The Call and a Plan
Giovanni, Jerry, John, Mark, and Sean are waiting for the call, but they aren’t waiting passively. Monique (Sean’s occasional client and a White Court vampire) has told them where Martha and her Red Court flunkies is waiting so the group has a chance to prepare. They are holed up in a warehouse in an industrial area.
Mark drives out ahead again to scope the warehouse out, since he the most experience with breaking and entering. The first thing he notices is that it isn’t abandoned. He also sees at least two guards who scream Mafia. Mark learns as much as he can about the layout without going in,
Meanwhile, the group prepares as well as they can. They hide the real copper ring disc and check the copy they got from Murkelhop in the Goblin Narket. Giovanni checks his guns. Mark had created some charms for them (sigils drawn on small wooden planks; effectively “potions”) to give some limited armor as well a charm for Giovanni that would veil him from sight from all but the most alert observers.
They also talk about John’s strange new ability to slow himself down and whether there’s any way that can be of use. John knows he can extend the range of the slowing effect (as evidenced by the car wreck the night before) and he’s done some experimenting, but he doesn’t know how far he can push it out. He does know, though, that the longer he holds the effect, the slower the area inside the effect gets compared to the outside world, at an exponential rate. He’s never held it long enough to know what the limit to how slow he can go is (or even if there is a limit).
While talking as a group, John hits on the idea that if he can slow down the entire warehouse and keep Martha and her vampire and mob goons from noticing, then they can drag the conversation out until dawn, knock down a wall or something, and give the vampires a nasty surprise. But he doesn’t know if he can make the effect big enough (it has to cover the entire warehouse or else someone’s going to notice that people suddenly seem to move at super speeds at the far side of the room…).
So he heads out to an uncrowded gas station parking lot roughly the size of the warehouse to practice and to test his range. But earlier he had been touched by Officer Plitt and had picked up a gambling addiction from that touch. John decided that a few coins in one of the slot machines in the gas station before getting started couldn’t hurt. A couple hours later he gets a phone call from Giovanni asking if he’s ready. Realizing what time it is (and being several hundred dolalrs poorer) John lies and says he’s good to go. Even though he knows he shouldn’t, something about the gamble of waiting until he needed it appealed to his new addiction. Besides, his luck had been terrible at the slot machines, so statistically it had to turn good now… right? Uh, right?
Working on the assumption that John will be able cover the whole warehouse and slow it down enough to make dawn come in a relatively short time, the group next turns to how to get sunlight into the warehouse as widely and quickly as possible so the vampires don’t have time to get out of the way. There’s a large truck bay door on the east side. Mark knows enough about garage doors to know where to pull hard to make the door collapse off its tracks and drop. So now they have a plan.
- Mark sneaks back and puts hooks in the right place so that later (just after dawn)
- Jerry will be waiting out of sight until just before dawn, then he’ll attach the prepared hooks to a truck and pull the door down almost instantly
- Giovanni picks out his spot and he’ll wait with a rifle and the magical veil Mark gave him (he’s still got major injuries, including a gun shot and a broken leg, plus he’s better with guns than in a direct fight anyway)
- Then Sean, John, and Mark will go in at the allotted time and stall until dawn (which will hopefully be quick)
Into the Bats’ Den
Sean’s cellphone rings; it’s one of Martha’s vampire flunkies with the place (which they already knew from Monique) and the time. Not surprisingly, they’re only got enough time to rush over (the vampires are trying to not give them any time to prepare).
Sean, John, and Mark arrive in Mark’s jeep (Giovanni will slip into place separately and Jerry is staying at least a few blocks away the whole time to make sure he isn’t caught).
The same two mob thugs Mark spotted before and waiting for them. They’re guided into the warehouse through the North entrance. The warehouse was laid out as a huge open floor, with several sections, including areas with permanent shelving, areas with stacked pallets with shrink-wrapped cases, and even a auto shop in the South-East corner.
Martha sat on top of a car parked over the auto pit; Sean’s family were under the car in the pit, held by guards. Several Mortal guards (they looked like mob) were spread throughout the warehouse, all aimed at Sean, Mark, and John. The two vampire flunkies were also there: Dirk in the car pit with Sean’s family, and Weasel with some of the mob thugs covering the three PCs.
Stalling for Time
John began pushing out his time-slowing effect. Sean and Mark were nervous, but not as nervous as John (who had lied about having practiced this before). To his relief, the effect spread rapidly and effortlessly. All of his past experiments had been cautious, focused on keeping the power from getting out of his control. When he let it go fully, it spread out with ease.
Now the group just had to stall for time until dawn. They couldn’t see outside, so there was luck and trust involved. Jerry would tear down the garage door with the truck and Giovanni would open fire as soon as teh sun came up enough. Jerry would have no idea what was going on inside and the groups inside wouldn’t know how long until the doors came crashing down.
Sean asked to see his family and Martha asked for the copper ring disc first. Sean’s mother called out, followed bya cry when one of the guards hit her and told her to shut up. Sean was tense as a wire, but kept his anger leashed; he needed to stay calm and stall for time to help them (but it wasn’t going to be easy).
Sean told her that he hadn’t brought the ring in; it was outside until he was sure martha had his family. Martha let him hear his family then told him to get the ring and be quick about it. She wasn’t worried about letting him go out unguarded since there were two guards waiting outisde the door who’d be able to watch him, plus she still had his family.
Sean went outside. The guards hadn’t noticed anything from the time slowing field and they acknowledged him, but didn’t say much. One of the guards was on his cell phone having an argument. From his half of the conversation, it was obviously a girlfriend or wife. The guard also obviously an abusive asshole. The other guard looked annoyed.
Sean avoided the temptation to look over to the spot where a hidden Giovanni was covering the guards with a sniper rifle as he walked over to his car. He opened the door and turned on the clock in the dashboard. He’d synched his watch and his car clock ahead of time, so he was able to check the discrepency to make sure that time was slowing and also to get some idea of the rate. The two times were already several minutes off, even though he’d only been in the warehouse a few minutes; things were going according to plan. One thing that meant is that he had to take his time outside since if he went right back in then the time he was outside would seem relatively very short to the vampires inside. So he rummaged slowly, trying to balance stalling against making the guards suspicious.
A Real Family Man
While Sean was digging through his trunk pretending to be searching for the disc (who knew right where it was, of course), another car pulled up. Sean watched as a young woman, at least eight months pregnant, got out of the car. She was hanging up her phone and the guard shut his phone at the same time and they started yelling. The girlfriend had come to continue the fight in person. The other guard said they were on duty but they both ignored him. The argument got ugly fast, then the first guard hit his girlfriend hard across the face.
Giovanni (a champion of God) was watching, too. He and Sean watched as the first guard pulled her into her car and the argument continued. There was more hitting, then the struggle changed. He tore at her clothes and she was trying to fight her off. The second guard glanced over several times, trying to get a look, but trying to keep alert, too. It became clear that he was going to rape her right there in th car.
The GM compelled Giovanni to get involved as a champion of God, but Giovanni bought off the compel, staying on task and not risking his cover. He showed that he was hard enough to watch something terrible happen to stay focused on the “greater good” (in this case staying hidden to protect his friends).
Sean, though, couldn’t do the same. He walked over and knocked on the passenger window. The driver side door opened and the first guard stuck his head out. He told Sean that he’d better have a damn good reason for interrupting him. Sean tried to play it causla and de-escalate the situation. He didn’t pull it off, despite his charm. The guard in the car was threatening to teach him to mind his own business and the other guard had his hand on his gun. Then the guard in the car pointed his gun at Sean. Things weren’t going well.
Sean saw the guard’s head explode before he heard the silenced bullet whiz by his ear; Giovanni had gotten involved when the guard pointed a gun at Sean. The other guard was frozen in shock long enough for Giovanni to take him out before he could react. The girlfriend started screaming.
Sean opened the car door and tried to shush her. No one rushed out of the warehouse, but that could have been because of the time delay. Giovanni hoped they wouldn’t investigate the screams, since they probably sounded like a chipmunk or something inhuman because of the time slowing.
Sean got her to be quiet long enough to tell her it was a mob hit and she was in danger if she went to the police. She was wide-eyed with shock and horror, but nodded. Sean knew she was a danger; police (or anyone else) coming in the next eight hours could mess everything up. But he wasn’t willing to tie her up or do anything else to “take care of the issue” more certainly. he told her to drive somewhere safe and hidden and stay out of sight for the rest of the night. Even though he felt sick doing it, he implied she was still in danger and they might come back to kill her, too.
Sean dragged the bodies out of sight from the warehouse entrance and from the road. It would have to do for now. Then he went back into the warehouse.
The First Exchange
Inside the warehouse, no one seemed any tenser than when he left, so apparently they hadn’t noticed anything. Sean walked up to stand by Mark and John and surreptitiously checked their watched against his. He wasn’t a math whiz, but it was clear that time in the warehouse was continuing to slow at an steadily increasing rate.
Martha asked if he had the ring and Sean held up the case. She said to open it and he said he’d show it to her after she released one of his family members. She agreed, since she still had the others as insurance. The vampire Weasel walked over to the pit, where the vampire Dirk half-handed, half-tossed one of Sean’s sisters up as if she weighed nothing. Weasel walked her over to Sean, Mark, and John. Then Weasel looked at the case meaningfully.
Both to stall for time and to try and get an advantage for later, Sean opened the case with exaggerated care as if it was laced with explosives. Martha’s eyes widened from across the room. Weasel (carefully) examined the ring and told Martha everything looked right. The decpetion seemed to be going swimmingly, until Mark (already tense from the stand-off and beginning to get very agitated as his PTSD flared up) turned and vomited from the stress of Martha’s stare (thanks to a compel). Her suspicions were raised and though she didn’t tell Sean to hurry in case it was loaded with explosives, she was now watching the whole group suspiciously and any future attempts at deception were likely to be harder to pull off. Since stalling was the name of the game, that wasn’t good news.
John spoke up and asked how they were going to work the exchange. After some negotiating, Martha let all of the family members except for Sean’s mother go. Once they were by Sean, then Sean would hand the case to Weasel. Once Weasel had teh ring, then they’d release Sean’s mother. His family (including the sister already released) couldn’t leave the warehouse yet (which was actually fine with Sean, since he had no way of telling them about the time slowing field and if they called the police or anything else, it could be disasterous).
Sean and John did what they could to drag the exchange out, but the time still came when everything was ready for the final switch. They had no way of knowing what time it was outside.
Martha jumped down from the car and walked with Dirk and Sean’s mother towards the case. Then the door was ripped off the hinges (just a few moments too soon). Weasel and Dirk were fully in the sun’s path and screamed as the light destroyed their flesh masks and began burning their rubber yblack skins. Martha was hir glancingly, but jumped quickly back into the darkness. Her flesh mask was tattered but not compeltely destroyed. Luckily she let go of Sean’s mother in the pain instead of ripping her arm off or dragging her back into the shadows.
Seemingly automatic gunfire erupted from outside as Giovanni opened fire (able to take his time aiming at the figures inside moving at a crawl. Mark burst into action, too, throwing one of his sticks covered in fire sigils to create a fire ball in a group with at least one of the vampires and some mob thugs. Sean threw the case with the ring disc at Martha (hoping to scare her that it would explode, appease her that she had the ring disc now, or hopefully both). And somewhere in the mix, John touched Martha’s arm… and stole a portion of her vampiric traits (her Hunger, flesh mask, claws, and inhuman strength) and in the process losing his ability to slow time.
Martha screeched inhumanly from the darkness. Dirk and Weasel had also disappeared into the darkness. There was enough darkness that the vampires were safe from the sun in that corner. The group decided to get out of there. There was no way they wanted to face off against the vampires in that corner, no way they’d get the vampires to come to them, and while the mob thugs were still recovering, some were still around and they were getting organized again, so waiting around wasn’t a good idea either. (They also thought about sending someone else there, but the vampires would either be gone by then, perhaps under a tarp in the back of a car or something similar, or else they’d likely be sending the cops into a death trap; it wasn’t like they had any vampire hunter friends.)
After the group were driving as fast as they could away from the warehouse, Sean’s mother asked him what he had gotten involved in. Sean didn’t answer but he told them he was sorry and they all should get out of town for awhile. They weren’t satisfied, but they were deeply shaken from having seen three people’s skin melt off to reveal bat-like monstrosities underneath as well as a whole night seemingly passing in half an hour. Sean made sure they were taking his instructions to leave town seriously before letting them go. He didn’t go with them, because he figured he’d put them in more danger by his presence.
Sean, Mark, Giovanni, and John knew they had made powerful enemies and that they wouldn’t get that lucky again. Jerry could have walked away (they’d never seen him) but he had nowhere else to go and no memories yet, except a feeling of being hunted. They decided to leave town.
They picked up the case with the real ring disc first, before heading out. They opened it to make sure the ring was still in there, but as soon as the sunlight hit it, the ring changed into a bunch of copper wire, branches, and leaves. They were sure they’d kept track of which one Murklehop said was the copy. Murklehop had given them back two fake copies.
Meanwhile, across the city, martha, Weasel, and Dirk made it to a Red Court shelter out of the sun. They opened their own case, only to find the same wire, branches, and leaves. Martha’s shriek was filled with inhuman fury… and fear. The Count would not be happy.
And so ends the first story arc of Giovanni, John, Jerry, Sean, and Mark. Read on as we introduce a small group of White Council wizards and their allies sent into the middle of a Red Court stronghold to shut down the Outsider trafficking at whatever cost.