Fate Core: 1985

February 1985: Beach Investigations
Game Notes, June 2015

February, 1985
Checking with Odile about Alison: No answer. What could possibly go wrong?
Plan to meet with Campus Christian Fellowship at 3PM.

Next morning:
Abigail wakes up in the back of an open bed truck, running through the panhandle. 10 am. Diana knew this truck was going to San Francisco. She hops out, invisibly. She avoids joggers, wanders into Golden Gate Park, has a montage. Beautiful City park, Active city fun! Oh look, ducks! She’s totally visible again. She plays on the playground. She sees the Bison. She sees the Windmills. She sees the men hanging around at the base of the Windmills. Diana sings extra brightly, and the two of them are giggling together. As she walks and is, naturally, drawn into an area of mental turbulence. Diana sings in a very quiet, scared…she discovers a large cement room, rusty red metal door with bars. She tries to get in through the bars, but gets stuck. Eventually she wriggles out and discovers the gate is, in fact, unlocked. She looks in to see a nightlight that looks like a candelabra, with extension cords leading to a radio and tv. The room is filled with faux antiques, but it’s still quite dusty. And in the corner, a bed that’s made to crudely like a coffin. (She sees the man’s dream—he sits in a grand hall with real luxuries, and servants. A young woman is brought in and he kisses and embraces her, she sighs, and then he bites her neck.) He wakes a bit, and Abigail goes invisible. He tries to be all Dracula and instead falls on his face, sleepily. He closes the door, and Abigail is pushed to trip over a couch, where she uncovers a pale, dead woman with bite marks on her neck. The fledgling vamp turns and shouts who’s there? threatens with a poncey wave of a fireplace poker. Abigail tries to slink to the door; but the vampire breaks the door handle. So Abigail targets the vamp’s brain and Armond Augustine III crumples to the ground, mentally shattered. She runs out, finally, and runs scared and lost in the park

Jimmy and Scott wake up. Scott, clearly dreaming about Alison, shifts from her shape back into his usual one.

“Odile, this is Scott. if you can have Alison call me a Jimmy’s, that be great. hope everything is all right. Thanks bye.” Which is worse, Prison or Staying with Odile? Hard to tell. We head to the off-campus location: 1740 Sloat, just off Lake Merced. Screen_Shot_2015-09-20_at_6.54.36_PM.jpg

The Physicker actually wears a cross. We look mostly the part, except for Jimmy who…well, it’s close enough. “Can White man sky god make rain?”

Thin carpet, very beige. Cardboard boxes. A young woman looks through the boxes and organizes some papers. Long black hair, slight frame. She doesn’t hear us enter. Scott convinces her that we want to join the Christian Fellowship. There is no meeting today, but there’s going to be a memorial at the beach tonight for Jane. She hands us a small, photocopied sheet of prayers and a memorial for the girl.

Christina Yee is a friend of . (Malthus sees into her soul, which is real easy. She’s doing the Father.) Father Jerrod Davis is the Fellowship’s sponsor. Also teaches world religion at SFSU.
Older man, in his 40s, well built.

They way she describes it, Jane and Brad were so in love, it could have been a movie. Brad wasn’t an outcast, but a bit of a black sheep, because of the way the Father treated him. He never took a liking to him.

Malthus elects not to meet the father. He may know he’s a demon. While investigating outside, he feels an odd sensation, and wanders down the path. Finds a clearing; circular patch of ground in the middle of everything. Shriveled, dead vegetation in the circle. Looks like dead vegetation compressed into it’s old form, pushed like a leaf blower circle. Oh! It’s the magical aftereffect of teleportation! Except from something with dark, death energy.

A station wagon pulls up and the Father walks in. Introductions are made. The father says they’re picking up Jane’s parents for the vigil. What about Brad’s parents? (He stiffens at the mention of Brad’s name.) No, no word from them.

Jimmy sends Scott to find us two. Jimmy picks up every box and carries them to the station wagon with the Father. He confronts him about Brad. “Can’t put a finger on it, and it seems like he had the best intentions, but it never felt right.” Jimmy outs himself as an investigator. Finds out that several weeks before the event, Brad stopped coming to meetings. He was always secretive.

We meet up. The decay seems to be three or four weeks old. Maybe the magic decayed it that much faster. Two footprints. One smaller man’s dress shoe, one large tennis shoe. Jimmy Raindance does his impression of the crying indian. We take some material back to Donny.

The radio in the car comes on KFRC talk radio. “A jogger this morning claims to have seen the body of a woman in the Sutro Baths. He attempted CPR and couldn’t resuscitate her. He went for help, heard a splash and it seemed like the body had been dragged into the water. Was this a hoax? What do you think? 415-555-2138”

Donny knows it’s death magic, duh. Probably a necromancer. Who can say who? And I have to a work a double on Saturday for this little amount of information. We head to the beach to the memorial.

Abigail heads to see the ocean, she sees lights on the beach. Diana says it’s not a happy bonfire—they’re sad. It’s news cameras. Maria Zapata from Channel 7 KGO, and KNTV TV-2 also recording. There’s a tall buff native guy, a medium tall well built white guy, a dog, a guy in blue. “C’mon Darkness.”

The crowd is surrounding Father Davis, Mr. & Mrs. Earl, lots of cameras. Sad, empty eyes. haggard faces. “Jane was a good girl. We can’t express our sorrow properly; we just hope this never happens to any other person.” Brad Petris’s family not seen.

Abigail and the puppy have a moment. A Serious Moment. Abigail sees about a year of Scott’s life.

It’s a lot of blood.

Abigail sees a bit inside The Physicker and sees way more of Malthus than she ought to have.

After Father finishes talking the wind picks up and there is a scream carried on it; A massive scream of the tortured. An unseen fog suddenly passes over. The Physicker puts up a wall of psychic energy that deflects the fog. It still destroys the cameras and it’s thick dark outside of the wedge.

Jimmy goes to talk to the reporter to try to help. She opens her mouth to speak and is interrupted by creaking and croaking and splashing.

Doctor's Log, [insert date here]
...says the handwritten label on the cassette tape

So, yeah. I had just finished treating this minor thug from the Mara Salvatrucha gang when I got a call from Odile, “Hellooooo, not-James. The boys are in The Richmond at [insert address] and probably want your help with fish people, or someone is going to need healing I’m sure. They’ve left me a tasty morsel at home that I’ve got to check on. Ta!” And then she hung up on me. Sigh.

I called Morty, because he still owes me, and I borrowed his car to trek out to the Sunset. On the way I saw a car hit a bunny, or at least I think it was a bunny. I only note it because the event totally suited my grim mood. Who knows what trouble I was about to get dragged into this time.

After I get there I piece together the story.

Apparently Jimmy, Scott, Levi, Malthus, and Odile were investigating the mysterious death of that girl on Ocean Beach. Apparently her heart was ripped out, and the boyfriend that was with her is missing. Definitely sounds like our kind of case, but I wish they’d called me sooner. If I could’ve examined the body, I probably could’ve found clues they’re all oblivious to. Whatever. Spilt milk and all that. Anyhow, since the girl was a student of SFSU, the investigated the campus, turned up the boyfriend’s name (Brad Something-or-other), harassed some kid in a phone booth, and eventually tracked down Brad’s address. So, they set out for the Richmond to investigate Brad’s home.

Turns out that Brad’s family isn’t much for home repairs. It’s an understatement to say the place is a bit rundown. They knocked, got rudely turned away, so they apparently decided to do a little home invasion. Yeah, you heard me, and, no, I have no idea what they were thinking. So, anyway, they bust the door down. Or at least they try to. Apparently Malthus manages to put his foot through the porch, and Jimmy has to cover for him, but I digress. They bust in. They terrify the family that lives there. Sure, they turn out to be bizarre fish people, but even fish people have rights, don’t they? Anywho, there’s some sort of scuffle. One of the fishy people makes a super loud croaky cry that apparently means, “run for your lives,” because they do, bursting out of whatever door or window is convenient. They run to the cliffs at Land’s End and throw themselves into the ocean below. They don’t come back up. That’s okay, apparently we’re adding wrongful imprisonment or kidnapping or whatever the actual legal charge should be to our list, because Malthus or Jimmy or somebody managed to trap two of the fish dudes in the kitchen and have them handcuffed or bound or something.

As everyone who chased the fish family to the cliffs return to the house, Levi and Scott begin searching the house, and Jimmy and Malthus decide to “interrogate” their prisoners. You can’t see my air quotes, but I assure you I did them.

So, let’s skip ahead to something more interesting: my arrival.

Odile’s long gone by the time I arrive, and the rest of the gang is hanging out on the front porch, expressing varying levels of discouragement, debating what to do with their remaining prisoner. Apparently they let one of the two escape before I arrive. They also assaulted one almost to death, so I excuse myself to examine my new patient, and they follow me in.

The entire house has a brackish salt and fish smell. When I see the fish guy with his face all smashed in, I’m more than a little miffed, so I confront the guys, “So, you discovered that the dead girl’s boyfriend is one of these fish people. He’s a suspect, but he may also have been a victim of whatever killed the girl, and you then broke into the home of his family, forcibly detained two of them, and then beat one of them almost to death.”

“There were up to no good,” Jimmy pipes up. “They weren’t cooperative.”

“Uh, huh,” I reply. “Why don’t you guys clear out while I try to heal the guy. Maybe I can get some info out of the guy if I play Florence Nightingale good Samaritan.”

Everyone clears out, except for Scott who keeps watch as a mouse.

During the healing, I have the strangest vision where I’m standing in a cavern underwater. A slightly iridescent elderly lady floats toward me speaking, “Join us under the sea. You don’t have to be alone up above any more. Join us through the baths.” And then I’m back in the kitchen healing fishy. Whoa. That was really weird. I’m guessing these guys have some sort of telepathic link going on, and trying to rebuild the guy’s brain telekinetically must’ve somehow tapped into the network. Freaky.

When the dude wakes, he freaks out and pushes away from me. Long story short (too late), he backs out of the house and starts running toward the cliffs. Scott follows him.

About that time, Jimmy and Levi come up out of the basement babbling about a locket with a photo that identifies the student they pushed out of the phone booth at SFSU as a fish person or friend thereof.

I tell them about the weird vision, and then it occurs to me that the Sutro Baths are nearby. Happy to have a course of action we all run to the street and our various vehicles. Jimmy and Levi mount Jimmy’s bike, a decision Levi will come to regret. Jimmy makes quite the scene using streets, sidewalks, medians, and even the occasional strip mall to reach the baths as quickly as possible. Jason does his best to follow in Jimmy’s wake.

Everyone reconvenes at the site of the Sutro Baths, because apparently Scott’s chase led him to the same destination. Surprise. Not.

Scott tells us which pool the fishy dude disappeared into, so since I was invited and all, I step up to the pool and loudly say, “Okay, I’m here!” After a few moments I decide nothing is going to happen and turn back to the group. Bummer.

So, of course, Scott decides to turn into one of the fish people, because that seems like just as good of an idea as mine. He begins to walk into the water, everyone shouts at him but he doesn’t respond, and everyone tries to spring into action simultaneously. I try to pick him up telekinetically, but the fishy Scott is somehow able to physically resist my telekinesis, which has never happened before. I didn’t even know it was possible. We’re more or less at an impasse, but thankfully I’m not alone. Levi dives forward and cinches a large zip-tie around fishy Scott’s feet (because of course he carries around zip-ties). Jimmy follows that up by running around fishy Scott, scooping him up into a fireman’s carry, and pitching him unceremoniously back on dry land. That’s apparently enough to snap Scott out of his fishy daze and revert to his normal form.

I inform Scott that the fishy people have some sort of telepathic bond that he apparently got to experience first hand, and he’s not very grateful for the information. Much discussion ensues.

Levi pipes up about an amulet he found while searching the house. Everyone rolls their eyes and asks why he didn’t bring this up earlier. He has some Levi-esque lame answer. The amulet has a symbol that looks like an eye, is made out of the same material as some clue they found at the scene of the beach murder, but otherwise doesn’t yield any more useful information.

With no new information the group eventually decides to revisit SFSU to track down the phone booth dude.

Back at the SFSU campus, the team attempts to track the kid down, but we fail. We follow his footprints until they dead end at a place where it looks like a leaf blower has been pointed directly at the ground, leaving a circular pattern of cleared ground.

Levi thinks aliens abducted the kid, but Scott and I tell him to stop being ridiculous. He goes on about faeries and demons and such as if that somehow makes aliens real also. Whatever. The kid’s got a lot to learn.

Anyway, it eventually occurs to Scott to pull the photo out of the locket and look at the back. From there we acquire the names of the three people: Brad, Charles, Darlene, and Abbey. Oh, and they have Brad’s last name somehow, but I don’t remember what it is. So, apparently it’s time for breaking and entering, and we make our way to the SFSU administrative building in search of student records.

This doesn’t really net us much information. Security almost catches us. Jimmy does a surprisingly convincing imitation of a cigar-store Indian. We pretty much get the same address we’ve already investigated, and are pretty discouraged until we discover that both Brad and Abbey were members of the campus Christian Fellowship. It’s not much of a lead, but it’s the best we’ve got for now. We’ll see where it leads us.

A Trip To The Fish-mond

God, it’d been forever since I was last on a college campus. So much knowledge, education, sexy students, and at the big colleges all the really fun research equipment. You can afford the big toys when you get millions a year from alumni, I guess. I hadn’t been on a campus since that summer I broke into the UC Santa Cruz’s biomolecular science research labs and…well, you read the local papers, so no need to go into details, but I’ve been a little shy about campuses since.

No research labs this trip though, just the dorms where we dropped in on Jane’s roommate, Kimber…who was in tears. I don’t know what to do with crying co-eds, so I just stepped back and let Jimmy, Malthus, and Humphry Boo-gart take the lead. Through the tears we learned that Jane had a boyfriend that she was inseparable from, some guy named Brad, I think. Or, it was like he was inseparable from her as she never saw Brad without Jane. Meanwhile, Malthus’ sharp eyes caught a napkin with a number scrawled on it. He copied it while Scott gave Kimber his, just in case.

Tracing down that number was the obvious first step. We found a phone booth, Malthus chased off the jackass teen hanging out inside doing whatever jackass teens do, and Scott managed to find the name for the number in record time: Charles Petcher. Unfortunately, there was no address for this name, so Scott went with the direct approach and gave Charles “Brad” Petcher a call. He gets a hello, starts spewing a bunch of telemarketer claptrap, and promptly gets hung up on.

Ok, the number works, and someone’s home. That’s good. And I can cobble together a bunch of supplies to make a tracer that’ll get us an address. Malthus takes a moment to follow the jackass teen to pry some information out of him about Brad. Turns out the kid knew that Brad spent a lot of the time at the beach, but didn’t know why. Kid also had a severe fixation on penis jokes. This is why I’m convinced guys are all a little bit gay: whether it’s their own or someone else’s, guys are obsessed with dick.

In Odile land, Odile returned from whatever land she’d been trans-dimensionally vacationing in, reflected on how wonderful it was to be Odile, and then checked her answering machine. Amidst spam, screams, and sibling communiques, she got Jason’s message. She left him a message on his own machine, buzzed the club, argued about tips, and then got dressed to meet us at The Underworld.

At the Underworld we all convened and got plans in order. First, Allison. Scott collected her from the back room where she’d spent hours braiding and unbraiding her hair over and over and over again and arranged for her to stay in the safest of Odile’s spare rooms. A small step up, but a step up all the same.

I finished tinkering with my tracer and asked Donnie if I could use the club phone, buying a nice bottle of scotch – plus tip – for the trouble. She took the cash, handed over the scotch…and pointed to the payphone. Oh well, at least I bought some goodwill. I took a heavy swig from the bottle; looks like I bought the good stuff as well as goodwill.

I patched in the tracer, gave the phone number a buzz, and waited. It took nearly three dozen rings before someone answered. I didn’t bother with the phony sales pitch; I got a readout almost instantly and hung up. The address was out in the Richmond.

We saddled up and headed out…me stumbling a little bit because wow that really was the good stuff. Jimmy took a pit stop to drop Allison at Odile’s, reminding her to use the safe word – palomino – to keep the shadows at bay. Allison was thrilled to spend another chunk of time waiting around, but at least this time she would be able to go to the bathroom or lie out for a nap. Probably.

We pulled up to the address in an unfriendly neighborhood near the beach. The house was boarded up everywhere, but the door remained unblocked so we walked up to see who was home. Scott knocked on the door, and from inside we could hear weird, froglike noises.

Then a man opened the door. An ugly man. I mean, like UGLY ugly. Balding, eyes bulging, face and mouth too wide, fingers too long, too tall…
Scott asks if Brad is home. No. Does he live here? Yes. I want to talk to him. ….no. doorslam

Enter: Jimmy, stage right. He and Malthus conspire the best way to get into the house. Shockingly, they decide that breaking down the door is the best way. So they break down the door.

Unfortunately the homeowners had taken precious little care of their home, and physics being the funny little universal constant that it is complied with busting the door open…and simultaneously driving Malthus down through the rotted floorboards to wind up waist-deep in the porch.

Scott ran up to help and pulled Malthus out just int time for uggo to come lunging at them both. Scott, figuring Malthus could take it, decides to hide behind his demon shield. It was a good decision; the blow was just a scratch for Malthus, but it would’ve taken Scott’s head clean off. Jimmy, never able to resist a fracas, runs into the fray with a knee to the gut and Malthus lobbing his own sucker punch.

I chucked the whisky bottle at the creep’s head, but my head was still a bit muzzy from the pull I took, so my aim pulled to the left by mere inches sending the bottle down the hallway. Scott, picking up the cue from what I was trying to do (alcohol + Malthus^flame = win), scrambled after the bottle and wound up in the kitchen with an entire family of weird ugly people.

Back at the front door, creepy ugly man made that weird froglike sound we heard earlier and heard it answered from all parts of the house, including from the “family” in the kitchen. Evidently that sound translated into “run” as the entire house bolted out the back door, taking opportunistic attacks at anyone who got too close, but “retreat” clearly being the main objective. Scott, who had seven of them behind him wasn’t quite sure that this was their objective at first because why would he? A mob of creepy ugly people running after you gives the distinct impression of a chase. He flipped into a red tailed hawk on the fly (ha!) and took to the sky, safe from their reach.

Except they weren’t trying to reach Scott, they were trying to reach the ocean. One after one they dove into the brackish waters. Not a single one came back up.

Case File #2424
The Case of the Fishy Fiend

Arriving at the beach, we see various police blockades, as well as some familiar MiB looking cars in the parking lot. Traffic is being rerouted, and even Jimmy’s winning smile can’t get us through. I decide to go undercover and scope out the scene.

Shifting into man’s best friend, I scamper over to the crime scene and sniff around. The body of a dead dame is lying in the sand, the metallic scent of blood overpowering the sea salt air.

As I look for clues, I notice that Agent McCall and his goons are doing their own investigations. They ignore me until some guy I’ve never seen before pulls out a scope glares at Levi and checks me out. He hands the scope over to McCall and he starts giving me the stink eye.

Knowing the gig was up, I vamoose and head out into the ocean, all doggie care free and the like, as McCall facepalms. Oh well, so much for stealth.

Jimmy is talking it up with his fanboy of a cop. He gets it outta the kid that the woman was found on the beach, and that it looked like someone had taken a chunk out of her chest. As Jimmy gets some details, an agent comes over and tells them that “Agent McCall would like to see you.”

They mosey on over to the crime scene and look around. The victim is a young woman, early 20s, her arms and face covered in slash marks, a large puncture wound along her neckline, a big gaping hole in her chest cavity, right where her heart shoulda been.

Emphasis on shoulda.

From the wounds, it looks like the heart was yanked out, with one swift pull. Which means whatever did this was strong enough to pierce through her chest cavity, with sharp enough claws to do so.

Malthus looks over the wounds and guesses there are quite a few nasty creatures who could’ve done it; werecreatures, ghouls, demons, any number of aquatic beasts (gotta start hitting the books one a these days).

I show up, wet but man like, and take a gander with human eyes this time around. I find an amulet glistening in the moonlight, hidden between some rocks nearby. The chain is made of gold, thick and interwoven, with an occultish looking design. I bring it over to the group, show it to Malthus and ask him to take a gander.

Malthus looks at it intently, it’s intricate carving laid in an arcane pattern, with the shape of a fish head…thing, not quite a fish but kinda/sorta.

With McCall standing around, Malthus tries to play it cool, saying it’s a cheap trinket and not worth anything. McCall calls him out and Malthus concedes that it’s probably important.

McCall says they found ID on her, one Jane Earl, a SFSU student. We tell McCall that we’ll look into it, and though it irks him, he agrees that he could use the help. But we’re to share any intel we gather, and he’ll do likewise.

The whole time, the youngster who was scoping me out in canine form, Agent Marcus Elliot, was looking at us through his scope. He flirts (rather poorly, I think) with Levi, who I ask to build me an anti-scope…thingee. What’s the point of being the ultimate infiltrator if I can’t infiltrate?

We head back to Underground to get our bearings, and to check on Allison. Having left her with Malthus’ boss lady, I wanted to make sure she was still okay.

Okay may be too strong of a word.

Donnie had Alisson playing dress up, with various types of dressings that made Alisson not Alisson. She didn’t look bad, per se. In fact she looked pretty darn good. I mean, if you’re into that kinda thing.

Which apparently I am.

Anyways, Donnie has Alisson in a protection circle, with an obfuscate spell around her. She can’t go anywhere, but no one can find her. I tell her to stay put for now, and that we’ll look into getting her into a safe house soon.

Donnie puts Malthus to work, and as he’s taking out the garbage, he runs into his old pal Barry the Bum. Well, runs into and accidentally buries in bags of garbage are the same thing, right?

Barry goes off on “Splishing & Splashing” and pokes Malthus as he walks away, saying over and over splish splash. He stops, turns around and yells “You saw them! You know they see you! They see you everyday, now!”

Malthus cocks an eyebrow. “Where are they looking from? he asks.

“Yes…?” Barry whispers.

“Can you show me?” Malthus asks.
A fit of maniacal laughter leaps from Barry. “He she sees you. Deep deep down they will find you.”

He walks away again, whispering “Splish, splash, splish splash.”

Not creepy at all…

Next day, Levi works on my anti-scope. It comes in the form of a Casio Watch. How very high tech. Granted it’ll be weird for a dog to be wearing a watch, but hey, beggers can’t be choosers.

With Odille out of town (way, way out of town from the sound of it) we need to find another Big Brain to help us figure out this talisman. I make a few calls and get in touch with an old pal of mine, Dr. Nikolas Ork’er-stra. He’s a professor at SF State, in the Archeology Department. Nice guy, wicked smart, with an interest in the occult.

Also, he’s in Orc. What, you believe all stereotypes are true?

I ask him if I can visit him, and he gives me his office hours. I head out, with the boys in tow.

On the way over, we hear over the radio that an APB has been put out on Alison Argent, who is a suspect in the missing children’s case. Story goes that she evaded arrest with the help of an “unknown suspect” (yours truly) and that if anyone had any leads, to call the authorities.

Hell’s Bells, that’s all we need.

Quentin Kopp, a member of the board of supervisors, has taken quite a bit of interest in the case. He’s been looking into it, and working with the police, or so he says. I’ve heard the name before, quite the active political figure, but don’t know much about him. I’ll have to remedy that later.

Getting to the university, we head on over to Doc Ork’er-stra’s office. He’s a rather unassuming fellow. That is if you can’t see him for what he really is. Eight foot tall, green skin, muscles for days, large protruding tusks, bald as the day I was born, and wearing a white button down shirt, tweed jacket with leather patches and the tiniest pair of reading glasses.

Speaking as eloquent as any big brain I’ve ever talked to, he welcomes us. We get some small talk outta the way, introductions are made, and then we get to business. I show him the amulet, in a protective zip lock baggie.

He looks at it, gingerly holding it in his hand. He goes to his books and pulls out a few volumes. After a bit of research, he comes back to us with some much needed info.

The artifact is a sacrificial amulet for Father Dagon, one of the ancient sleeping gods. He discovers some writings on the amulet, in latin, which are consistent with Deep Ones, Were Creatures that worship Father Dagon and Mother Hydra. The amulet is meant to denote a being for harvest or sacrifice, as payment for gaining mystical abilities or blessings.

Basically someone used the poor girl as payment for some major mojo. And that someone is going to pay back in full.

February, First

14415546083_ee3f8fa4f4_b.jpgIt’s only been a week or so that the Underground has been open to the public again and already it’s busy. Seems like the notoriety of our little New Year’s "incident"—whether they know the truth or the fiction—is enough to bring the normals back for excitement. Sometimes a little too much excitement. When I spotted Tiffany she was being manhandled into the alley behind the club by a little bruiser punk and some extra pale Killing Joke fan. She was clearly out of her head and out of her league—those were supernaturals. I followed them out to the back.

“What do you boys think you’re up to?”

“Leave us the fuck alone, Malthus.”

The punk had his half-breed demon hands all over the girl. The pale one could barely keep his fangs in his mouth. Too bad they were about to experience Infernus Interruptus.

I hissed in their faces hard enough that the vamp cowered away from me in fear. The half-demon swung at me and missed. I leapt up on the dumpster and slammed his face into the metal. I’d say it made him uglier but that’d be hard to do. Mostly it just made him bleed. I like that. I assume the vamp does too, in his way.

The vamp told me his name was Armond Augustine III. I tried to taunt the halfhorn’s Real Name out of him, but all he told me was Big Johnson. “More like Little Prick,” I said, as they ran off to hunt in a different neighborhood. Curious how that shit stain and the mosquito ended up together. But not my problem anymore. I’ll add their names to the 86 list.

I called up the Physicker and left a message on his machine. “If some little half-demon shit with a broken nose comes by, tell him Malthus said Fuck You and forbid you to treat him. Thanks.”

* * *

As I escorted Tiffany back to the tender loving care and dangly earrings of her friends Amber and Jennifer, I passed by Levi, making eyes at some guy across the bar who was stroking his pocket calculator. I thought it was a Love Connection. It was more like Weird Science.

“I think you have something of mine,” the guy said. Levi knew immediately what he was talking about. So he whipped it out right there and slapped it on the table. The guy looked down at it–long and hard. “What did you do to my scope?”

“Made it better,” bragged Levi.

Apparently they were all kinds of Nerd right there in the bar together. Chuck Wollery was ready to send them off on their second date until the guy threatened to turn Levi in to Agent McCall. No amount of sweet talking was going to get that scope back. Levi struck a deal and at least got Marcus’ name. No idea if he got his beeper number at least.

* * *

Donny came through the stockroom to her office while I was grabbing cases of Budweiser. Said she got a call from another bar friend of hers, Seamus Lee Chang, who runs the Four Leaf Clover down in North Beach. “I think your buddy Jimmy Hot Head was at it over there.”

Jimmy Raindance? What’d he do?”

“Busted a plate glass window with a bar stool.”

“Sounds like Jimmy. Did Chang say why?”

“Some thugs were out front, trying to steal a car or something. Said Jimmy jumped out the broken window, kicked one, roundhouse kicked a second and knocked the third one out at 100 feet with one of his buddy’s Florsheims. Did the whole Dirty Harry thing with a pair of aviators in front of the entire bar. ‘Crime doesn’t pay’ and rode off.”

Cory Hart would be proud. Guess Chang is pretty pissed off, huh?”

“Not really; said he called some French lady who said she’d pay for it. Plus all the preps thought it was the best thing they’d seen since The Terminator. Lots of ’He’ll be back’ jokes and extra rounds of shots.”

I grinned “I can get him to break the windows here if you want, boss.”

She gave me the finger and walked back to her office and slammed the door behind her.

* * *

His keys had barely finished rattling in the door of Scott’s tenderloin-adjacent 3rd story walkup when someone put a hand on his shoulder. A quick judo flip and Allison Argent was on the ground in pain. “Why haven’t you returned any of my calls for the past two months?” The light on his answering machine blinked furiously. Scott apologized and offered her a Bartles and Jaymes.

Seems Allison was under investigation for her role in the murder/disappearance of the children on New Year’s Eve. All because she pulled a file she shouldn’t have? Seems like a lot of production for a minimal amount of suspicion. Scott offers to tell her bosses the truth about who requested the file, but that’s when someone pounded on the door: a bevy of cops in riot gear. “We know Allison is in there. She’s under arrest for suspicion of kidnapping and probable murder of those 24 children.” Scott politely asked for a moment with a swift slam of the door in their faces.

“Those aren’t cops. Let’s go. Keep your eyes shut and hang on.”

He grabbed the girl and made like King Kong —somewhat literally—down the side of the building on the fire escapes, cops in hot pursuit. They chased them down an alley where he threw trash lids at them; he spotted the cop cars blocking the taxi stand at the hotel next door, so he tried to shimmy up the fire escape. One cop, gun drawn, got his hands on him as Scott was kicking away a rusted section of ladder. They tussled and the gun landed on the ground, discharging and grazing Scott in the shoulder. But it was enough time for Scott to do some kung fu leaps down the side of the building into a waiting cab, which pulled away.

Allison, gratefully, lost consciousness in the back of the taxi. Thank the lord for small mercies.

* * *

The Physicker had been having a quiet night out at the Sutter Street Tavern. Mostly enjoying his Molson and trying not to think about anything. Unfortunately the crap that happens to people like us tends to fascinate the rest of the world. He caught a glimpse of Anita Watkins on the Channel 2 News at 10 o’clock. She’s still been doing press conferences about her daughter and the other 23 missing children. She looked thin, understandably depressed. I can’t imagine what it’s like to keep hearing “the investigation is still ongoing” and “we’ll let you know as soon as we know something” from the police. The rest of the bar started talking animatedly about the “Black Widow Killer” and all those poor children, and what was anybody doing about it.

I imagine at that moment, the Physicker put down his beer, sighed deeply, and went to go call his answering machine.

* * *

Slowly the gang filtered in and we swapped stories.

“You let him walk out with it?”
“But I can make another one,” Levi protested. “I understand it enough to make one that can track them!”
I was barely able to contain myself. “Yes, but now so can they.”
Levi’s eyes went wide with understanding. “Oh…”
“Exactly. You let him walk out with a tool that can spot people like me without…”

I stopped because coming into the side door of the club was a shape shifter with an unconscious woman over his shoulder. Of course; where else would trouble come but into my nightclub? I ushered everybody into into the employee lounge in the back, where we deposited Allison on a couch.

Scott told us about his cunning escape while the Physicker patched him up and scanned the girl for damage. Johnny pointed out that there were a lot of cop cars involved if it wasn’t actually the police. “You probably just ran from the cops. That’s bad ass, but still.” We debated what to do with the girl for a bit; maybe take her to our safehouse. Suddenly the door crashed open and Donny walked in, fuming.

“I hired you to run my nightclub, Malthus. I would ask that you go do that now.” The woman can put the fear of Satan into me with her voice, but I did point out that we had a situation here, and pointed at the unconscious Allison. “I’ll deal with her. You go deal with my club. We need somebody at the front.” I went back out as she started drawing protective sigils around the couch, muttering about the girl’s terrible hair and clothes. “This is going to take all night,” she said, pulling out a box of makeup and accessories.

Levi checked the police band radio to hear if the cops were still trying to find Scott and Allison. Nothing. (Maybe Scott was right, and those weren’t cops.) The reports instead were all about some kind of incident at Ocean Beach. Reports of screams earlier, the area cordoned off, hinting about something gruesome that they wouldn’t quite say over the radio.

You know when you feel like you’re being handed a clue by the universe? This felt like it. I got my closing duties at the club all finished and we hopped into a couple of cabs—the Physicker off to see if Odile was able to join us, the rest of us following Jimmy on his hog to the grand opening of the Chthonic Playland at the Beach.

I doubt anybody there will be laughing except for Laughing Sal.

Ashleigh's diary
Karma Chimaeras and the Cancer Dance

Dear Diary,

Jimmy and the dork patrol had to go to some fancy party downtown, and I got to come along! I went and return frauded the hell out of borrowed this way cute pink neon one-strap cocktail with a chiffon mini and matching heels my feet are still glaring at me for. Not that anyone noticed. Sigh.

We got there first, riding past the valet. So totally Officer and a Gentleman. Jimmy left me at our table to case the party while we waited for the others. Jason, Scott, and Levi showed up together, stag, I guess? And Odile arrived looking all classy with some dashing Latino gentleman named Raoul. Jimmy swept in and took her arm, giving her the run-down as he escorted her to her seat. Which was way closer to the stage than ours.

“Oh, Jaaaaaaaames,” she Odiled, hanging onto his arm a bit longer than she needed to, “I’m dreadfully sorry you’re all stuck in the cheap seats.”

Jimmy said, “I’ve got some practice at the second-hand citizen thing.”

“At least you’re not serving drinks,” said Odile.

“Indian. Not Mexican,” said Jimmy, as Raoul showed up with cocktails.

Meanwhile, Scott started mingling, listening to the party buzz. Amid the totally boring blather, he picked up some excitement over Dr. Agard’s Estrazor chemo technology. Almost nothing had been released yet, so everyone was curious.

After about thirty minutes of chatter, Dr. Agard’s assistant Hal walked onstage. I know Jimmy and the gang suspected him of being one of those chimera freaks who tried to eat me, so I gave him my best glare. He stopped to wave to Odile after she shouted, “Harold, how are you!” and thanked everyone, especially the sponsors, for all their support. Apparently Odile was one of the sponsors. La-dee-da. He says there will be sixty minutes of boring speeches about how awesome it is to be white and have money to spare for causes, and then Dr. Agard will make a speech that also will be boring. He said it just like that, I swear!

An hour of awesome Keith Haring doodles on my napkin later, Dr. Agard got onstage, shaking like a deer at an orange vest fashion show. He dropped his note-cards, but Jason kelekinorganized them for him while Jimmy moved to stand on stage behind the doctor like a regularly scheduled bodyguard.

“Good evening everyone and thank you for coming to the event tonight,” he began. Still nervous, he listed like every last donor.

As he talked, Scott was scoping out the crowd for anything suspicious. Some people were drunk, but Dr. Agard’s “best friend” Dr. Oren, was stone sober up front. And fuming, totally doing the Iago thing. Levi, meanwhile, scanned the room with a loose sniper-scope he must’ve reconfigured into some sort of something useful.

Agard was just finishing up with the thanks, saying, “I would like to thank my dear friend Cecil” (that’s Dr. Oren) “for his constant support through these trying years,” when a noise came from above like someone pounding a giant steel drum. Cecil and Hal looked just as confused as everyone else, which may just mean their evil henchmen changed the plan. We don’t know!

Hal tries to get everyone to calm down, which was almost working till the lights cut out, at which point everything went crazy. Jimmy backed Dr. Agard up against the corner of the room, drawing Chief Sitting Shotgun and his tomahawk from his coat.

Before the panic could really kick into high gear, Scott told Jason to keep an eye on Cecil, and sneaked upstairs to check out the noise. He says he heard a roar echo down at him over the slam of massive feet on the steel steps.

Searching his bottomless pockets, Levi found a pocket flashlight and turned it on the elevators just in time to see a faint light shining between the doors, getting brighter by the moment.

“Might I point out the electricity is out, but the elevator is moving?” said Jason, trying to jam the silvery doors with his mind.

“Either they only cut the power on this floor or they’re moving it some other way,” Levi agreed.

In the panic, Odile dragged her date under the table. They were making noises I’d rather not think about for a while, and then she intoned, “My Void Bunny is on the roof. The door by the helipad has been forced inward.”

She grabbed Raoul’s head and her eyes went all non-Euclidean. Claws of black nothingness drilled into his flesh, and something like cloudstuff flowed from him into her hands. When she got up again, she seemed more spry than I’d ever seen her, hyped up on something.

Back in the stairwell, Scott changed his eyes to be like an owl’s, and they adjusted to show him Vicious Ox lurching down the stairs. His apelike form was completely gray, his arms longer and bandy-muscled. Twin tusks emerged from his face. He slammed into the door to the ballroom and we could all hear his roar shake the walls.

A moment later the elevator dinged open. People charged it, only to be greeted by a stampede of rats. Gross! Meanwhile, here’s me, thinking the best place to be in an emergency is with Jimmy, sneaking over to the far side of the room, away from the stempede, when a vent over my head comes crashing down. I barely jump aside as more rats fall from the shaft. Still, the guys were watching, so I kept my cool, but I will be taking and extra-hot double-cleansy shower later.

I did see Odile grab a rat to sniff it. “They’re lab rats,” she said. “No magic, but I do smell another animal. Something stampeded them up here.”

By this time, Dr. Agard had lost what little remained of his cool. So Jimmy said, “Rather someone else had the shotgun? I’ll help Cecil too, don’t worry.” That seemed to calm the doctor down a bit, just a second before the bullets came flying.

The bay windows shattered, glass showering the pavement far below, as a pair of somethings went “BRRREKK” and sprayed lead into the ballroom. Jimmy hit the deck with Agard, and Jason put up a forcefield, but poor Levi did his best Sonny Corleone. I was so busy shrieking I forgot to duck. Something sliced through my arm and sent me spinning. I couldn’t feel it, because shock, but the bullet had gouged a little canyon in my upper shoulder. I tore a strip from my skirt — so much for that return! — and made a bandage behind an overturned table.

With what strength he had, Levi tossed a champagne flute against Jason’s forcefield to get his attention. The doctor concentrated on Levi’s wounds, which closed up before my eyes. Whatever miracles Jason can work, anesthesia isn’t one of them, and I could hear poor Levi screaming even over the gunfire.

Odile, meanwhile, scampered over to where Jimmy had taken cover behind a speaker. “Oh James, darling, are you hurt?” she said, checking carefully, “I couldn’t live with myself if you were perforated.” I could see Jimmy wasn’t enjoying her touch, as if it felt cold and clammy and just a smidge evil.

Vicious Ox finished bashing the door in, sending it careening through the room before he ducked through the doorway and bellowed, all spitty. Shotgun over his shoulder, Tomhawk over the other, Jimmy strolled forward. “Look at you!” he said, “One ass-kicking a la Raindance and you hit the ’roids.”

That got under his rhyno-hide, and Vicious Ox charged blindly.

Bullets rumbled through the room again, and this time I saw the female Chimera swooping by on black bat-wings, muzzle of an Uzi flashing in each hand. Or she did have two before something like a living gargoyle dove at her, knocking one of the guns away.

With nothing mechanical to work with, Levi instead put his inventive skills to use on the rats, throwing one at Ox’s head. Batting the squirming critter away, Ox turned from Jimmy to glare with its piggy red eyes at Levi, who yelled, “JIMMYYYYY! PUNCH IT TO DEATH!”

“On it, sorta,” said Jimmy, using his shotgun like a club in one hand, ’hawk in the other as he slipped behind Vicious Ox to deliver rapid blows along its spine.

Bonchance, James!” Odile shouted as she retreated with the Dr. Agard, leading him to safety.

Focusing his will, Jason stood up from behind cover and squinted very hard at Vicious Ox, who began to slip backwards, the squirming rats underfoot making it hard for him to find his footing, though he was just too huge to push all at once. Weaving around to face the monster, Jimmy flipped Chief Sitting Shotgun up, caught it by stock, and kablam! Right in the face!

Enraged, his face all ruiny, Ox swatted Jimmy with the back of his hand, sweeping him out the window. But Jimmy held onto his wrist and swung him all the way around, skidding on his knees back into the room and hacking Ox in the Ken-doll parts as he slid past.


Behind them, the flying she-maera and the gargoyle I figure was Scott had a dogfight in midair. Wouldn’t it be neat if there was, like, an animated show about gargoyle-like creatures fighting crime in a modern city? Like, by Disney or something? I would totally watch that show. Anyhow, Scott dodged several hails of bullets and dove at her again, knocking the other gun out of her hands before they want at it, his claws against her eagle talons.

Upgrading to Thrown Rat 2.0, Levi tied two of those ugly wormy tails together and threw a rat-bolo at Vicious Ox’s face. He roared as they clawed at his eyes, and with one more mental shove, Jason sent him plummeting out the window. “Bye, Felicia,” he said.

Seeing Ox fall, the winged woman shrunk into a hawk and flew away. We herded the party-goers downstairs. Nothing like stumbling down a couple thousand steps barefoot, heels in-hand, bleeding into a strip of two-hundred-dollar dress and listening to the Cotillion club whine about how getting shot at is too Tenderloin for their tastes. I could’ve danced all night, Diary.

At least Odile didn’t look much better when we finally hit the lobby, emergency lights flooding through the windows. She’d just set Dr. Agard down from a fireman’s carry, using what I guess was the last of Raoul’s strength. “Ah,” she said, “There you are. We were halfway down when the good doctor here got a case of rigor sans mortis. Some clever boots must’ve slipped him a paralytic. Jason, do be a dear?”

Jason did be, and drew the poison from his veins into a paper cup to microscope later.

Only then did Jimmy notice me, slinging his jacket over my shoulders. “You okay, kid?”

“Sure.” I did my best John Cleese: “It’s only a flesh wound!”

“Atta girl,” he said, and ruffled my hair. Like a kid. I leaned my good shoulder against him and didn’t say anything.

Maybe it’s time to tell him about that letter from Berkeley.

Chimera Season

So the evening ended with surgeries. That’s always fun. Doc worked with the organic side of things, patching up Scott, which I’m sure was fascinating but entirely too….“squishy” for my tastes.

I thought I’d take apart a radio instead and see about patching it in to police broadcasts, and wouldn’t you know it but Odile had this beautiful antique looking thing that would work perfectly. It was playing some news broadcast when I popped it open…and the broadcasters started mentioning me by name. O….kaaaayyy. And then there was mention of me being hunted. O…KAAAAYYYY. Ignoring the unpleasant tingle going down my spine I reached, as if compelled, for the shiny glowing diode that seemed to be just what I’d need. And then Odile stopped me, closed the radio, and shuffled me back to the group where I absolutely wasn’t hearing sinister whisperings in my ears the entire time.

Nope. Wasn’t hearing anything. Nuh-uh. Not at all.

I steadfastly continued not hearing things until Jimmy took me back to his place to work on Ashley’s radio for better results. She seemed nice. Weirdly standoffish though; I wasn’t being THAT loud to the voices. Eventually I got her radio working like I wanted it to and promptly went to bed to pass out and dream about death. Weirdly enough, I felt better in the morning.

So tonight was Dr. Agard’s little gala and he was concerned about his safety. So Jimmy and I were put on bodyguard duty. But before we headed out, I had Doc and Scott help me with a little jiggery-pokery on my scope. The operation was a success, and it could now serve as a chimera-identifier by making any shapeshifter viewed through the lens look really, really gross. Like, spoon-gag gross.

Doc and Scott meanwhile would be keeping an eye out on Dr. Agard and check out his lab at Lasombre Laboratories while Jimmy and I got situated upstairs in the ballroom. I bet those two would have all sorts of fun discussing cancer and biology and things, but again….“squishy.”

After Jimmy and I got set up in our vantage points, the party began as all sorts of well-dressed suits, lab coats, and shoulder pads for days piled in to eat, drink, and be merry. One guest in particular really stood out: Dr. Agard’s good friend Dr. Oran, who looked like he burned his friendship bracelet long ago in a fire made out of envy and hate. Something that Dr. Agard himself seemed utterly oblivious to and had actually enhanced his own friendship bracelet with sequins and fluorescent string.

The friendship bracelets are metaphorical representations. They weren’t actually wearing anything. Bracelets, I mean. They were wearing normal clothes. For medical doctors.

Doc tried to strike up a conversation but got the brushoff until he was much more insistent (oh yeah, Doc and Scott came up with Dr. Agard), and once Oran learned who he was he looked like he wanted to be anywhere else…even more so than before. Jimmy also ingratiated himself into the conversation with his usual sledgehammer-like social graces, which finally prompted Dr. Oran to leave the festivities altogether.

Did I mention he was acting suspicious this entire time? Because he was. And now him leaving was even more suspicious.

I think he might be up to something.

The Case of the Bloody Healer
or Stinky Sewer Chimera Action

Case File No. 221

Several weeks have passed since the Nancy Watkins case (ref. case #218) went south. Finding that little girl in that state…that’s not how you want to end an investigation. Not that the media cares. They’ve been parading Nancy’s mom Anita all over the news, talking about the scandal of the missing children. Damn tragedy is what it is, not something to be used as a ratings boost. Though leave it to the politicians to use this as an excuse to point fingers at each other. Damn animals.

Jimmy (ref. file P0124) has gone AWOL, saying something about “totally” going out on the road. Probably needed to get clear his head. Or bash in some heads. Whichever works for him.

So far, 23 kids are still out there, gods know where. No leads, no bodies (which in theory is a good thing), and no witnesses.

Dead end.

I’ve been trying to get Agent McCall to return my calls (heh), but he ain’t havin’ it. I keep getting some generic agent being all “Thanks but don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Yeah right.

I have been keepin’ in touch with my new pals. I hear Donny left Malthus (ref. file P0121) in charge of The Underground. Not a bad promotion for a bouncer.

Odile (ref. file P0123) has been looking into those runes that got zapped into us. (Yeah, that’s not gonna bite us on the ass later on.) For some reason, she can only recall the one that went into her. She’s usually a spot on for details (classy dame with a brain, that one is) but this time around, she’s only got a slim bit of info.

Using that brain of hers, and some latin, sumerian and “other” tomes, she’s able to determine that the rune says “Chiaroscuro.” And typically a chiaroscuro rune isn’t used in the “light” sense.

Of course it isn’t.

Well, I got antsy and decided to return to the scene of the crime. Well, one of them anyways. I went back to the sewer were the boys were able to find the nest of them spider demon freaks. Not my favorite spot to hang out, but figured maybe I missed something.

Shoulda stayed with the classy dame.

From out of the darkness, three bozos come up behind me. One’s a shirtless bald guy with a spike collar on (lassie he ain’t). Another is tall skinny guy, leather jacket and Mohawk. I heard punk was back but jeez. And finally a third guy. Or girl, actually. This dame didn’t look like she wanted to play.

Oh yeah, did I mention they all smelled of Chimera (ref. file C001)?

One Chimera I can handle. Hell, two I might’ve been able to get around. But three? Mama Lahey didn’t raise no fool. Well, she kinda did, but she did teach me one thing. Chimera are not to be messed with.

I took the best tactical approach and bolted.

After a bit of a scuffle, and some cephalopodian wrestling, I managed to escape and swim up one of the sewer pipes, hoping against hope that I’d end up in The Undergrounds bathroom. And that no one was using it at the time.

Later on Levi (ref. file P0122) told me that he had been tinkering with that device he got off of McCalls agents. He realized soon enough that the cub reporter who was taking pics of him hadn’t sold the pics, so his face wasn’t plastered all over the weeklies.

Speaking of, the news claims that the horror at the club was caused by “Mechanical error, due to a light rigging breaking and crashing.”

Whatever helps the mundanes sleep at night, I guess?

I talked to Jason (ref. file P0125) a bit and he told me about how “quiet it’s been.” Apparently the supernaturals of the town were playing it safe and keeping a low profile. Makes sense. No need to get unwanted attention after the club incident.

I find out that some guy came to pay him a visit. A bald guy, early 40s, with glasses. Oh yeah, and covered in blood.

After a bit of questioning (behind a locked door), Jason find outs that this guy was (is?) being chased by some wild dogs. They ransacked his house and chased him out of the gate. Before letting him in, Jason makes a quick call to Malthus.

Jason lets the rather hysterical man in and using his (in)famous bedside manner (a slap on the face and an expletive) he sits him down on his medical bed. Jason does an examination and does find traces of a canine attack.

As Jason stitches him up, the guy tells Jason his story. He got home that night to find his door open and all his stuff thrown about. He admits that he felt someone “watching” him for the past couple of days. He reached out to turn on the light when he heard a low growing. He feels something chomp down on his arm and some laughter coming from inside the apartment. The guy takes off, knocking over one of his neighbor ladies (real gentleman, that one) and the dog possibly took a bite out of her. He kept running until he reached Jason’s.

Jason gives him the third degree (smart. Paranoid, but smart). Jason wants to know why he came to Jason. The guy admits that he’s wanted a chance to talk to Jason for a while, that he’s been a bit of pet project of his.

Jason wonders “Stalker or Groupie?”


Malthus shows up as Jason continues working on his patient, who seems to know more about medicine than he’s letting on.

The patient admits the he’s been feeling paranoid lately. He’s been waking up in the middle of the night, feeling as if someone was watching over him.

Jason finally realizes that he’s seen this guy before. He has this guys wallet. He’s seen him in the papers, as well. Doctor David A. Agard. He’s one of the lead scientists of Lasombre Labratories. This guy is a real egghead, the head of the cancer ward, double PHd and all that. He’s supposed to be heading out to a gala in two days time, where he’ll be presenting a new prototype that’s set to help eradicate cancer. Not a bad legacy, you ask me.

Jason tells Malthus that the reason he has this doc’s wallet is that a ghoul had used it pay for his services.

Malthus and Jason tell the doc that they’re willing to provide their expertise in this situation, provided the doc can pay their fee.

Doc says “If you can keep me safe, I”ll pay any rate.”


Jason calls Odile and has her assemble the A-team.

Just to make sure he’s on the up and up, Malthus soul gazes the Doc. As he tells it, the Doc’s aura is in a fetal position. The Doc actually has a very beautiful soul. Not pure white light, but pretty darn close. He is someone who actually wants to heal the world. He is currently very scared, but wants to help.

Malthus asks a few questions and finds that Asgard has a friendly rival, name of Cecil.

Odile gives everyone a call. I just happen to be stepping out of the toiler, drenched in muck and scum when I hear the phone ring in the empty club.

Levi gets a call at a phone booth he just happened to be walking by. Not creepy at all.

Jason gives Jimmy a call. He leaves a message that everyone is meeting up at his place.

Meanwhile, Jimmy was on a case. Apparently a lady got attacked by something that sounded like a werewolf. Pulling up at the locale in his hog, cigar in mouth, fringe jacket flowing, he looks for a way in.

Seems like the police are preventing the honkies (his words, not mine) from going in, so he makes his own path, up the fire escape. Looking in, he’s able to see that one of the apartment and finds nothing wrong. Outside in the hallway though is ugly. Blood smeared all over, hallway in tatters.

Rather than wasting time, Jimmy jumps through the open window and strolls up to one of the cops. Luckily for him, he’s a fanboy of Jimmy. He spills all the deets. A lady got attacked by a giant dog. The lady is okay-ish. Real mystery, though, is how the dude next door let the dog in. The apartment next door is all torn up. Lady said the dog looked more like a wolf, but that was probably just her nerves.

Leaving the same way he came in, Jimmy heads to his hog. He checks in with his girl Friday, who tells him that all his buddies are meeting up at Jason’s.

The team meets up. I get there in a rather unusual outfit. I had to change out of my sewer covered clothing, and use the leftovers of the lost & found. Suffice it to say, I looked ridiculous. I head straight to the shower and ask for some extra clothes of Jason’s.

Odile recognizes Agard. They chat up a bit, and she says that his work is full of light. Something clicks and we think maybe someone wants to turn that light into darkness. Agard says his neighbor is named Janice, and is glad to hear she’s okay.

Before heading out, I update the boys and lady about the chimera attack, explaining why I stunk and was dressed up the way I was.

The team decides to head back to his place to see if there are any clues. We split up in different vehicles. I grudgingly change into a lap dog to save space. Oy, the things I do for you guys.

Checking out the Doc’s abode, we find a torn up notebook and claw marks on the window sill. Human footprints on the carpet leading towards doggie ones.

Oh no.

Odile asks the question whether the chimera may have done this. I shift into lapdog mode and sniff around. I immediately pick up the Slender Guy’s scent.

Looking at the notebook, Odile performs a ritual to see if the whole thing is there. It is.

Jason starts thinking out loud. “Trying to snuff out bright light.”

Odile responds, “Or channel it into darkness.”

The Doc says he has to take care of the setting up of the device, and has to be at the gala.

The others tell the doc to be quiet, that we’re deciding his fate.

Racking my brains trying to figure out why the Chimera are involved, I spill that though they’re always looking for the next tasty shape, they’re not above taking monetary compensation to do a bit of dirty work.

Levi says he may be able to whip up something that could prevent the Chimera from shifting. He’d have to use lil’ ol’ me as a guinea pig, though.

Oh swell. I don’t suppose this would be covered under worker’s comp…


Doctor's Log
Stardate: ask someone who cares

So. Yeah. This is another fine mess we’ve gotten into and out of and are about to get into again. We stand in the midst of a chaotic aftermath. Blood and bodies everywhere, far more bodies of spider-demon-things than humans, but there was definitely some collateral damage.

We notice that the walk-in freezer is unlatched, and the window is completely webbed over. I latch it from afar, and nobody seems interested in opening the door to figure out what’s going on inside.

Donny stands with hands on hips assessing the situation, and says, “I’m seriously tempted to just burn the place. Get the gasoline, Malthus.”

“Seriously?,” Malthus replies.

The private dick jumps in with, “Yeah. How else are you going to cover up all these bodies and explain the damage?”

While that debate is going on, I wander over to the web-wall of living humans and quickly extricate the mortals from their predicament. And they say I don’t have a pleasant bedside manner. Look at me, caring and shit. As the mundanes stumble free of the wall and out of the club, their eyes begin to clear. There’s a lot of crying. Mortals are kinda’ fragile that way.

After recovering from the shock and swooning in Jimmy’s general vicinity a couple of times… “Oh, James!” [titter]… Odile exits the club saying something about doing research. Jimmy makes a point of exiting separately muttering something about needing some time on an open highway. And I realize that at some point Donny has retreated to her office.

Most of our little group hears the approach of sirens, but they seem to stop a fair distance away, and shortly thereafter Agent McCall and his FBI cronies enter the scene. At that moment I decide to make a quiet exit out the back door.

(How did I write the rest of this? Hell if I know. Maybe I should add “first person omniscience” to my list of psychic powers. Don’t shoot the narrator. I’m just doing my job.)

As the FBI arrives Donny comes out of her office with an armful of stuff. Her purposeful stride and whatever order she was about to bark are cut short when she notices the FBI. She spins on her heel to head back to the office, and after dropping her stuff in the office she comes back out for an awkward, excuse-laden conversation with Agent McCall.

Agent McCall doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to her, as the majority of his attention is on Malthus, or more specifically, Malthus’s forehead, as if he’s trying to focus his eyes on something he can’t quite bring into focus. (Yeah, again, mortals are fragile that way, but maybe this one is about to wake up.) After pulling himself to attention, Agent McCall turns his attention to Levi and asks, “Where’d you guys go?”

Levi then proceeds to rapid-fire a synopsis of the battle without filtering it for that whole fragile mortal thing. “And there may still be some living spider demons in there,” Levi ends by pointing at the freezer. McCall blinks slowly a few times and seems to be composing himself.

Scott and Malthus notice that the FBI agents seem to have some training for dealing with these strange happenings. Each time their poor little mortal eyes begin to glaze over, they focus on their notepads and write something, and this seems to refocus them and allow them to focus on the scene clearly again.

Malthus sidles over to Donny and says, “I’m not sure what to do about this. How can we get these guys out of here, so we can clean up?” And this, remarkably, seems to rally Donny, who pulls herself together and follows McCall to the dance floor in the back room where we defeated the big-bad. Donny attempts to bluff, “Where’s your search warrant, Agent McCall?” But he’s not having any of it. He reads her chapter and verse of his rights as an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigations in pursuit of protecting the public and our great nation from obvious threat.

Seeing that her first ploy failed, Donny turns on the sex appeal and tries another tactic altogether. She says some other bullshit and somehow convinces McCall to take their conversation into her office.

While they’re in the office, Scott inspects the freezer and ascertains that he thinks the corpse menders are still in there. Malthus attempts to provoke the FBI agents into getting ill or otherwise overwhelm them with the scene, and Levi pours himself a drink. After informing our crew about the freezer, Scott decides to try his own hand at sweet-talking the FBI agents. He bumbles around talking to them as if they’re sleepers, but quickly discovers they can, indeed, see the giant spiders and know exactly what they are or at least what they appear to be. Hmm, semi-awake morals. How’s that work?

The FBI agent quickly turns the conversation around and begins to interrogate Scott about his involvement in this case. He tries to stick closely to the mundane truth of being a private eye working on the Nancy Watkins case, engaged by her mom, but the agent seems to be made of the same stern stuff as McCall, and he asks Scott, “So, did Anita Watkins know you were a paranormal when she hired you?” Scott splutters a response to this, confirming the agent’s suspicions. Ever the most practical and cautious member of our group, Levi decides not to learn from Scott and Malthus’s example and engages the FBI in further conversation, but he doesn’t get any further than they did.

Slightly tipsy, Levi disengages and wanders outside.

Seeing several black-windowed sedans, he decides to get into even more trouble, and futzes with one of the cars. He succeeds in avoiding the attention of the cops in the area, but a reporter on a roof across the street manages to snap several photos of him in his larcenous activities. Getting into the locked car, of course, isn’t really a challenge for Levi. Inside the car, he quickly assesses their standard equipment, pockets a fancy scope off one of their guns, and then notices that their radio has a few more knobs and dials than are strictly necessary. Playing with the radio for a moment, he ascertains that it has some ability to detect magic or paranormal or something crazy like that, and that’s probably how they zeroed in on the activity at the club tonight so quickly. Showing a sudden and remarkable sense of self-preservation, Levi decides that he’s done quite enough already and exits the vehicle, re-locks the door, and exits the scene.

Meanwhile, back in the club…

Donny emerges from the office seemingly back in possession of her wits, and commands, “Malthus, cancel the gasoline!” After a dramatic pause, Malthus picks up a nearby beer, chugs some, and then does a spit-take.

At that moment all eyes turn to the walk-in freezer in response to… BANG, BANG, BANG, as the door flies off its hinges. A behemoth 56-legged spider barrels out of the freezer, and leaps into the air, spinning to catch hold of the dance floor light rigging on the ceiling. Eyes are crazily scattered across its body, and ichor drips from its many mandible-laden maws.

Acting quickly, Scott leaps behind the bar and begins constructing a Molotov cocktail.

Malthus is less agile, as the mega-corpse-mender flips its abdomen in his direction and spews its sticky spooge-like webbing in his direction. Malthus attempts to do some acrobatic shit but fails to dodge the nightmarish Bukkake orgy and finds himself thoroughly webbed.

Donny screams bloody murder, “First you trashed my club, and now you try to eat one of my employees!” The spider is unimpressed.

Malthus’s only real option is to attempt to extricate himself from the webs, and is marginally successful.

Agent McCall, on the other hand, decides to show everyone how it’s done. He pulls his pistol with a flourish and pops several caps into it thorax and abdomen.

Following up on McCall’s palpable hit, Scott pops up over the bar and bathes the evil critter in flaming Molotov.

Unleashing some sort of unholy screeching noise (how does it even do that without lungs?), the spider launches itself at what it perceives, as its weakest prey. Lucky Malthus, still somewhat tangled in webs, and is the recipient of a full-on flaming spider body check. Malthus proves not to be immune to fire, blunt trauma, nor the slashing exoskeletal limbs.

Donny slips behind Agent McCall, not wishing to advertise her abilities and seizes control of the flames currently engulfing the unholy creature. She forces the flames to dig deeply into its body and consume it from the inside. Malthus exerts his grip on the lighting rigging and in a feat of supernatural strength avoids being pulled down with the monster.

Agent McCall speaks up, “I think we’ve got this under control now. Why don’t you folks head home?”

Some banter between Donny and Malthus follows wherein Donny eventually concedes that Malthus can wait until tomorrow morning to clean the mess up.

There’s also some unfortunate conversation wherein the FBI agents inform McCall and Scott that the body of Nancy Watkins is downstairs.

As everyone walks outside, they see Levi walking away, and Malthus takes a moment to Soul Mark Agent McCall.

Scott sets off on the horrible task of telling Anita Watkins that her daughter is dead.

Over the next several days…

A media firestorm ensues wherein everybody is pointing fingers at everyone else for mishandling the situation. Anita Watkins becomes a tragic media sensation. There are still 23 children missing, and the media is milking these headlines for all they’re worth.

Levi focuses his attention on researching the “paranormal sonar” that the Agent McCall and his agents had. He doesn’t learn very much.

Scott focuses on investigating the still-missing children. He eventually finds his way to the point where Jimmy was ambushed in the sewer tunnels, but the hole in the wall that led to the sacrificial chamber appears to have been filled in with dirt. He digs for a while before giving up. It appears to be completely filled in.

Malthus focuses his attention on getting the club back to operational.

It’s business as usual for me. I reattached some ghoul’s arm and make some pocket money. There’s nothing significant to report. I’m sure I won’t be lucky enough to remain bored for very long.

Underground Security Report
Jan 1, 1985

Garfield-I-hate-Mondays.jpgYou know that shitty Garfield comic that’s been out for a few years now? That stupid cat who hates Mondays? I feel like that shitty fat orange cat. Doesn’t it figure that New Year’s Eve was on a Monday this year? And here I thought it just meant more whining posers puking on their United Colors of Benettons.

Yeah, my apologies to the cleaning crew, who have a bit more than puke to mop up.

In the end I blame Jimmy. (Levi too, I guess, but I usually blame Jimmy for these kinds of messes.) While I was having a boring night at work toting Marshall stacks and barricades, the two of them were playing Secret Agent Man with that FBI dude, Agent McCall. Crazy bastard Jimmy popped up in the middle of them all and the FBI all draws their weapons, like you’d expect. Johnny pulled the “Don’t you know who I am?” card. Turns out, he did. They bond over fond memories of cannibal mutants and swap a few notes about these chimera things you people were talking about, but the FBI still tells him to keep his dick out of this investigation. Jimmy waved his dick back at him, metaphorically. (Maybe even literally. The guy’s like that. Chief Talks With Mouth.)

Anyway they set out to leave and some sort of giant spider thing scurries through the shadows. (A corpse mender, they called it.) Jimmy and Levi take off down the maze-like sewer to try to catch the thing. The spider tries to duck through shadows and shake Jimmy, but it’s not quick enough. He discovers two more waiting to ambush him. Hah, right. I don’t think anybody can get the drop on Jimmy. They try to block off the trail with their webs.

Now, these things don’t just shoot spider silk. No, it’s more like they ejaculate them. Trust me, it’s gross. Remind the cleaning staff to use protein stain cleaner on the drapes in the ballroom. (Who am I kidding. With that much blood and ichor we’re gonna have to clean it with fire.)

Jimmy said he leapt onto the pipes above and performed an amazing roundhouse kick to the third spider, which hits the wall with a wet, fatal thud. The second spider charges and gets a similar foot to the face and expires. And with that, Levi finishes following the trail of sewer grime Jimmy left in his wake, rounds the corner and the spider flees yet again.

All this excitement and I’m stuck setting up some New Wave artfag’s Prophet T8. Somewhere in the middle of soundcheck (over that racket, no less) I hear noises in the back by the dumpster. It’s that neighborhood bum, I think he goes by Barry. (That might not be his real name.) He stopped routing around the in garbage and focuses on a manhole cover right behind the and says “they aren’t even giving them names anymore.” He’s really agitated and angry. “Can’t you hear the clattering? They’ll be silent soon.” Whatever they are, they’re down in the sewers. He eventually stops rocking and wanders off.

Odile has some great ideas on how to deal with Pan-Dimensional beings. Amazing, very clever and mystical ideas. She, Jason and Scott head out only to realize they have no idea how to do any of the stuff she just suggested. Scott headed to the police station to talk to Alison Stalinsky, some “dollface” (Hello, Dick Tracy speaking) in the Records department. Jason wisely avoided the police and went with Odile to her manse to get ritual books and research the Corpse Menders. (Pretty low-level demons; they’re not likely to be hard to summon, but hard to tell can’t tell what kind of being might be summoning them. They hop in her Fiat and meet up here at Underworld. “Charmingly Affordable” is how Odile describes this place. Next time I’ll make her pay the normal-people’s cover charge and see if her tune changes.

So Scott showed up at Allison’s desk with a donut and a condom. (Apparently Bob the police clerk handed him that along with his temporary badge.) Apparently Alison was expecting to be seduced, and Scott just kept being seductive no matter what he tried (that’s what you get for watching too much Miami Vice, Scott.) Clearly she wanted something cracked besides a case. Scott had to invoke the Missing Children card before she’d relent to pull up missing persons reports for the kids. (And all the guys at the station will never respect this poor woman again, if they ever did in the first place. That was pretty bogus of Scott to lead her on like that.) Anyway he figured out the missing kids were pairs of boys and girls, one birthday in each month, and each the pair of kids has the same date of birth. Zodiacal!

Meanwhile Crocket and Tubbs—I mean, Jimmy and Levi—had to climb through bloody, jizzy muck, into a hole in the sewer wall, an enormous old sewer chamber….with 23 children, their intestines stretched out of their bodies, in a spiderweb-like mesh. And a glowing red crystal, lined in runes. A coccoon, empty and dripping gore. About thirty spider things. Another cocoon being pulled out of the room towards the sewers. Nothing ominous or anything.

Levi was understandably horrified and almost fell forward into the muck. When the FBI folks finally catch up, Jimmy and McCall compared notes on how disgusting it was. (“Top five.” “Top three for me.”) Levi rigged up some cleats for their shoes with a knife and they launch at the cocoon. Jimmy knocks a web full of spiders to the ground. McCall and his men fire to try to make some cover. Clever Levi had rigged up a smoke bomb, which confused some of the spiders. A group feints at Levi from the front, distracting him; another group tries to get him from behind, but he barely manages to evade. Jimmy blasted a bunch of spiders and cleared a path to the exit, where two more spiders were waiting as guards. He killed both of them properly with a tomahawk chop. (With a proper tomahawk.) Levi escaped right behind them with the FBI still firing behind.

Exeunt, chased by chimera.

As they were running, they found a section of sewer that was older than sewers normally would be with a trail of blood leading to corroding pipes with veins pulsing in them. They said they felt like they were being watched…scrutinized. They followed the blood trail through a number of seemingly-identical chambers that gradually the walls got more and more…organic. Fleshy. Climbing up the ass of something really awful. Jimmy gets really freaked out by the breathing walls and ran headlong into the terrible and increasingly horrible tunnels…

And I just have increasingly horrible suburban kids trying to pass horrible fake IDs past me. The club was packed, and I was wrangling security guards and getting us special kids settled in a quiet room behind the bar, where they filled me in on the sitch. When Levi and Jimmy were late showing up, Scott called his office from the phone at the club. Ashleigh answered the phone and was not super helpful. I showed them the manhole cover where Barry was spazzing out and Scott suggests bringing the manhole cover with me for protection. I fold it into a taco with a smile.

Eventually our intrepid pair come out of the sewer maze to find a leathery egg—a cocoon, and whatever was inside it has hatched. The egg has split into four pieces and branched open. Claw marks lined the floor around it. A little black girl is disemboweled at its base. She looked like the lower half do her has been melted away with acid. Her expression is of sheer horror. They come up into a storeroom…MY storeroom.

Note: tell the cleaning people not to go into the basement storeroom, for their own sanity.

Donny looks great in a pair of jeans. She looked even better in that dress when she got back before midnight. She was holding court, all eyes on her just before midnight. Suddenly a woman screamed shrilly over the music, there was a shotgun blast, and then the entire club erupted into panic. Jimmy is truly the master of the subtle entrance. Donny escaped into another room and disappeared into the crowd. And a spider drops from the ceiling, grabbing a random guy in the club. Then the rest of the spiders which followed Jimmy and Levi started descending.

Thanks for bringing the party to me, guys.

Spiders get kicked, wetted with a beer gun…I realized that I recognize these things. I screamed just enough of their Real Name to get the spiders’ attention…yeah, fine, I’ll handle it. Donny has apparently chased some kind of creature—digitagrade legs, spikes, white, long tail, with an elongated maw, which is eviscerating two club goers on the stage. Grody, as the girls say. But then, holy shit, the best part! Donny throws fireballs at the thing, which turns on her. I knew I liked that girl for a reason, but shit, I didn’t know she could do that! Jason turned all the lights up in the club, blinding the spiders. The spiders bind a clump of patrons into a wall and corner me. I don’t know if they though I wouldn’t be hardcore enough, but I stepped on a few faces (sorry dudes) and only barely got scratched by the mob. I swung the manhole cover in an arc, crushing a few spidery brains into spattered messes. (While thinking to myself, great. I just know I’m going to be mopping this up myself later.) Levi again moistened room with beer (Maybe I’ll make him mop) which made it easier for me to Slip-n-Slide along and bash a couple.

Behind me I hear Jason say, “Never tried this before,” and suddenly seven of the spiders I’m facing slide across Levi’s beer into our walk-in cooler, and the door slams shut. The cleaning people know by now when I put a note on something that says “do not open this”…I mean it. We pay them well.

Scott shape-shifted into the form of the monster on stage, getting its attention, and then ninja vanishes under the stage. Odile had a horrible look on her face, like spacier than usual, like she was reliving some serious shit, but pushed on to the next room. Later she’d tell us the creature on stage was Nozep-porum, the Bringer of the End. Donny threw more fire at the thing, catching it off guard. Jimmy hit the creature with a flaming tomahawk catching it slightly aflame. Scott threw liquor from the bar at it, scorching it. It growled and spit a ball of acid at Jimmy’s face. Dark spears emanated from the shadows—Odile did some magical incantation or whatever and fell to the ground dramatically.Jimmy shook off the spray of acid and whirls around to land his hatchet in the thing’s head; and with that last Tomahawk Chip, a void of black nothingness emanated from the beast; runes form in a circle spiralling out, flashing brightly, shooting off in every direction. And a rune stops at every one of us supernaturals/heroes. That’s not ominous at all, no. But at last, the creature lay dead.

And now I have a nightclub to bring back to order. Happy new year—now go grab a mop.


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