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 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. This session Jon buys Influence as a new skill, spotting that there are a lot of scenes where you have to talk to people. This costs five xp.
Vic Creed, the scarred ex-paratrooper: about 6’6 and too bulky for speed. He is the muscle. This session Vic boosts his Influence, to help offset his other disadvantages. Since he already has a point of Influence, this only costs 4 xp.
Roosevelt ‘Arby’ Brown: about 5’7 and thin. He is the trickster. At present Arby seems about right in terms of point build and his player makes no further changes.
Steve Cutter’s player could not make the session. Stevie is a fast-handed boxer of useful size, and doubles as the party handyman.
The old Golden Crème Delights factory has stood abandoned for around six years. Even before it expanded to its present size, it was plagued by industrial accidents. Now, the work gang tasked with a full strip-down of the plant can’t risk working there. A few of their forklifts and trucks stand inoperable on the rear carpark as our white hats walk up through the reserve and towards the factory. It is mid-afternoon, and hot.
Scene: the factory store-room
Theme: Boom Boom
Vic launches himself forward out of the store-room door with his trench-coat held out wide like a gunny-sack, and swathes the seething mass of gremlins in it, pork-leg and all.
“Finally! We got some!”
To be fair their previous efforts have netted two of the little pests, and those are lying KOed back behind the group.
“Ease ’em out one a’time, Vic, we tie ‘em up,” Arby urges.
This process allows them to identify the Queen Bee, or Princess anyways, who is dressed up like the Princess Crème Delight in a doll’s dress, and can talk.
This all happens on day two. Day one was a bust – Stevie got himself knocked out, Arby got shanked in the shoulder with a sharp metal brace, and everyone got cut and banged and covered in old old Sir Choc-a-Lots.
Overnight, they’d met Arby’s biological father Jeremiah Roosevelt, who is some kind of professor and ranger, and learned that hot mama Kelly Anderson is his birth mother. Seems like Jerry knocked Kelly up when she was only about 14, and her sister, Vic’s mother, decided to pretend Arby was hers when she placed him for adoption, so Kelly could finish school. (It’s kind of a relief to Vic and Arby both to discover they are only cousins: but Vic is disappointed that Kelly is his aunt.)
Jon had come up with the idea of using meat as bait, and old man Roosevelt added the advice to smear it with something sweet, like honey or sugar-water. It turns out that’s pretty irrestible to gremlins that Jones on Crème Delights and like to scavenge meat where they can.
Now, Jon negotiates with the Princess. It seems that long ago, in her great-grandmother’s time, her people came out of the Dark, into this wonderful fairyland where gadgets and electricity and such exist. Although the factory is ‘their’ turf she reluctantly agrees that somewhere else with gadgets and access to food would do if they have to move.
With the captives agreeing to a truce, the mission is over. DeNaRes finds another abandoned factory, and turns the gremlins loose there.
Over the next month the four continue working as DeNaRes officers, away from the city. They occasionally drive the Mystery Machine (as someone insists on calling it) out to CVNRA, a forested reserve out in the county where a summer camp, Camp Wikacini, hosts inner-city teens. Naturally the camp’s on the site of an old Indian burial ground… or so legend has it. But their missions are just to release ‘wildlife’ into the reserve away from the city so they don’t speak to the teens nor to the camp counsellors. The kinds of creatures they release give them an eyeful of the weird and somewhat dangerous things that exist in the dark spaces.
They return to city life in June. The city is humming with activity, preparing for the Bicentenary.
- Vic finds life back at home a lot better now he’s sane. He enjoys time with his niece. One day in a bar, the barkeep passes on a note from a buddy name of ‘Jim’. It’s a man from Vic’s old platoon named Jim Fairbanks, who needs some help, and they agree to meet the next evening. Vic’s mom has a job for him too, but it can wait.
- Jon’s maman calls a truce with him, but he finds himself consigned to the shack out back where stray cousins are put up. He doesn’t have a set allowance but maman is unwilling to just let him starve, so he has enough money to get by. The barkeep at Little Haiti tells him that Asha Barkley is trying to get in touch with him, and he eagerly waits to see her again.
- Stevie finds that he can still get a job back at Brother Gloves – but not as manager. His floor-sweeper wage is a pittance, so he’s like Cleo, looking out for day-labor work.
- Arby returns to life hustling mugs, and is fronted by the big mook again. But this time, Arby got some game. When he fronts, Titus Johnson steps off a little and it turns out what he wanted all along is to get alongside Arby’s operation and get a share. With Titus acting as patsy or shill the usual takings increase, easily maintaining Arby in the same poverty as before.
Scene: Little Haiti
Theme: Soul Man
If Asha looked good before, this evening she is positively edible. Sista’s put some real effort into making herself look dam’ good. Jon’s eyeballs are sweating. Something like a moan comes from Stevie, hidden a few benches down.
The only off-note is the blank-eyed hulking thug that trails in behind Asha, but she flicks off any curiosity about him, saying ‘Pico’ is here to watch her back.
Asha’s got two plays to lay on Jon. First, she’s fired up to get whoever it was put her brother Haile Selassie in an early grave. She can contact some bruthas got access to real weapons if need be. But that will have to wait. Right now, there’s something a brain like him can take on, and that’s the Phyllis Wheatley.
“The Man pushin’ sistas outta there, pressin’ them on leasehold, city taxes, all sorts a’ reg-u-lation papers rainin’ down. Yo’ gotta go behind th’ scenes, Jon, find out who’s pullin’ strings.”
Phyllis Wheatley, an institution that helps women find work or get off to a new start, isn’t one of the charities Jon’s maman helps: it’s a little too far out of her Fairfax stomping ground.
First legwork research
Theme: Theme from Shaft
Jon ropes in Vic and Arby to do a lot of the leg-work around public records, since not everything is in one handy place and it pains Jon to stand up for too long.
Even though Vic is really good at not losing his place in a queue, he is a failure at asking for the right records. Arby comes through and provides some help. Within the next two days Jon has worked out that the people doing the harassment legwork all work for Alderman Creed in one sense or another. The legal paperwork is being handled by a Downtown firm, Wolfgang and Hearst. It’s not clear yet which client is greasing the wheels for Boss Creed but there’s going to be a speech at the Ward Square in a few days’ time.
Scene: near a red-light district
Theme: Shorty the Pimp
“Yo Arby, sweet man, yo’ spare me a minute? I gots something ta aks ya.”
Arby and Titus swing around to see Cherry, one of the local girls. She’s obviously on her way to work for the evening, just like they are moving their base from the transit hubs to the entertainment hubs. Arby can see she’s bruised and marked up here and there.
Cherry has a problem with a John the girls are beginning to call the Monster. He’s rough, way too rough for what he’s paying. Can he help? Arby agrees to arrange something.
Titus can’t see any money in it and isn’t so desperate for a free ride he’ll take a job like this on in trade. Arby heads off to recruit some real muscle.
Scene: No-Name Bar
Theme: Higher Ground
Jim Fairbanks has kept in shape since Vic last saw him at the short end of a tour. If anything he looks tougher than Vic, though he is a shorter and slighter man. Vic remembers him as being smart and as idle as he could be: he’d trade his way out of any hard chores the noncoms dished out. Someone that looked out for a chance to make his post more comfortable and definitely not a glory-hound.
Jim is very glad to find that Vic isn’t crazy no more because The Man is squeezing him. He’s come down from Chicago on the trail of a big-time weapon – Jim tries to describe some old time guy name of Smith but it’s over Vic’s head – and some local dirty cops have him over his old Ohio sheet. Which is not as clean as it could be, him banging around in search of some kind of life after the 101st let him go. At the moment he’s over on the west side and feeling real exposed.
Vic gives him the phone and address of a reasonable man he knows, who will board Jim no questions asked, at least for a short time, for money. They’ll speak again soon.
Scene: red-light district
Theme: Pursuit of the Pimpmobile
From where Vic is sitting in the all-night diner he sees an anonymous blue Ford cruise slowly along the curb opposite, driver’s side to where Cherry and a couple of other girls are standing. The steady but slow traffic here isn’t a major problem and doesn’t stop Vic seeing Cherry’s signal as she leans down to the driver’s window.
Vic moves swiftly across the road and through traffic, motioning Arby to get round behind the Ford. Jon stumps along behind Arby, as gamely as he can.
Vic’s spotted, or Cherry gives the game away, and just as Vic roars “gotcha fool!” the driver grabs Cherry’s arm and hits the gas. She’s dragged along, screaming. Vic latches onto the Ford’s door handle and Arby sprints along right behind Cherry. He can see the driver: face distorted into a maniac grin. He’s Asian. The car is really at pace now, and there’s a power-pole right on the curb that will kill Cherry when she hits it.
Vic jiggles the handle, gets the button down, but can’t quite yank it open at this speed.
Behind them all Jon uses his stick to power out a quick burst of light between the driver and Cherry. It’s perfectly placed: Cherry is let go, Arby keeps sprinting and swoops her up and away before she can smash her ribs on the fast-approaching pole. Vic, startled, gets the door open just enough to grab wildly at the seat-leather but misses his hold and the car races away, weaving through traffic. A business card, or something very like it, flutters down at Vic’s feet. He picks it up and tucks it away after a quick glance.
Scene: Ward Square
Boss Creed is finishing up a rousing speech about progress and city renewal, pumping the cause of Black Advancement in union with Public-Private Enterprise. It sounds as though a large Federal fund is being used for this particular scheme. He introduces the head of Farmatec, to much applause from his own people in the audience and polite applause from his loyal voters. Local journalists busily write in shorthand, and cameras click and flash.
The white hats are watching. They’re interested in this Farmatec president, but just as interested in seeing that Mitchell Delaney, the big cheese from Blackhand Security, is right there as the Farmatec man’s coat-holder. Seems like he’s still ‘expanding the footprint’ locally.
Barnabas Marshall is up on the stand behind Boss Creed. He’s spotted Vic. The view pans across the square to Asha Barkley, standing well back in the shadows with her pet thug. Two tough-looking whiteys in sunglasses are watching the pair of them. The view pans and zooms to a plain black sedan. Smoke escapes from the rear passenger window.
Worth noting? Vic is now the rich one with Resources 0. The others are all on -1. Any purchase has to be made prudently. Opportunities for making bread/green should not be ignored.
There are a lot of plot points up in the air, so I’m hoping at least a couple become clearer and resolve themselves into plot lines, next session. Stay tuned!