Monday 1 November 2010
The Fens, 2001 hours: Wraith descends the last few feet to the sidewalk, joining Skylark and Performer: becomes visible:
“Full team disclosure, is it, Calculus? I have a problem with that. Sure, I get that you would need disclosure of information: but I don’t feature you wandering round our base and using my tech bench – or raiding Tripp’s beer fridge! And I don’t suppose you want us scoping out your secret lair and rolling round in your money.”
Calculus grins in appreciation of this point:
“How about we agree on a method of communicating that doesn’t allow back-tracking? Sure, we could both crack the encryption, but a gentleman’s agreement will be in force?”
“OK, let’s quickly work out the technical details: if we can agree on a frequency and encryption that doesn’t allow back-tracking, I can sell this to the team.”
Performer and Skylark nod and Nightfall votes “yea,” and the two master-geeks are moved discreetly to a nearby rooftop. There, far above the All-Souls crowds, the mes-alliance is concluded with an agreement that no civilians will be harmed, and nor will the FCM’s rep – such as it is.
Calculus II reveals that he has recently cased the Golden Calf. The security cameras now boast invisibility detectors; there’s some magic detection in place, and lots more goons. Mr. Eddie seems very fit and packs lots of inventions; Ginger’s meta-abilities he’s unsure of; but he does know that Capes are being hired.
“Probably not against you guys,” he adds.
“CCC – the law firm – has brought them in using the Broker,” Wraith confirms. “Maybe to be used against Candyman, or us? We’re still gathering information. Speaking of that: Performer, did you have a chance to narrow down those charms I saw in Lucius’ office?”
“Yes, I did a bit of research,” Performer replies modestly. “They’re all aimed at magical infiltration: there’s a Janus trap – a one-way thing that would trap an astral entity there – a watcher that can recognize magical entities, and a pursuit creature that would be summoned to chase an astral form.”
“Thanks! I guess we chose the right person to check the offices out!”
“You got that right!” Performer exclaims whole-heartedly.
“Anyway: now that we’ve got this under way, maybe you could head back to our stakeout?”
Performer quick-changes back into his Capes costume, and soars out into the night sky. He reaches Joe’s van swiftly: Joe has nothing to report, and with Holmes now available to spell him, suggests that Performer can leave his body in the van and watch the barge from behind the five goons on lookout duty over on Riverside. Performer agrees: glad that he won’t have to smell the funky interior of the van more than he needs to.
What to do with the drug-barge
Tuesday 2 November 2010: The stakeout is interrupted by Wraith’s comms message:
“Good morning! My sample of the barge cargo confirms those containers hold Boost! There are two goons on board: they seem pretty competent but aren’t armed for Capes. I’ve had some nifty ideas about wrecking the barge and destroying the drugs, so I’m ready to go with that mission.”
Calculus comms back:
“If it’s all the same to the team and no disrespect to your timing, I’d like more time. You’d be forcing an issue that, to my reckoning, doesn’t need to be forced. Let’s just keep gathering information. I’m in the Golden Calf, and you’re monitoring the outside and the barge, right?”
The Massive agree and surveillance continues. Joe excuses himself from midday: he’s got a few things to take care of and has put in 24 hours stakeout over the past 36 hours.
Joe Tripley/Bad Tripp
Chez Henri, Mid-Town 1830 hours: Charlie and Joe make a striking couple as they are shown to their seats in the swanky restaurant. Charlie’s in an evening dress which pays tribute to her Goth roots with its severe black line and length and plunging neckline. Joe’s in a formal suit but now that his hat’s been taken, his Mohawk is proudly erect again.
The meal goes well, but Charlie’s beginning to sense that Joe’s attention is elsewhere: when his eyes aren’t wandering to her cleavage they’re checking his cellphone. Things go south on the dessert course:
“Joe, it seems like every time I talk about Channel Three you pull a kind of sour face – there it is again! Why did you pull that face?”
“Huh? Wha… well, why ya been yappin’ about Channel Three all evenin’? Hey, don’t get me wrong – it was great hearing about it the first three times!”
“I knew it! You can’t stand for me to be happy! Or is it… you’re jealous! You can’t stand for me to be doing better than you!”
“Hey – it ain’t thatatall! It’s just – why can’t ya be happy doin’ a real job instead a’ hangin’ with those talking head types?”
“Real job!?! You think sales clerk in an Army Surplus store is a real job? Did you even notice I couldn’t afford to even buy the Army Surplus stuff I was selling? Don’t you know I spent four years studying art, direction and taking a BTEC in media?!?”
“Hhnnh? What was that babe?”
“I SAID, I SPENT FOUR YEARS QUALIFYING FOR THE WORK I’M DOING!!!”
“Oh sure… that. Well, if ya count runnin’ round pointin’ a camera as work, then sure, whatever.”
“I HATE YOU JOE!!! I DON’T EVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN! YOU RUIN EVERYTHING!!!”
The Game’s Aflight
2150 hours: Holmes points out a female figure lifting from the Golden Calf rooftop. Wraith flies after her, invisible and intangible as ever. She flies over to Greenbank: meets a dark-clad woman Wraith IDs as Creep and passes over what looks to be a cash payout.
Wraith follows Creep, but loses her across the river in Southside. Back at the stakeout, the female flier is logged in: matching logs with Calculus, Ginger is penciled in as the likely flier.
Wednesday 3 November 2010
1840 hours: Newly-sworn Commissioner Gilbert, plus wife, enters the Golden Calf restaurant. His swearing-in has led the city news. Wraith’s lip curls in contempt: in expectation of more night larks he’s joined the stakeout team.
“Mr. Eddie’s stopped by,” Calculus reports. “Wifey’s excused herself… Mr. Eddie is still talking to Gilbert but I don’t have a feed nearby.”
2145 hours: Ginger again departs from the rooftop, flying south. Wraith follows her, this time to Bayview Heights. She meets Stretch: Eric Olsen the ex-Chemical Brother. He’s Boosted up. He, like Creep, receives an envelope: hops into an old, high-quality Volvo. Wraith slaps a bug on the car: follows it to Letterman in Southside. Wraith’s search of property titles suggests a link back to the Golden Calf. He swipes the bug back from the car: drifts into the house.
Creep’s on the third floor: she’s just reacting to an inappropriate comment from Stretch: her crossbow is loaded in a flash and the bolt’s head tucked up under Stretch’s chin! Wraith admires Creep’s severe good looks, revealed now that her hood is down, but he’s into red-heads so she’s no real competition for Gunship! Once Stretch leaves, Creep pulls out a mobile phone and calls Marauder.
Wraith hovers nearby, listening in: Marauder listens to Creep’s complaints about working with Stretch and pleads with her to turn herself in and join him with the Redemptions: she refuses, but agrees to keep in contact. Wraith leaves his bug in the room: keeping an ongoing log of what the lady says could be valuable.
Thursday 4 November 2010
1735 hours: Joe, frustrated and bad company for Holmes in their shift in the van, logs Lester Hillermann visiting again. Calculus tracks him into Mr. Eddie’s office where he opens a folder he’s brought, to show Eddie some property-related deals. The folder closed and tucked away under Lester’s arm again, Eddie encourages him to get the Mayor into the casino once again.
2150 hours: This time Ginger flies to Wharton State Forest to meet Envision and Noose. Money is exchanged. The pair head off, and it’s not too difficult for Wraith to track them to the safe house on Letterman. He switches across to his bug: joining Creep, they wonder aloud about Stretch – he’s unproven – but Creep just replies that he was approached and took the job, so they may as well put up with him.
Friday 5 November 2010
1145 hours: Joe clocks Ginger pulling out of the underground secure parking in a late-model Buick sedan: either a Lucerne or Lacrosse model.
“I got Ginger rolling: I’m on her,” he announces, glad to be doing something. Last night’s takedown of a dealing house in Melanti territory has done little to ease his frustration. He glances at Nightfall:
“Suit up, kid – but watchout ya don’t kick Performer nowhere or else he’ll wake up.”
“Sure,” Nightfall agrees, slipping back into the van’s body, “it’s great how Performer is really standing up to the watch!”
“Yeah – no complaints at all!”
Staying three back, Joe shadows Ginger into Mid-City and with surprise, registers that she’s pulling into the valet parking for Chez Henri!
1215 hours: Nightfall slips through the privacy hedge around Chez Henri’s dining-lounge windows. He nestles at the window nearest Ginger’s table and peeks in. She’s alone over a light but very expensive lunch: occasionally she sets her fork down and jots a note to herself on an expensively-bound memo pad. By the attentive service she’s getting, Ginger is a valued customer.
Swinging by the parking lot yet again on his block-square pattern, Joe notes that the same valet Ginger handed her keys to has just exited back into the parking lot with two bags!
To the outrage of a would-be parker, Joe swings the van across two lanes and into a reasonably-discreet parking bay. He disappears from view: then the van rear doors open and Bad Tripp steps down: hops over the corner to land beside the stunned valet!
“DAT’S MY TIP! GIMME DE KEYS!!!”
Dropping the keys and leaving the bags in the trunk, Bad Tripp wrenches the sedan up: then stops, uncertain as to what to do next. There’s no convenient police station nor body of water and he balks at just shoving the sedan into the restaurant. Then he grins as inspiration reaches him: sets the car back down and one at a time, pulls the wheels off and throws them away over the city toward the harbor.
Bad Tripp pick up the keys, tosses them back to the valet:
“SAY – MY MISTAKE: WUZZINT MY TIP AT DAT! ALL YOURS! HAVE A NICE DAY – PUNK!!!”
1250 hours: Lunch ruined by the unexpected dismantling, Ginger returns to the Golden Calf in a cab. A casino baggage handler moves the two bags to a baggage counter where from there they are shifted to the money floor below.
Upstairs, Ginger – profanely – discusses Bad Tripp’s interference. She’s highly PO’d and it takes Eddie a while to calm her ruffled feathers.
1532 hours: Calculus comms in:
“I have a report from Southside Pen: Owen Sarsfied has escaped.”
Off the grid, Joe calls it into Red to get confirmation:
“Yeah, that’s what I have too Joe,” Red confirms, “Sarsfield, Cape ID “Jack,” escaped from the exercise yard – the prison governor doesn’t seem too sure how it was done: but it’s nothing like a super-max so I guess, wouldn’t be too hard.”
1140 hours: Mayor Freddie Moore, some visiting Chinese dignitaries in tow, arrives at the casino. He and his party are greeted and begin a happy time gambling.
Saturday 6 November 2010
0600 hours: The Massive is minus Holmes, who will be doing some community work in Lincoln this morning, but Joe and Nightfall are just two hours into stakeout shift, Performer’s stretching the kinks out of his body before resuming watch at the barge, and Skylark is netting in from her home on her way in.
Wraith’s been on the night shift at the Golden Calf and is still sitting with Nightfall and Joe, kicking around who the Massive expect to meet: whether the barge is being set up as bait for Candyman, or for some other nefarious purpose. Red breaks in:
“FCM – there’s been an explosion on one of the Lincoln dope corners!”
“Roger that Red: call in Holmes will you? He’s supposed to be around there somewhere!”
“Done, Wraith: he’ll meet you there.”
“He’ll meet someone he can see there,” corrects Wraith, ghosting rapidly through the city in his usual state. Far behind him, Joe’s navigating the van along the Boardwalk towards Lincoln.
Lincoln, 0615 hours: An impressive crater marks where the explosion took out a chunk of a solid brownstone, several young hoppers slinging the local Boost variant… “And a junkie,” Holmes adds. Harvey and Popodopoulus, as chance would have it, were the detectives that caught the incident: they allowed Holmes through long enough for a post-cog to take.
“Just a regular junkie?”
“He seemed kind of strung out already when he went up to the corner, but maybe a sample would tell us more.”
“On it,” grunts Wraith, becoming tangible long enough to scrape a smear of remains off the brownstone. “I’ll get this back to the lab and run some analysis.”
Armory One, 0700 hours: Wraith has run enough tests to tell him that the junkie had been brim-full of Boost, but he’s found no precursor or other explosive.
“Oh well, if this is some elaborate plan by Candyman to destroy Underworld’s Boost network, I guess I’ll have another sample before too long,” Wraith muses, switching over to his bug. He’s mentally named it “Evil Cape Radio” and it’s playing a bit of light complaint from Stretch and some fairly old-fashioned numbers along the lines of sitting, staying on post, and waiting for instructions.
0830 hours: Red sends a private-net flash: Michelle Ken has been kidnapped from Providence! None of the Massive who took part in rescuing Michelle feel good about this. As Wraith sums up:
“This could well kill her. We were warned she’s on a knife edge, health-wise: and if that prick Candyman gets his needle into her…”
Skylark shifts uncomfortably. She knows Wraith has more than once regretted stopping her from injecting Candyman, but merely responds:
“I have to go to work soon.”
“OK, yes, and Holmes is still over in Lincoln. I’ll spell Performer.”
Riverside, 0835 hours: The five goons detailed to watch the barge are complaining about their duties in a routine, said-it-all-before sort of way: then:
“Say – heads up! There’s movement on th’ barge!”
Wraith elevates himself a little and drifts out through the wall to get the best view: a junkie has just wandered over the gangplank and onto the deck. Two of the toughs guarding the barge – probably the full guard complement – emerge from the wheelhouse and warn the junkie off. Wraith rapidly retreats: and just in time:
The junkie explodes, blowing the two toughs off into the river, smashing most of the nearby windows and making the barge jump in the water.
As the barge begins listing at its moorings, Wraith scans around: calls the Massive:
“Freedom City Massive, assemble! I’ve got the Evil Capes being told to assemble here, and there are two vehicles approaching fast!”
All but Holmes are available: ready to rumble!
0840 hours: As Performer lifts the Freedom City Massive across to Riverside, Speedster and Roid disembark from a powerful SUV alongside the warehousing. Behind the SUV, a larger enclosed truck pulls in: a pack of super-size dogs unload, snarling and yelping as they snuff the air seeking enemies! There don’t seem to be any more of the Chemical Brothers present: for now!
The Evil Capes deploy: Ginger, clearly a little groggy from something, flies over, deploying her team:
Creep slides into covering position atop a tall warehouse while Jack drops to the south by the wharf, leveling his heavy-caliber automatic rifle and letting a long burst rip around the giant dogs.
Noose and Envision go for Roid: she weaving illusions, he snaring the big Boostie’s neck.
Speedster disappears then reappears next to Envision: his fists rain like pistons on her and she falls unconscious!
Creep, seeing her chance, lines Speedster up and her crossbow bolt flies true, knocking him out!
Jack drops back further along the wharf away from the on-rushing dogs: nails one with a good shot: but Stretch, who’s held back up until now, reveals his real loyalty by snaring Jack in a tangle of limbs!
Ginger flies lightly down next to Roid, tripping him with a dexterous move: then runs past a dog, kicking it in the muzzle hard enough to shock it, ending her run close to Noose and the fallen Envision.
“OK, kid: Skylark and ya’ll go fer de high ground,” Bad Tripp rumbles, perched on high where Performer holds he, Skylark and Nightfall. The Massive are waiting for the right moment: and it looks like this is it!
“Den Wraith, wait’ll I makes m’move, den ya blasts Noose an’ Performer, ya delay Roid!”
Creep, reloading in a blur, stuns Stretch with a well-placed shot: Jack disentangles himself: draws a massive handgun and blasts Stretch, ending his fight.
Nightfall and Skylark team up on Creep, but though surprised, she manages to roll with their punches!
Bad Tripp lands and in the same motion, smashes down with both fists:
The ground shudders: everyone in the vicinity is knocked off their feet!
Wraith lines up the prone Noose: yells “End of the road, damn you!” and blasts him: but Noose merely shakes off the blast.
Performer sends a dazzling line of flares across Roid and a giant dog, dazing the big Boostie: who claws at the noose still around his neck.
Creep rolls, sliding off the warehouse, dropping to the ground and away towards Jack. Jack reacts to the new arrivals:
“It’s FCM – draw back!!”
He’s maybe remembering the severe treatment he’s received each time Tripp has gotten near him: whatever the case, he seems to be looking for a clear road out!
Wraith assesses the battle from his vantage: with dogs fleeing and Roid still dazed and distracted, Ginger and Noose are about the only Evil Capes left to fight:
“Ginger’s our priority! Go for her!”
Nightfall and Skylark leap at the shapely strawberry-blonde, but even their combined swings are not good enough to nail her. Her reply also misses.
Noose picks Envision up and flees, undeterred by a parting shot from Wraith. With Jack and Creep departing in the opposite direction, Roid and Ginger are the only Capes left in any condition to fight the Massive.
Then Bad Tripp takes a short hop over, brings his huge paw down with a roar: and it’s fight over for Ginger, unconscious and secure in the graffiti gargoyle’s grasp!
“Game over, gorgeous!”