Good Old-fashioned Mundane Research
Alois, Daniel, and Tom meet up in their rooms at the Aria to discuss what they’ve each found out. Marcovic doesn’t join them because he’s gone to his room to sulk after being humiliated in front of Alois and Eric Skotakis after his botched control of a simple spell at the Harmon Hotel earlier (see the previous session — Marcovic’s player wasn’t there this session).
They have a couple leads they can follow. They quickly decide to track down David Massengill (the successful buyer of the Outsider from the auction the night before at the Harmon Hotel). He may have already left town, but if he hasn’t then time is of the essence.
After a few quick calls (using connections and contacts from the Venatori Umbrorum and from his own extensive field experience), Daniel is quickly able to track down that David flew into Las Vegas a day before the auction with four other business associates and that their return flight is scheduled for later that evening. While they could have driven out or flown under different names, it seems likely they’re still in Las Vegas. Further, Daniel finds out that they booked into a room right there in the Aria, just a few stories down from their own rooms, and they haven’t checked out yet. (Daniel rolled well and used his extra shifts to shorten the time significantly down to under an hour.)
“We Tried to Play It Safe… Honest!”
Daniel and Tom decide to go check out the room to see if David and associates are still there. To be safe, Daniel calls in some Venatori Umbrorum contacts to watch the Aria in case David leaves or enters building. They also send Alois to talk to Monique Skotakis and get her help in dealing with them so they don’t violate the Compact or the Unseelie Accords or otherwise piss off their host.
It’s a nice plan, but things go downhill fast….
Daniel knocks on David’s room, prepared with a story about it being the “wrong room, oops” (he just wants to check if anyone’s in the room). No one answers, but Daniel gets a tingle from his ring indicating the presence of an Outsider (he can’t tell through the door if it’s still there or not). Then Tom smells blood and hears moaning. (After a compel of his hunter nature) Tom shifts into his huge bear form and smashes down the door. Daniel glances quickly around and sees no witnesses (except a tastefully hidden hallway camera) and rushes in after Tom; what choice does he have?
Meanwhile, Alois finds Monique and fills her in on the previous night, including Eric’s involvement. Monique starts out charming. but Alois is rude and blunt, turning the conversation into questioning her if she’s involved with her brother in the Outsider trafficking. Monique snarls at him and tells him that the Skotakis clan will deal with Eric and they are to bring him to her if they find him; she claims the right under the Unseelie Accords. Before Alois can respond, a White Court vampire rushes into the room and tells Monique there’s trouble on the fourth floor (Alois recognizes that’s where David’s room is). She rushes over to a monitor and pulls up a camera image of a door burst off its hinges. There’s a burst of light (eerily quiet since the camera has no sound) but Monique and Alois both recognize it as gunfire near the entrance. Monique turns to Alois furiously and tells him to go to his room and stay out of this. Alois looks at the monitor, which chooses that moment to break down in his presence. Monique glares at him harder and he decides not to push things further and heads to his room, but not before telling Monique that their conversation about the Outsiders isn’t over.
Blood on the Carpet and Bear-shaped Dents in the walls
Inside David’s room, things are a mess. David and his colleagues are there, but they’re bodies have somehow been fused together. It’s like they were shoved into the same place and five sets of twisted limbs and heads are all tangled together like some monstrous Siamese pentuplet. There’s no broken skin where they’re joined; the blood comes mostly from the hands, feet, and faces, where muscles and fat has been pushed out when there wasn’t room in the central tangled mass of torsos, and the grotesquely swollen extremities have burst like overripe fruit, spraying blood, fat, and other tissues across the room. A few of the limbs and heads are twitching, but most of the faces (at least those facing outwards rather than fusing into another head or torso) are clearly (and mercifully) dead.
But despite how grotesque the remnants of David and his colleagues are, Tom and Daniel can only spare a quick glance before turning to face the Outsider floating in the center of the room. It’s hard to focus on the Outsider; light, sound, and space itself seems strangely warped around it. It appears to be a writhing ball of tentacles.
It recognizes Daniel (his Trouble aspect is “The Outsiders know who I am”) and laughs. Its voice is utterly wrong and painful to listen to; blood comes from Tom and Daniel’s ears on hearing it, while the few still living heads in the fused bodies moan in what can only be love or ecstasy. “”/campaign/welcome-to-las-vegas/wikis/venators" class=“wiki-page-link”> Venator," it says, “You are too late. Soon ”/campaigns/welcome-to-las-vegas/characters/vanguard" class=“wiki-content-link”>Vanguard will have both rings and then he’ll have time to play with your Venatori friends."
That’s all it has time to say, because Tom has immediately charged it with stunning power. The Outsider is pushed back against the wall (a maneuver to place an aspect that Tom uses the following wrong to start a grapple).
Meanwhile Daniel darts across the room to find a better place to shoot from (a Maneuver to place the “In position” aspect on himself to set up his shot later).
The Outsider lashes out at Tom with its tentacles; they burn into Tom’s fur.
With a roar, Tom grapples the Outsider and pins it down with immense strength.
Daniel spends another turn aiming carefully so as not to hit Tom when he fires.
The Outsider doesn’t try to escape, but instead wraps its tentacles tighter around Tom and tries to wrestle him into submission. It turns the tables and now it’s Tom caught by the Outsider.
Tom tests his strength against the Outsider and wins out, turning the tables again and twisting around to give Daniel a clearer shot (another aspect for Daniel). During the wrestling, Tom and the Outsider have smashed much of the furniture in the room and even dented out a large section of the outside wall and shattered the windows (sending broken glass down onto the streets below)
Daniel knows from experience how hard to hurt the Outsider is likely to be and even with a clear shot and his considerable skill, he’s worried. Then the cross necklace he got from his mother begins to glow (the necklace is a holy item and can satisfy the Outsider’s catch, but it’s also not under Daniel’s control; after some negotiation, we decide that if Daniel gives up the two aspects he’s placed on himself to help his shot, then he’ll be able to use the holy light to satisfy the Outsiders catch; based on the Outsider’s Supernatural Toughness, this is a good trade and Daniel’s player accepts). Daniel is shocked when the light glows and loses his careful aim; this has only happened once, long ago, and Daniel immediately shoots. He destroys the Outsider’s form, driving it out of our realm (he uses the free tag from Tom the last round and burns several fate points of his own).
Tom changes back into his human form and just has time to get partially dressed before Monique and two White Court security guards burst into the room, eyes burning a cold white.
Daniel and Tom try to defend themselves when Monique furiously accuses them of violating her hospitality. They say they had sent Alois to get her help or blessing, but they couldn’t wait because an Outsider was in the room (it’s a tough sell, but Daniel spends a Fate Point and uses the “Corpses fused by an Outsider” aspect on the scene to underscore the urgency). Monique grudgingly accepts that they didn’t maliciously violate her hospitality (it isn’t technically an issue of the Unseelie Accords, since neither Tom nor Daniel belong to signatory groups and Alois and Marcovic, who are bound by the Accords, were not directly involved).
But while they avoid immediate retaliation, they’ve turned the Skotakis clan from open allies to enemies. Monique tells them to pack their things and leave. A little later, Alois offers to pay for the structural damage to the Aria and manages to shift the Skotakis clan back to neutral (and they get to keep staying at the Aria… as long as there are no more “events”).
In the immediate aftermath of the clash with Monique, Daniel’s phone rings. It’s Patrick Uman from the Venatori Umbrorum delegation in Las Vegas and with a voice thick with emotion he tells Daniel that James Fendler. James was fellow Venator (the secret order at the heart of the Venatori Umbrorum) who was tasked with acquiring the copper disc ring artifacts while Daniel focused on helping the White Council track down and stop the Outsider trafficking. The Outsider in the hotel room had said that Vanguard (an Outsider Daniel has had clashes with before) almost had the ring discs. James had been meeting with the current possessors of one of the ring discs at a warehouse and that’s where he had just been killed (see the second “Street” session for a view from the other side). The Outsider in the hotel room had implied that Vanguard knew where the other one was, too. Daniel knew that a homeless man named Benny (some sort of “shaman” in the Storm Drains had the other ring.
Daniel told Alois and Tom that he had to go into the Storm Drains right now and they could come or stay. Tensions got high when Daniel wouldn’t explain all the details and was bossy (some compels were thrown around) but in the end all three of them headed into the Storm Drains.
The Bear spirit that Tom served was allies with a dangerous spider spirit, the Spider Mother in the Storm Drains and he pushed the others to introduce themselves properly first, rather than just trespassing on what was clearly her turf (another compel). Daniel agrees only very reluctantly since tangling with the Spider Host would slow things even more if they were caught trespassing.
Tom finds Aaron Devadoss, one of the emissaries of the Spider Mother (in some ways his parallel counterpart). Aaron seems intrigued with Alois and asked probing questions trying to figure out if Alois can break his “curse” and free him from service to the Spider Mother. Daniel is in a hurry and tries to rush them. Aaron leads them to Benny’s makeshift room but tells them that only one can enter. Daniel goes on without hesitating.
“Well, that’s one solution to the homeless problem…”
Inside the room, Benny refuses to give the ring disc to Daniel. In a combination of frustration, intense hurry, and the still fresh news that James, his friend, was murdered (another compel) Daniel gets violent, pushing Benny hard to the floor after hitting him and then stealing the ring disc right out of his pocket.
Then his ring alerts him that an Outsider is near. Vanguard comes out of a drain above, crawling unnaturally on the walls. Daniel, holding the ring, runs for his life. He can feel the blast of despair from Vanguard, but his ring protects him. Benny is not so lucky and Daniel can’t stop to help him. Vanguard splits into two copies, one chasing after Daniel and the other going after Benny.
Making New Enemies
Alois agrees after some discussion to try and help Aaron if he can. Then Alois’ enchanted glasses give him a moment’s warning before Daniel, followed by Vanguard, burst out of Benny’s cove. Alois is ready and fries Vanguard with a blast of black lightning that leaves him little more than a charred skeleton. Since that blast would have melted a tank (an insane amount of power and fate points led to a total of around 20 damage!), Alois is more than a little surprised.
Tom finished off Vanguard before he gets to the bottom of the ramp, smashing him into the charred cement wall and crumbling much of his body to greasy powder.
Aaron suddenly says “Oh, shit, the daughters are here.”
Angel and Dierdre, two other emissaries of Spider Mother saunter in. They’d be more seductive if they weren’t covered in blood and Dierdre wasn’t holding a chunk of bone and flesh that was clearly human. Angel and Dierdre tell Tom that it’s time to hand over the ring disc that Bear promised he’d give to Spider Mother.
Things are just beginning to heat up (Daniel has no intention of handing over the ring disc) when Aaron decides to “help” the group and preemptively attack the daughters. He yells at them all to run as the daughters transform into hideous half-human, half-spider monstrosities.
“Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit! What have I done?” Aaron moans as they start to run, “now you have to help me or I’m dead!”