10: TALK IS CHEAP
Arthur tests the movement of his arm as he looks over Pavel’s preparations for a trip to Reno.
“Map with gathering points outside town and exit strategies. Burner phones. And if the local Kindred know about the ghoul, we need something we can offer them for her.”
“What do we have?”
“... Nothing much. Information about what happened back home. I can compile a report...”
“That’s something. But... technically, she was a ghoul to the Circle, but I have no real claim on her.”
“She’s got to be in withdrawal by now. A rehab clinic might help, but probably not enough. So we can say we’re taking a threat to the Masquerade off their hands...”
Dr. Barrow enters.
“I just heard something interesting. Someone stole something from back home. It’s coming in tonight.”
Pavel considers this, and picks up one of the phones and takes it out of its box...
Valia puts them in touch with the courier. Dmitri is a Gangrel, a smuggler, and by all accounts a coward. He’s meeting a buyer at one of the car parks for the National Cemetery.
“We can’t really afford to make a counter-offer,” Arthur notes. “Best we can do is ask to take a look.”
Dmitri stands up from leaning against a car, which is idling, and checks his watch as Arthur and Pavel approach.
“I’m not due to meet my client for another twenty minutes. And you’re not her.”
“Can we talk?” Arthur asks, hands out to show they’re empty.
“I like talking. Talk is good. Talk is cheap.”
“We’re from Carson City. We got out the night it went dark.”
Dmitri looks at the woman in the driver’s seat of the car.
“According to the buyer, it was stolen from a university anthropology study three years ago... and they knew it was in that old house at the edge of town.”
“And who are they?”
“I don’t like to pry.”
“See, I love to pry.” Pavel half smiles.
“Why we’d like to take a look, before you hand it over.”
“What’s it worth?”
“We’ll figure something out.”
Dmitri flinches as Dr. Barrow steps out of the shade of a mausoleum. His driver grips the steering wheel a little tighter.
The doctor pulls on a pair of latex gloves and opens the case.
Inside is a clay tablet, marked with pictograms including the sun, or possibly the moon, people, large birds... possibly owls.
“Can I take pictures? Possibly a rubbing?”
Dmitri is still considering his answer when a 4X4 mounts the hill, heading straight for his.
His driver doesn’t need the warning. She guns the engine and reverses, the truck hits and mounts the kerb.
The muzzle of a submachine gun emerges from the passenger window, and starts shooting holes in Dmitri’s car.
Arthur moves to get in the way, raising his hands and shouting for attention.
The shooter obliges.
He staggers back as bullets rip into his gut.
Alice uses this chance to get away.
Dr. Barrow uses this chance to grab the tablet, transferring it to Pavel’s car. Henry starts it and roars off in the other direction.
Dmitri runs, heading for the cover of the tombstones.
Pavel leaps onto the 4X4’s windscreen, shoots it, and throws himself through it.
Then he sees who’s in the back seat.
Dmitri and Alice are guest players. A thief and a getaway driver suggested bringing in a physical clue. And for those following at home, yes, the owl symbolism is important.
A Dramatic Failure on Occult:
“Would you like a Beat?”
“Yes, I’d love a Beat.”
“Clearly the owl hiding means it’s about the sun.”
This also lead to a (shortish) proper action scene, with injuries and physical Disciplines and that kind of thing. And then Pavel getting into the 4X4 and finding out who was inside...
Arthur also got the first Humanity loss of the game, for jumping in front of a sub machinegun (using Majesty to make sure the shooter focused on him) and surviving it.