steve! The awful stench of a weeks-old corpse chokes them: Arby loses his lunch, dropping the catchpole. Black corpse-fly-like particles swarm off the thing onto the disarmed Barnes, and Vic goggles disbelievingly as the huge man literally pulls himself together!
Arby is the hero, tangling Lance’s M16 while Vic tries to land a telling blow. Rage suffuses Vic’s form, but that doesn’t seem to help.
Steve takes a cut at what ought to be a neck, but the rotting ghoulish thing evades the cut. A vertical seam opens in its torso, huge spike teeth lining it. As Steve gapes at it, it widens still further… there’s something like a rune or eye-like mark at the back of the cavity.
Jon comes to the rescue again, extending his coco macaque and exhorting Papa Legba to drive the evil spirit away. It buys Steve a vital few seconds. He lunges, holding the axe like a spear, impaling the mark. In a disgusting soft rotten-fruit-like spray, the ghoul-demon explodes!
Choking down his vomit Steve swings back, seeing Arby and Jon valiantly tangling the M16 still. Swinging his axe nearly horizontally, Steve decapitates Barnes.
Scene: DeNaRes ranger station
Theme: Don’t you worry ‘bout a thing
The white hats report, and Laura and Kelly do the typing. The Barnes house was already well afire when the white hats got back into their van. Arby siphoned some gas from the tank and they splashed it round – finding a number of remains – and took a second M16 and ammo out with them.
But they’re all feeling pretty down. Sure, they tidied Barnes away. But that was a lot of dead bodies!
Arby more or less throws this to Kelly. She stops typing and turns to him kindly. Offers some thoughts for the next step. If Barnes and a ghoul-demon are gone, there’s no need for the world to get complicated. Next step, make sure the goblins know the babies don’t need to be stolen. Maybe Arby can go back to the Gremlins? Would that work?
Arby feels better, and the white hats learn that saying a few more constructive things than “don’t mean nothing” can help in these dark times.
Steve reports on Jill Spenser. He asked Cindy Channel for the favor and she did a good job. Though she does tell him that he ought to have given her warning of the Barnes place deal, so Ted could have gotten some pictures. Anyhow, Jill Spenser is a genuine psychiatrist who had some employment issues and is now with the Wilson Clinic. She’s an enthusiastic supporter of Wilson’s chemical solution. He explains what Nicholette told him about the clinic. Much ribbing about his crazy white mama who’s probably on her way back to him right now!
In the next few days white hats visit Gremlins and kick their way into Kobold lairs. Kobolds are told in no uncertain terms that humans are off limits, and as for animals, if it ain’t got no collar, it’s fair game. The Kobolds rat out the Goblin lairs and they are dealt with even more sternly.
Credit roll scene:
Reverend Charlie Stone is checking into WKCY to do his guest spot on the Feelgood Hour. The camera pulls back. We see Steve sitting in his beat-up Ford van, watching him.
The white hats are easing down to their normal wealth of zero. They pick up their monthly stipend from DeNaRes, not for dealing with a demon but for settling the Kobold problem. Yes, apparently they are on piecework.
I had to vague up the Big Ass Pistol last episode but did some research and came back to Vic’s player DB this session to tell him that it would be either the .357 Magnum Colt Python, or the Dirty Harry style .44 Magnum. The Saturday-Night Specials are knockoffs of Police .38s, unreliable and inaccurate.
Arby rented the apartment last session, but it didn’t warrant reporting. We don’t have a particular location for it yet, it just has that ‘tiny apartment right next to the tracks’ setting.
This was the first session I split xp up a little. Only two of the four players really tried to stay in character, so gained the 1xp that warrants. Otherwise everyone got a healthy 5xp. Dealing fairly and prudently with Nicholette really paid off, as they got an xp for the exorcism and another xp for gaining solid information on the Wilson Clinic.