Episode 4: This World Is But A Canvas To Our Imagination
Action Report 5/10/13
Jane L. Blue, AIC.
While arriving at work this morning, I was assaulted in our parking garage by an African-American male immortal, physiologically 20-something. Said intruder sought to take my head, but obviously failed. Suggest that whoever is in charge of security for the garage be asked to clean the mess, and obviously needs reassignment. See attached incident report (A-QJLB-01).
Later that evening, after business hours, I was contacted by my partner Agent Tam regarding the Muse, Calliope. As both Ms. Spiridakos & Ms. Foster were already both involved, I filed an intent to investigate (A-JLB-130510) and pending approval, agreed to meet with the Usual Suspects at Professor Fisher’s apartment the following morning.
Once there, we were brought up to speed on what, exactly was up. It seemed that someone was draining the muse’s power, much in the same way that David Stutler’s power had been drained, only much slower. Her own people (Olympus) were snubbing her, so she was reaching out to mortals
for rescue. We took Ms. Foster’s van to 5Pointz to visit the muse in person.
Ms. Jennifer Smith, the public face of the muse, brought us into her private apartment in 5Pointz. Something came over many of us at this point, inspiring us to create works of art. Eventually Ms. Smith got control over herself, apologized, and we began out interview.
Ms. Smith stated that the drain began 2 years prior, and that she initially wrote the sensation of on her changing her aspect in the 50s to cover “modern art”, and perhaps as some sort of punishment from Zeus. My wizardly associates used their Sight, and told the rest of us that they could indeed see the drain taking place, but that the trail moved continuously, obviously to cloak its origin.
Several theories were proposed, the most viable being that some artifact connected to the muse was being used as a focus for the drain. When questioned about life events, Ms. Smith revealed that the drain roughly coincided with her being fired from Victoria’s Secret (in her alter-alter-ego as Kate Upton). Told that she was fired for her “body type”, this didn’t really track either, as within a few months of her being fired, they hired Ms. Spiridakos, whose “body type” is nearly the same as Ms. Smith’s.
Due to the amount of graffiti on display at 5Pointz, I asked Agent Tam to scan the airwaves for SprayCam signals, but none were detected. It was suggested that she consider returning to Mt. Hirocon and her sisters, but she demurred, saying that she feared that whomever was draining hr might thereby gain access to both her sisters and the Sacred Pools located there.
About this time we were joined by Ms. Hoffman, who said that she was there to represent the House of Life, whom Ms. Smith had also contacted for assistance. Shortly thereafter, we went out separate ways.
On my way back to the office, I informed AD Ivanova of our findings thus far, and of the similarities between this and the Stutler case, and was informed that the investigation had been given the green light. I was also approved to contact Agent Bering from the Department of Arcane Artifact Recovery for any knowledge she might have regarding unconfined artifacts relevant to the case.
At 0730, I received a call from Agent Bering regarding the case. She indicated that there were three possible items in their database: A clay tablet used by Homer, a suit worn by Mark Twain, and a turntable owned by Grand Master Flash.
At 0900, I met with the Usual Suspects for breakfast and brainstorming. Agent Tam and Ms. Foster reported having been trailed on their morning run by a large panther in Central Park. Mr. Ramachandran related an interrogation he had led with a being he claimed was “Shiva the Destroyer”, who revealed that “the Master” was behind the drain (where is the Doctor when you need him, I wonder).
Ms. Spiridakos revealed that the Olympians have gone beyond rebuffing Ms. Smith, now they are outright denying she even exists. Mr. Lyton also had an artifact list, but we quickly decided that the most likely item (that appeared on both lists) was Homer’s Tablet. At 0945, Agent Tam, in an uncharacteristic display of human frailty, admitted that she had forgotten to contact Ms. Hoffman, so our discussions stalled while we awaited her arrival, then we recovered all subjects again, eliciting nothing new.
I inquired if Ms. Foster’s allies among the wyldfae could be used to help locate the Tablet, which she agreed to attempt. Mr. Ramachandran indicated that he had a book about the Tablet at his shop, though Mr. Lyton said that investigating the Victoria’s Secret angle should also be a priority. It was agreed that Agent Tam, Ms. Spiridakos and I would check into the Victoria’s Secret angle while the others tapped resources for more information.
Agent Tam and Ms. Spiridakos entered the building, hoping to gain an interview with Mr. Joseph Ranier, the director of HR (and one who Ms. Spiridakos felt owed her a favor) while I remained outside. They quickly returned, indicating that they had a meeting with Mr. Ranier in 2-3 hours. Ms. Spiridakos treated us to lunch, where she quickly spotted someone taking an undue interest in Agent Tam, a woman later identified as one Juliet Sommers. A phone call from Ms. Foster followed, where she informed us that this same Juliet Sommers had stopped by TFoK earlier, claiming to be a friend of ‘Cameron Jameson’
I told her about our mystery woman in the bistro, whom Agent Tam indicated that was non-human, like her. Soon thereafter, Ms. Spiridakos received a call from Mr. Ranier, who indicated that he could see her whenever she could get back there. Our lunch ended without incident, and as we left, I informed AD Ivanova of the presence of more cyborgs coming
out of the Shop.
Ms. Spiridakos met with Mr. Ranier alone, while Agent Tam and I waited outside. Once she emerged from the office, she indicated that Mr. Ranier appeared to be “newly single” and only willing to discuss the questions she had “over dinner”.
As we rode the elevator back down from Mr. Ranier’s office, Ms. Spiridakos called again to report that another probably cyborg, this one calling itself Lisa Williams, had also stopped at TFoK looking for Agent Tam. Agent Tam referred to herself as “the prototype”, so one can assume that there are probably more than 2 on the streets. I updated AD Ivanova on the new information.
We convened again at Professor Foster’s apartment at 1800, where I forwarded photos of the suspected cyborgs to ATS Taylor. Mr. Lyton indicated that he would have the names of the Tablet’s thieves by the next morning as well as indicating that Ms. Smith felt that their theft
had been “impossible”; I reminded everyone that Aphrodite had told us that the Master was invisible to the gods. The Tablet appeared to be sacred to a number of religions, though Ms. Hoffman assured us that the House of Life had eliminated the Babylonian and Sumerian magical
traditions in the days of Cleopatra. She was surprised to learn of the existence of Ms. Jessica Brown (A-JLB130223), reputed last scion of Ishtar.
Conversation veered around awhile longer, without much being accomplished. Testing a theory, Ms. Spiridakos called Dr. Blake, and asked him how many muses there were. Interestingly, he gave the correct answer (9), cried out in pain, then recanted saying there were only 8. His memory also seemed spotty concerning Lucy (Alleria) Windrunner, who had been placed in his care. Sensing there might be a problem, we saw Ms. Hoffman off and then went to Dr. Blake’s office in the hopes of seeing Ms. Windrunner (to assess her recovery).
On our way there, Ms. Foster spotted a car tailing us. The Hogwarts crowd proved ineffective in disabling the vehicle, so Agent Tam elected to depart the van without stopping (or slowing), disappearing down a side street. Mr. Lyton then surprised all of us by turning into a black panther and chasing after her.
The two women driving the pursuing vehicle crashed it into a building, then proceeded to single-mindedly pour both gunfire and laser beams into Agent Tam. A very public fight ensued, with Mr. Kolchek (A21DF22), who happened to be on the scene, capturing it all on film. At the conclusion of the fight, the Juliet Sommers unit fled the scene, and the Lisa Williams unit, which was extensively damaged, self-destructed. Agent Tam heroically shielded not merely the Usual Suspects, but several civilians from the blast with her body. Mr. Ramachandran worked his mojo on the camera phones in the area, and I bade the rest of the group to get Agent Tam safely out of sight while I stayed on site to coordinate with NYCPD.
Fortunately, Lt. Ivanova was among the first officers on the scene. I explained the situation to her, then departed to meet up with the group at Dr. Blake’s office.
Once at the office, where the Usual Suspects were busy cooling their heels, waiting for an opening in the doctor’s schedule, I spotted his partner’s diploma hanging on the wall: Dr. Juliet Sommers. I texted this info to ATS Taylor, and was soon rewarded by a virtual dossier on Dr. Sommers.
While perusing the data (which asked more questions than it answered), I had ATS Taylor run a search on Dr. Sommers and known Shop operatives, and soon learned that Drs. Blake & Sommers had both been students of Dr. Lisa Williams, and that Dr. Williams had worked on several projects coordinated by the Shop. Dr. Williams was supposedly deceased, having died of heart failure (in the end, all forms of death can be ascribed as “heart failure” ) five years prior.
Drs. Blake and Sommers both had several Shop operatives as patients, and I submitted a request for heightened surveillance on Dr. Blake and his practice. Soon thereafter, as his current patient departed, Ms. Spiridakos caught Blake’s attention and entered his office and began “interrogating” him soon thereafter. While the rest of us cooled our heels in the waiting room to the sounds of said “interrogation”, who should arrive for her appointment but Ms. Spiridakos’ current lover, Ms. Siobhan Chu.
Ms. Chu quickly blasted all the electronics in the outer office (wish mine had been among them), blew Dr. Blake’s door off it’s hinges, and was only prevented from killing the two occupants by Professor Fisher. She then fled the scene, only to be pursued shortly thereafter by our Weakest Link. In the ensuing after-action, I was informed by ATS Taylor that Ms. Spiridakos’ earlier call to Dr. Blake’s office had been rerouted, doubtless by Anonymous.
Soon thereafter the “Celery Queen’s” fae agents reported in, reporting that they lost track of the fembots after the fight on 32nd street, and could find no trace of the Tablet. The professor used his Sight on Dr. Blake and found nothing obviously wrong, and, when we interviewed Ms. Windrunner several minutes later, found nothing odd about her, either, except the healing scars of Akon’s domination.
In the midst of all this, I realized that I had briefly known someone who looked remarkably like Agent Tam when I worked at the Shop. Her name had even been Cameron Jameson, a low level tech intern. Mr. Lyton theorized that actual women may have served as genetic donors for the skin and physical appearances of the Shop’s fembot program.
Soon thereafter, I received word from AD Ivanova of Agent Tam’s decision to go to ground in an effort to draw off the fembot attacks. I lodged a formal complaint, but the decision stood. The Usual Suspects and I parted company for the evening, with a meeting scheduled for the
following day at 1400.
At 1005 the next morning, I received a call from Mr. Lyton, asking to meet me in the park across from FBI HQ. He gave me two names to find the whereabouts of, namely Virginia Baker (FBI-611203) and Ana Valmont (FBI-X-710405, A-020617). I relayed the request to ATS Taylor.
At 1400, we (minus Ms. Spiridakos) met once more at the Professor’s apartment. Mr. Lyton told us that he had run into our missing member and weakest link outside, but that she was too busy wallowing in self pity to attend the meeting. He furthermore informed us that the Tablet had
been stolen by agents of Lucky Luciano, and we learned from Ms. Foster that it had been stolen from him by “a Son of Ares who follows Set”, and that Luciano already has this information.
Ms. Hoffman arrived shortly thereafter, and she managed to convince Ms. Spiridakos to join us. Ms. Spiridakos’ sources then revealed the name of the thief, one Curtis Manning (CIA-780329), thought dead after having been killed by Agent Jack Bauer (CIA) 8 years prior.
As for why Luciano had the Tablet, the Professor stated that it might have something to do with his bid to become a signatory of the Unseelie Accords, which would bring him even more power, somehow.
The Professor and Mr. Ramachandran exited the building, presumably to clear their heads. They returned shortly afterwards, and then Ms. Spiridakos (reprising her role as the Shower Whisperer) related what she’d learned while talking to the shower head.
Apparently Manning was a bit of a rebel, an Olympian who felt that they should be working with, not against, the Egyptian pantheon. As a result, he wound up working with only the fringe elements of both. His “resurrection” might well have been accomplished by either Akon or the Master, or it simply could have been faked, as Bauer had his own faked several years ago.
At this time, a Winter fae named Drucilla (A-JLB-130513a) arrived at the door, reporting in to Ms Foster (Drucilla being the leader of the “Celery Queen’s Guard”). The Tablet, according to the CQG, was located on an island near the Brooklyn Bridge, which I recognized as a former CTU installation, now decommissioned.
I checked with ATS Taylor, and learned that the facility had a tunnel leading to it from UNHQ, but that it was supposedly partially blocked by concrete, per Homeland’s instructions. The Hogwarts crowd also determined that there was a portal that led very close to there, with it’s other terminus being the Bronx Zoo. Drucilla also revealed that the Hands of both Fae Queens were in town, WORKINGTOGETHER.
With this news in hand, the CQG departed, and we agreed that Mr. Lyton & Ms. Foster should check with their respective Queens to get the skinny on this news. We all went our separate ways at this time.
At 2300, Ms. Foster initiated a conference call to inform us that someone was controlling the Hands, forcing them to work with each other. Lovely thoughts on which to get some sleep.
We met again at the Professor’s apartment, where Mr. Lyton told us the story of Oberon’s Wedding Band, and it’s probably role in the Hands working together. As we worked out the specifics, Ms. Foster mentioned that Clemente had published his demon-summoning rituals on the Internet, which caused Mr. Ramachandran to turn a lovely shade of fuchsia. Mr. Lyton, who had also interviewed Aspen the Lingerie Dryad the day before, revealed that she seemed unable/unwilling to answer questions about the Hands.
We left the apartment shortly thereafter, arrived at the Zoo around 1130. The trip through the Nevernever, while only taking 5 minutes from our perspective, cost us 3 hours in NYC time. While Mr. Lyton dealt with the locks and Ms. Spiridakos the alarms, the Professor hexed the
cameras. Ms. Spiridakos claimed to have recognized Jennifer Vanderbuilt’s signature style in some of the coding, and lost her laptop to ICE in the resulting battle, leaving Mr. Lyton to deal with the alarms the old fashioned way.
Which was a waste of effort, as we were obviously expected. The end of the tunnel we’d entered led to a Plexiglas chamber, where the Hogwarts crew were asked by a hidden speaker to don the two amulets lying on a table inside. Vanderbuilt revealed herself and swore on her power that the amulets were merely to keep them from hexing things, after closely examining the amulets, they agreed to put them on.
We followed the voice’s directions to Manning, who demonstrated the Ring’s powers on several of us, and also revealed that he had assumed one of the Denarian Coins (Lasciel) (FBI-X-720917, A-DJN-041231).
Manning offered us the Ring & the identity of the Master for the Scottish Excalibur currently held by Connor MacLeod. Manning gave us his card when we requested more time to think it over, and the Hands escorted us back to the Nevernever.
Very popular sword. Wonder why everyone wants it so badly?
Back at the Professor’s, Ms. Hoffman asked about the sword, and we told her what we knew of it. She seemed to recognize it, and revealed that according to Thoth, several families from both Faerie Courts had long ago chosen to become mortal elves to help contain a great evil. Though now somewhere in the northwest of the USA, their original kingdom had been in Scotland. The sword might have originally been theirs, not Wallace’s (or maybe he was one of theirs, too).
Ms. Spiridakos received a call from Dr. Blake, informing her that he had Ms. Windrunner reassigned to an apartment in the same building as Mr. Lyton(!?), and that she had asked to speak with us. We agreed to arrange that meeting the next day.
Ms. Foster and I agreed to check on the sword. On our way to MacLeod’s, Ms. Foster made us detour to the Golden Dragon, where she proceeded to vomit current events to Ms. Chang & Ms. Wolfrunner, apparently under the mistaken belief that Ms. Chang would make a splendid wielder for the Scottish Excalibur when the time came. Ms. Chang disagreed, and the whole fiasco made us late, arriving at MacLeod’s Antiquities after hours. As I could not sense him inside, we made note of the hours and departed.
I went home afterwards, and caught something on the news about Ms. Spiridakos having a public spat on the news. Surprise, surprise. Yawn.
We (less Ms. Hoffman) arranged to meet the next morning at Mr. Lyton’s apartment at 0900. After getting the obligatory jabs in at Ms. Spiridakos, we also got in a few at Ms. Foster, whose interactions with Mr. Kolchak had also borne fruit, in the way of an investigation into her role at the DA’s office.
Nitpicking aside, Ms. Spiridakos did have information for us, namely that Ms. Upton had been forced out by the machinations of one Ms. Rosie Huntington-Whitley, another model for the agency. Ms. Foster thought it very probable that she was a WCV, a thought that had also occurred to me. Ms. Spiridakos’ opinions of soft-core porn aside, we finally beganto get to the meat of the morning, who could use the sword.
When it was mentioned that only an elf “of the royal blood” could use the weapon, I pointedly looked at Mr. Lyton, who did his best to ignore my gaze. The resulting verbal discourse was lively enough that both Mr. Lyton & Mr. Ramachandran both managed to excuse themselves and visit Ms. Windrunner privately before the rest of us caught on to their absence.
We all reconvened in Ms. Windrunner’s apartment, received her apologies and thanks for freeing her from Akon, then my associates tried to maneuver HER into wielding the sword. (Funny how nobody wants this weapon except the bad guys). After abusing her hospitality for a few
minutes, we finally returned to Mr. Lyton’s quarters.
Before being asked to leave by Ms. Windrunner, Mr. Ramachandran revealed that according to his sources, the sword could be used to redeem a Fallen. Once back in Mr. Lyton’s quarters, he proceeded to have a meltdown, one severe enough that I risked an e-mail to Agent Tam, who
called him directly. Shortly thereafter I (and several others) received a response from Agent Tam stating that according to Mr. Ramachandran, she now has a soul. WTF, indeed. I’d be hard pressed to prove that I have one….
Somewhere in meltdown recovery mode, a being claiming to be Archangel Michael (but looking remarkably like George C. Scott’s “Patton”) arrived to rebuke Mr. Ramachandran for his attitude. Typically, this being had nothing more useful to offer than platitudes, though it claimed to have a wealth of information that it could not share. One half-tidbit it did share was that we already knew who should wield the sword; so I blurted it out to Mr. Lyton’s dismay: Serena Elessedil, his girlfriend.
Ms. Hoffman questioned our motives, asking why we simply wouldn’t just give Manning the sword? Discussion on this allowed Mr. Lyton time to contact his gf, who agreed to meet us at MacLeod’s. So off we went.
At MacLeod’s, Ms. Elessedil asked for permission to see the sword, but Mr. MacLeod indicated to Ms. Foster that he needed permission, so they were soon whisked away by Lea, whom Ms. Foster summoned. On their return, moments later, MacLeod asked her why she promised the ring to Mab. Very good question, that. Ms. Foster is infamous for making promises she can’t keep.
As Ms. Elessedil examined the sword, things happened. A choir of angels descended on our position, and the earth beneath our feet split open (no, not really). But the ice around the sword did melt, and she seemed to sheath the sword in a scabbard nobody had noticed before (and that nobody could see afterwards, either – do they sell those, I wonder?). That much decided, we agreed to return to the Professor’s apartment for more talk.
I did arrange with MacLeod for some training sessions, however. While Lt. Ivanova is very skilled, we’ve been equally matched for some time. Time to take it up a notch. Or eight.
Upon our arrival there, Mr. Ramachandran received an e-mail from Agent Tam, that he then forwarded to me (and I to ATS Taylor), who confirmed that the “Nikolai” in the recording matched the voiceprint of Nikolai Tesla, whom I had known as Dr. Ian Lesko, the chief scientist at the
Shop when I was still with the CIA. This spurred a discussion on how Ms. Spiridakos’ agent, Zoe Washburn, Ms. Foster’s confidant and future dinner date Mr. Howe tied in with Manning.
Ms. Spiridakos related a story about Washburn going ballistic over a spider that prompted me to mention she might be a drow, which had me contacting Capt. Moonsinger over at NYCPD regarding what she knew, which was quite a bit. Made me quite glad that what drow we have here aren’t numerous enough to be need eradicating.
Despite Ms. Elessedil’s eventual complaint that we seemed to not have a plan, I knew that in the end, Manning & Lasciel would find themselves touching the sword. One way or another; redemption or simply execution.
Several locations for our “exchange” were discussed and dismissed, but we eventually settled on the Boathouse in Central Park. When we broke for dinner, we all learned that Luciano had taken matters into his own hands, and had assaulted Manning’s position on the island. None of the bodies recovered thus far matched the descriptions for Manning or the Hands, though according to Lt. Ivanova, several were missing tongues. The Professor identified these as Denarian cultists.
Ms. Spiridakos took this to mean that Manning would be twice as cautious, and began agitating to contact him and bring up the redemption angle. I argued that either way it broke, we’d wind up using the sword on it anyway, because it was the only way to be certain of killing it. Mr. Lyton excused himself and went to scout the Boathouse while the rest of us argued for awhile longer, more for entertainment than any useful purpose.
We excluded Ms. Spiridakos & Ms. Hoffman from the final planning stages, while they spoke with Manning about the exchange. Despite instructions, our Weakest Link brought up the redemption angle, and nearly spooked him. Eventually, however, she got him to agree to the meet, at 0200 the next morning.
After returning from his scouting mission, Mr. Lyton brought us up to speed on the location. Afterwards, he returned home, only to call and tell us that Ms. Windrunner’s apartment had caught fire, and that she had been taken to the same hospital as Alaska Vanderbuilt.
At 0200, we had our meet with Manning. Despite Ms. Spiridakos’ “fluffy bunny” diplomacy, Manning led with an all out assault, backed by an ambush of his own. Mr. Lyton truly showed his worth early in the fight, charging Manning and wresting the Ring from him, though he paid for it quickly enough. I dueled Manning briefly, but it had always been the plan that Ms. Elessedil use her sword to finish him off, which she did. The Hands fought briefly over the prize of the Ring, but both eventually fled the field empty handed.
Eventually, with the heavy hitters out of play, the cultists they had for support fled, as well. A search of Manning’s effects ensued, and we took what evidence we could. I contacted NYCPD-UCU to inform them of what had happened, and informing them of what would be found on site (though Mr. Ramachandran, social inept that he sometimes is, claimed one of the machine guns as a gift for Agent Tam). Lord, this will mean showers, and stuff. Eeek.
Ms. Elessedil claimed to know how to destroy the Ring, but was more concerned with getting Mr. Lyton to her people’s healers. The Leanansidhe made an appearance shortly thereafter, rebuking Ms. Foster for her promise, and provided us with several other, less savory, means of destroying the Ring. The best one she provided was simply hiding the Ring, hinting that both I and Mr. Ramachandran knew people who could do so, as did Ms. Elessedil.
At about this time Ms. Foster spotted Mr. Kolchak, who appeared to have gotten both the fight and the subsequent discussions on tape. After encasing him in ice, she then decided to fill him in on every detail of the events he had witnessed (and I thought I had a problem keeping my tongue in check!).
Ms. Spiridakos did something to Kolchek, causing him to lose all interest in the rest of us, though somehow he turned his attentions of Ms. Hoffman, instead, shortly thereafter. Ms. Spiridakos verbally sparred with Kolchak, threatening him with charges of statutory rape (against Ms. Hoffman, whom he technically never did anything but cast lustful glances at). In the end he left, without his camera equipment, which I collected for “safekeeping” (i.e. disposal).
Later that morning (0600), we saw the fruit of Ms. Foster & Mr. Kolchak. Somehow, Manning’s death had become a ritual murder, and Ms. Foster’s prints were supposedly on the murder weapon (a dagger resembling the one Akon had used).
As a result of her flight from justice, Ms. Foster soon learned that the problem we’d been having with information security all along was…. Me. Her sources confirmed that Vanderbuilt had somehow put a trojan or worm in my phone, that reported back to her via Technomancy. So I reported in to the Agency and spent far too many hours having in-house Hogwarts graduates pour all over me, while more went through my apartment, looking for more contaminated devices.
Somewhere in all this, Director Moskavina got involved in Ms. Foster’s woes, and in return for “fixing things”, took her on as a mole in the Winter Court, naming me as her “handler”. Oh joy.
When we all convened for our usual meeting later that day, there was a wealth of information to learn. The ritual dagger that had been used to implicate Ms. Foster was thought by the Professor to belong to one Adrika Niranjana, a former (college) student of his, who now not only works with Professor Fairlane, once worked at Greenwood Cemetery, and who was now, as it would eventually be learned, the current girlfriend of Ms. Spiridakos’ former lover, Siobhan Chu. As it turned out, Adrika also was on several watch lists, and had some seriously questionable friends. Her parents, both WCW, had died in the war with the RCV a few years previously. Several locations used by Niranjana were located, one in Mr. Lyton’s own building.
Questions were asked about Zoe Washburn and her connections again, and most of us felt that other avenues being closed for various reasons, having Ms. Elessedil dispose of the Ring was probably safest. Mr. Ramachandran consulted his “sources” and learned that Niranjana was
indeed in possession of the Tablet, behind the drain on Calliope (which she had learned how to do from Baphomet). She was also a willing servant of the Master, though not the Master, herself.
Eventually we decided to take the Ring to Ms. Elessedil for disposal. On our way out of the subway, we were stopped by a “man” who was smoking… but his cigarette was unlit. He advised us against going up to the surface. Introducing himself as John Fumous, he informed us that the forces of Hades and those loyal to the Winter Lady were battling above, with the prize to be the Ring we bore. Forces loyal to the RCV were also afield, already avoiding the heavy artillery to sneak up on Ms. Elessedil’s apartment.
We notified Ms. Elessedil and used some steam tunnels to dodge the fight in the Park. I also called lt. Ivanova to inform her of what was really happening at Memorial Park, hoping to limit casualties. As we finally reached Ms. Elessedil’s quarters, we found the RCV had just
arrived, as well.
As we began to turn the tide of the fight with the RCV, the fight outside the Tower spilled into ours, causing us to agree to a temporary alliance with the RCV, who honored their agreement, but wound up fleeing before the battle ended. We were clearly winning anyway, but the battle pretty much evaporated once Ms. Elessedil did whatever it was she did to destroy the Ring. Interesting that Winter’s minions (well, the Lady’s minions, anyway) seemed downright blasé about interfering in the actions of a Cintran (which, according to every source I’ve heard, is like a huge breach of some ancient treaty).
At 0900, we met again to discuss the matters at hand. Ms. Foster wanted to tell yet more secrets to Howe, and was voted down. Ms. Spiridakos identified the locations the safety deposit box keys Manning had on him at the time of his demise. Two were owned by Manning, the third, a “Liriel Ahk’velar” whose photo matched that of Zoe Washburn. Mr. Lyton knew of some “actors” who could pose as these two, so they were dispatched to take the keys and empty the boxes and return the contents.
After that, we split up, Mr. Ramachandran, Ms Hoffman and Ms. Spiridakos heading to Port Authority to open a locker there, while the Professor, Mr. Lynch and I went to investigate Manning’s apartment. The Professor confirmed with his Sight that numerous vile acts had taken place there, over a long period. Our associates came up dry at the box owned by Washburn, but the other boxes contained a variety of false IDs, money, jewelry, and even hair samples; one each for Jack Bauer, Niranjana, Washburn, Agent M. Forrester, and Ms. Spiridakos.
After disposing of all the samples except those for Washburn & Niranjana, I received a message from ATS Taylor indicating a high probability that Niranjana was in possession of a small nuclear warhead. I decided, at the time, to conceal this fact from the rest of the Usual Suspects, as this was clearly not something I wanted leaking into the ears of Howe, Smythe, or any of the other obvious information pits my associates entrusted confidential information too.
I did, however, stop off at a hardware store and purchase several items that I thought might be useful if I found myself in the undesirable position of facing a countdown (which, lets face it, given the Usual Suspects, was actually pretty likely). (See attached purchase order, A-JLB-OA-130517).
At 1600 we reconvened at TFoK, where we pooled our findings. Ms. Foster, who had been whisked off to the Nevernever earlier, gave a fascinating report on something known as the Adversary, which had possessed Oberon at the end of his reign. In more modern times, this “Adversary” seems intent of stirring the pot among the supernatural community, thus our interesting lives. She also eventually revealed that in the “body of the multiverse”, so to speak, Winter is the immune system, keeping all manner of foreign bodies at bay.
Conversation stagnated along its usual lines, until Ms. Hoffman reminded us that our goal was, in fact, Niranjana and the Tablet. The CQG was summoned to make a report, which was mostly inconsequential except that Niranjana and Ms. Chu had been spotted “sporting” at Niranjana’s family estate in Brooklyn. Mr. Lyton left shortly thereafter to case the site himself.
We broke up shortly after Ms. Spiridakos left to attend a “family gathering” of epic proportions, one Daughter of Aphrodite and the twin daughters of Minerva.
The next morning Ms. Spiridakos arrived at TFoK sporting a new set of bracelets and a new attitude on Greco-Roman relations. She revealed that one of her half-siblings appears to be none other than Agent Lattimer’s ex-wife. What a small, possibly irredeemably incestuous world we live in.
Mr. Lyton laid out his sketches of the Brooklyn estate. Sensing that our time to move on the location was short, I asked Ms. Foster if the CQG was reliable enough to read a Geiger counter, which eventually forced me to reveal the possibility of the nuke on site. I stepped out for a time to acquire several (see attached purchase order A-JLB-OA-130518), as well as several pounds of celery, which I paid for myself.
Fortunately, the CQG were fans of SciFi, so handling the equipment required very little explanation. When queried about other matters, Drucilla revealed that the Winter Lady had been exiled from the Court and that Zeus himself had paid Mab a visit, also that Washburn had also
joined in the “sporting” the night before.
Ms. Spiridakos seemed overly concerned about Zeus meeting with Mab, so she contacted one of her seemingly endless supply of ex-boyfriends and, as it turned out later, elected to star in a homemade porno in order to learn that the answer to her question was essentially “yes, Zeus met with Mab”. So glad I work for the government. Being an underwear model involves too much casual sex. With hookers. In dive motels.
Ms. Foster contacted Howe, learning that while Washburn was, in fact, a drow, she was also supposedly out of the country and had been for several days. The Hogwarts crew ran their checks, and we learned that the hair sample from the safety deposit box pointed towards Brooklyn, but the hair sample we’d secured from discarded panties in Manning’s apartment pointed out to sea.
After about 10 minutes, the CQG returned to report that the Geiger counter that had been sent to the Brooklyn estate had gone nuts, which got everyone very focused. Further information relayed by the Guard was that Washburn (at least the one in Brooklyn) was a fellow Immortal, and that some of the “people” on staff there had a taste for people., and that something “fearful” lived in/underneath the stables (Ms. Foster identified it as a “rawhead”).
Delivery people servicing the estate were given necklaces, and we discussed how we might acquire these necklaces for our own use. Sensing that a huge fight was on our hands, I brokered the idea of informing Luciano about the location of the Tablet; after all, he’d already launched an assault on Manning’s place trying to get it back, and all we really cared about was stopping Niranjana/the Master from using it to drain Calliope. Maybe he’d be willing to commit some troops to cover our assault? (I’d already rejected the idea of informing Homeland about the nuke; too many mundanes would be slaughtered, and Luciano’s people meant nothing to me).
During these discussions, I received a call from ATS Taylor informing me that Niranjana and Smythe would be meeting in Times Square to negotiate for the sale of the nuke at 1900. I suggested this as a prime hour for our assault on the complex.
Mr. Lyton, naturally, had a friend of a friend who could put him in touch with Luciano, and a meeting was arranged for 1500 that afternoon. He demanded to meet with all of us, and received our assurances that when the fight was finished, the Tablet was his.
At 1915 that evening, we assaulted the compound with Luciano’s mercenaries providing support. We took on the stables, having learned that there was a tunnel there, originally put in place by the Vanderbuilt family, who had been the original owners of the estate 150 years ago. We cleared the site of hostiles, then took the tunnel from there into the basement of the estate, proper.
After another brief combat, we located where both the Tablet and the nuke were stored. Niranjana and Ms. Chu were both present, as was Salim Asal Ali (FBI-X-711013). I managed to wound Niranjana, but she fled before I could finish her off. Once she’d fled to the Nevernever, Ms. Chu reverted to a mindless state.
Ali was taken prisoner, and Ms. Hoffman proved her worth to me by summoning a phoenix to EATTHENUKE. Impressive.
We located a room full of prisoners kept on hand to feed the ghouls guarding the estate, and I made several calls, one to HQ to inform them about disposition of the nuke, as well as one to DSS for the prisoners and to Homeland to deal with Ali, whom I had placed under arrest.
Luciano’s mercenaries appeared to have either been slaughtered or fled, so we arranged to deliver the Tablet to him the next day at 1000. Mr. Lyton, whom we had selected to keep the Tablet until then, forgot that Niranjana maintained an apartment in his building, and nearly lost it, but managed to foil her attempt at recovering it.
Having fulfilled the letter of our agreement, I later sent an interdepartmental memo to Agents Lattimer & Bering, informing them of the Tablet’s current location and the nature of it’s keeper. Let the Department of Arcane Artifact Recovery do their thing, I figured.