(20110923) September 23, 2011
After a week of travel via ship and air, a chartered plane touches down in Anchorage, carrying the Kindred Valtr Lanik and Otis Vostok (both returning home); as well as Pilar Mirada, her Progeny Dario Ledesma (and his man-Friday, Lorenzo), and ‘Carlos’.
Pilar cautions Dario that they aren’t coming to Anchorage to intrique, suborn, or conquer anything. Pilar is basically on extended vacation with Valtr, and wants to remain on good terms with the local Kindred. She encourages him to be a good guest, ‘help with the chores’, make himself useful… and of course show the effectiveness of the Invictus way of unlife…
The travelers are met by Nathan McKinney, Seneschal of Anchorage, who welcomes the new arrivals. He invites them to attend the upcoming monthly meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly.
Pilar and Dario are also greeted by ‘Balalaika’, a ghoul of Dino Delgado’s, inviting his fellow Invictus to come visit his home 4 nights hence. Aterwards, they disperse, Pilar proceeding with Valtr to his swanky downtown condo, and Dario going to set up temporary residence in a Hilton executive suite.
Otis is picked up by another Delgado-ghoul, Virtuous Jackson, who has “a bitch waiting in the Caddy” (a large Great Dane mongrel) for the starving Nosferatu.
Carlos, unmet , simply vanishes into the night.
After settling in at the Hilton, Dario asks the concierge to arrange for him the company of a young lady. Shortly thereafter ‘Dakota’ arrives The two share some intimate time in the shower, Dario feeds lightly from her and then erases her memory of that detail.
Otis meets with his Sire, Dino, at the latter’s mansion. Dino is disappointed (not for the first time, or the last) with Otis, who was supposed to be spending his time in Buenos Aires gathering intel on the local Kindred and criminal underworld, but instead insinuated himself into the local population of homeless street-dregs and pursued a largely one-sided (read: ’imaginary’) romance with a pretty nun. After the meeting, Otis prowls the streets and reacquaints himself with ‘his’ vagrant people, before retiring to his crypt-Haven in the Angelus Cemetery
Carlos walks to a self-storage facility near the airport, where he has pre-arranged for a small unit to serve as a temporary Haven. While checking in he meets the night-clerk Liona Arkady (an aero-engineering student), and Russell Jacobs (a gung-ho security guard)
Meanwhile at the University of Alaska campus, Dr. Skylar Rache (PhD) meets with Dr. Katherine Rawlins (PhD), her superior and professional mentor in the Physics Dept. The two discuss the newly-begun semester, Skylar’s teaching schedule (night classes and distance-learning), and Rawlins health problems. Later in the Biology building, Skylar helps her acquaintance Jamie (animal-lab tech) by volunteering to sac some rats for him (he is squeamish, and embarrassed by it). The Mekhet feeds.
(20110927) September 27, 2011
Pilar and Dario visit Dino’s mansion, which Pilar dismisses as a gauche display of “a ton of money, but not an ounce of taste or refinement.” It is largely a social visit, although Dino does offer to help Dario make some local business connections.
At the UoA campus, Skylar discovers (through her preternaturally keen senses) an assault victim while walking a secluded path in a wooded area. The young woman is choking to death from a crushed larynx, and Skylar performs an emergency tracheotomy and saves her life. The victim is also suffering from shallow cuts to the legs and hips, as her pants and underwear were hastily sliced off with a blade. There is evidence of sexual assault as well. Skylar uses her smart phone to summon EMTs and campus police, and gives her statement.
(20110929) September 29, 2011
Skylar learns that the assault victim’s name is Laura James, a freshman at UoA.
(20111001) October 1, 2011
The monthly meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly is held on the UoA campus, in a lecture hall in the Arts and Letters Bldng. Svoboda, the First Citizen (Prince) is late to arrive and enters in a foul temper, shedding Dread in her wake seemingly without notice. She explains that a body has been found floating in the campus duck-pond, apparently the victim of an assault similar to that of Sept 27.
Reining in her anger at this disruption of her territory, Svoboda formally welcomes and accepts the visiting South Americans as guests in the Domain, and introduces them to the Assembly. Skylar notices that her Sire, Preston Loeb, registers recognition of Carlos and great surprise at his presence.
In the subsequent socializing, Carlos introduces himself to Preston as both a fellow member of the Ordo Dracul, and as his older ‘brother’: he is also a Progeny of (long-destroyed) Diamanda Soledad. Carlos reveals that he has spent most the last 120-odd years wandering the Far East, and passed several long periods eclipsed in Torpor.
An important item on the meeting’s agenda is the formal release of Skylar from her Sire, and joining the Assembly as a full citizen. Svoboda (with apologies) elects to cut this ceremony short however, in order to end the meeting early and continue dealing with the apparent campus serial killer-rapist She asks for volunteers to help with this.
Dario and Carlos both begin prowling the campus, looking for suspicious characters or activity.
Skylar, playing on both her status as a faculty member and as the one who found the first victim, insinuates herself onto the CSI at the duck pond. She meets campus police officer Rick Benson, and Anchorage PD K9 officers Jim Cartwright and Sugarplum. From Sugarplum she learns that there were multiple attackers.
Otis hits’ the streets’ around the school, questioning the vagrants. No one has seen anything suspicious recently.
Carlos sniffs around where the victims were found, trying to play bloodhound and picked up scent-clues, but the trails are too cold for him.
Skylar visits the first victim, Laura James, in the hospital. She can’t talk yet, but responds to questions in writing. She tells Skylar there were three rapists, Two of them were very large/ burly men, and all three (although ski-masked) seemed to be dark and swarthy; perhaps Hispanic or Native.
Skylar, hungry, dresses up as ‘James’ (a teen boy alter-ego) and hunts the slums. She comes upon a chickenhawk/pimp roughing up another boy, Daryl. The pimp, ‘Fat Tony’, makes for a quick meal (Skylar leaves him alive, barely). Skylar gives Daryl several hundred dollars from Tony’s wallet, and the boy declares he is leaving Anchorage for Seattle. The two make a ‘date’ to meet at the Space Needle next July 4rth.
(20111002) October 2, 2011
Otis decides to also visit Laura James in the hospital, planning to use Cruac blood-magic to probe her memories about the attack. He sneaks in and steals a janitor’s coverall, but an alert security guard questions him about his lack of an employee ID badge. Otis tries to fast-talk the guard, fails utterly, and finally scares him into panicked flight with Nightmare. He makes his way up to the sixth floor, searching for Ms. James’ room, when the security guard catches up to him with several other guards in tow. Cornered and about to be swamed, Otis again calls upon Nightmare to briefly paralyze the guards with fear, and escapes via the quickest available route – he breaks a picture window with a chair and jumps out! Falling six stories to the welcoming pavement below, Otis rises and staggers away into the dark, leaving astonished security, hospital staff, and patients marveling at his miraculous vitality.
Having seen that the news has IDed the second victim as one Audrey Cornell, Skylar accesses the school’s computers and learns that both James and Cornell had a Native-American Studies class taught by Jerry Neria (M.A.) Also in that class were the Yessim twins, football players. All three are Native.
Otis, in need of blood to heal his broken bones, enters a 7-11 and waits until only the clerk and a single customer remain. He makes a grab for the customer, but cannot subdue him quickly enough: the man raises a ruckus and the clerk takes notice: Otis flees, unfed.
Meanwhile Dario, Carlos, Svoboda (with Nathan), and Pilar (with Valtr) patrol the campus.
Otis, waiting for a bus to take him to the campus, runs into Daryl, who he knows from the streets. Daryl, on his way to the Greyhound terminal, thanks Otis for all the help and support over the past several months. He gives Otis twenty dollars before the two part ways.
Skylar and Otis connect at her office. She takes him to Jaimie’s rat-lab), where luckily there is a bounty of rodent-red to heal the Nosferatu. (after securing Svoboda’s permission via phone). Otis attempts to thank her by passing along the twenty that Daryl gave him. Skylar smells both Daryl’s and her own scent on the bill, and a tense interlude takes place as Otis hastily explains his possession of the money to a suspicious and angry Skylar.
Dario spots the suspect twins with another young Native man at the Student Center and tails them. They vanish into a mews between 2 dorms. Dario phones Svoboda and Skylar, and waits. Skylar proceeds towards Dario’s location, and stations Otis atop a nearby building to ‘oversee’ the situation.
Two mildly intoxicated coeds enter the mews, the Trio strikes, and a fight breaks out. Skylar calls the twins out by name, and all three attempt to flee. One of the twins faces off against Carlos, who easily displays his superiority at fighting with his mad kung-fu skills: his opponent breaks away and flee with Carlos in pursuit. The other twin is blocked from escaping by Skylar, who evades his clumsy attacks with her inhuman speed, but is unable to grapple the much stronger man with her judo. Dario faces the unknown third man, and takes several hard karate kicks to his body without severe damage due to his unnatural toughness. Eventually the Ventrue captures his man’s gaze and mesmerizes him: making him kneel and begin counting to 1,000. Noting Otis’s arrival, Skylar lets her man get past her so that she can succor the victims: one unconscious and one hysterical. Otis subdues the fleeing twin with fear. Other Kindred converge on the scene, with Svoboda and Nathan arriving to take over and Pilar, Valtr arriving along with Carlos and the now unconscious twin. The Ventrue present mess with the victim’s and perps ‘ memories to obscure the truth. Everyone excepts Skylar leaves the area. She calls the cops and spins them a tale of seeing mysterious ‘vigilantes’ recuing the girls and then vanishing (not far from the truth, minus the vampire bits…).
Otis confesses to Svoboda about his indiscretion at the hospital earlier. She seems strongly reproving, but not angry.
(20111003) October 3, 2011
The news media reports on the capture of the campus killers/rapists. The previously unidentified man is Bernard Tonrar, a junior at UofA. He, like the Yessim twins, are all from Barrow, AK. Tonrar’s father is the Chief of Police in Barrow, so a minor scandal ensues. To her chagrin, Skylar is mentioned by name in some of the coverage, because of her being the one who both found the first victim and then also stumbling on the scene of the vigilante attack.
The media is also reporting on the mysterious intruder at the hospital. A fair police-sketch of Otis is presented.
Skylar begins a research/invention process: hoping to develop a biodegradable film substance useful for sculpture, packing tape, etc.
At a park near his Haven, Otis is confronted by an angry Josiah brandishing a copy of the day’s newspaper. He furiously upbraids Otis for his carelessness and breach of the Masquerade…. then stakes the Nosferatu with a wooden knife!
(20111004 thru 20111107) Interlude
Preston host a gathering of the Mekhet at his home (Oct 6). Preston, Carlos, and Bronze John spend most of the evening reminiscing about Diamanda. Preston displays his life-size oil portrait of his (nude) Sire, and also some sketchbooks full of her own works (including sketches of a sleeping Carlos). Skylar hangs on every detail, thinking she may need to pose as Diamanda’s childe someday.
Carlos notices and advertisement for a local kung-fu school, and the sifu, Kurt Wong, bears an uncanny resemblance to a fighter he knew back in China c.1900. He begins taking classes there. Wong-sifu shows no signs of being Kindred, and registers no recognition of Carlos. Carlos also meet Wong’s lovely daughter, Ling Mei. Carlos also asks Virginia Dubert, Preston’s ghoul, to get him a good mechanic’s toolbox, and begins seeking ‘gigs’ repairing boat engines.
Dario set his cousin Lorenzo to finding a suitable Haven in Anchorage. Meanwhile he devotes himself (with Dino’s help)to expanding his circle of local business contacts and exploring different investment opportunities. Two options vie for his attention: building an ‘ice hotel’ in nearby Raven Glacier (near Girdwood), or purchasing an under-performing molybdenum mine on Sheep Mountain (75 miles NE of Anchorage. Dario prudently decides to cleave to what he knows best, and begins the process of buying the mine. During this time, Dakota and Dario continue to ‘date’ occasionally, the young woman even arriving several times to make herself available without being summoned. Also, Dario and Pilar attend (courtesy of Dino again) a swanky Halloween Ball at the Mayor’s residence and mingle with Alaskan high-society. Dario sees Pilar using her preternatural wiles on Senator Mark Begich (D-AK).
Skylar meets the new tenant in her apartment-house: Ken Tucker. After helping him tote a sofa and other furniture upstairs, the two share a coffee date. He and his brother Karl (both mechanical engineers) have just moved to Anchorage. Each will be working the oil-fields at Prudhoe Bay on alternate months while the other has the month off in Anchorage. Ken also works part-time as an artist/illustrator. Also, Skylar begins attending Midnight Mass at Fiona Danaher’s chapel, and asking questions about the doctrine and practices of the Church Of Longinus. Also, Skylar continues her bio-film project (accumulating 2 success on Science+Int).
The murderous rapist Trio are arraigned, released on bail, expelled from UofA, and return home to Barrow to await trial on multiple counts of rape, attempted murder, and murder.
Strangely, no one has seen Otis in quite a while….
(20111104) November 4, 2011
Otis awakens in Dino’s basement, locked in a cell along with a mortal head-bagged and bound to a chair. Through the locked door, Dino urges Otis to slake his thirst on the man, who Dino describes as “a rat what has it coming.” Starving, Otis complies. He masters his rising Wassail, but coldly elects to drain the man to death as Dino has said that he will be killed anyway… (Otis loses a dot of Humanity.) Calm and well-fed, Otis is released from lockup, and Dino tells him about his month-long ‘nap’: the Sheriff’s punishment for Otis’s hospital stunt. The Sheriff wants to meet with Otis later that night at the park where he was staked: to return one of Otis’s possessions. Taking a (brief) inventory, Otis discovers his prized dog-femur (holy relic of Banatur!) is missing! Meeting with the Sheriff, Otis acts very submissive and cowed even when Josiah offers to ‘take off the badge’ and give the Nosferatu a chance to vent and get some payback with a friendly little fistfight off-the-record. Disgusted, Josiah tells Otis “Eternity is a mighty long time. Why spend it as a low-down wigglin’ little worm?” Otis scuttles off into the night, clutching his magic bone.
(20111107) November 7, 2011
Otis, having heard that Muriel Chang wants to see him at The Dark, goes to the nightclub. There he finds Dario socializing with the Daeva. She tells the two of them about a strange woman who has been visiting the club occasionally for the last several months. She always goes off with a different guy, and the guys turns up later ’a few quarts low’. The woman shows up on video normally, and doesn’t register as Kindred to Muriel’s senses.She speculates that the woman is a human thrall (perhaps a ghoul) and that some strange Kindred interloper is using her to lure prey while he hides… a poacher. Having heard that Otis is good at finding things out, Muriel wants him to look into the situation and report what he finds. Dario, apparently bored and looking for something to do, agrees to help as well. Studying the club’s surveillance videos, they look at a selection of the woman’s ‘dates’ and find that one of them (Curtis Jones, a UofA undergrad) is in the club that evening. They follow when he leaves, find him drunkenly waiting on a cab, and lure him into the park across the street from the club. Otis invokes Cruac and feeds lightly from Jones, drinking his memories along with the blood. He sees the woman – ‘Dee’—and gets hazy flashes of the two going to her place and coupling before Jones passed out. Dario erases Jones’ memories of meeting he and Otis, then bundle him into a cab and send him back to school.
20111108 November 8, 2011
Otis, thinking that Dee might also be a student, goes to seek out Sklylar at her office. Along the way he encounters Carlos. The two agree to help Otis, Skylar on condition that she be present when Otis reports his findings to Muriel. The three pore over the online school records, finding Curtis Jones amongst the current students, but no trace of Dee. Reasoning that (if a ghoul) Dee might be older than her appearance suggests, they decide to check the paper yearbooks at the school library (online yearbooks only going back 10 years). Skylar dissuades Otis from breaking into the library that very night, and they agree to meet the next evening. Carlos and Skylar go together to be all ‘feral and predatory’ in the Chugach National Park, feeding on the animals they catch.
20111109 November 9, 2011
Otis, Skylar, and Carlos reconvene in the Reference stacks, and begin poring over the yearbooks with no success. Otis creeps out the students and librarians.
After a few hours, they decide to go to the Dark in hopes of picking up Dee’s trail there: Carlos will be ‘the bait’. Skylar goes home, gets some dressy clothes for Carlos to wear, and meets up with the other two at the club’s parking lot, where Carlos changes in the back of Skylar’s SUV.
Entering the club through the rear service entrance, the three met with and update Muriel (who is a little dismayed that Otis has involved so many others in this affair). Carlos and Skylar go to ‘work the crowd’ and hunt for Dee. Muriel tells Otis firmly that he is not allowed anywhere the patrons can see him, so he stays and watches cameras in the security room. Dario shows up and is recruited into the plan.
Luck is with the hunters… somewhat: they find Dee but she has already latched onto a young man. Watching from a distance, not interfering, they allow Dee and her quarry to leave unmolested, then follow in Skylar’s SUV.
They tail her to a run-down apartment building in a ‘working poor’ neighbourhood. Watching her vanish into the building, Skylar follows and tracks her and her date by scent to an upper-floor unit (she smells a chemical odor in the traces of the man’s breath).
Regrouping at the car, a plan evolves. Carlos enters the lobby and pulls the fire alarm. He, Dario, and Skylar spread out to watch all the exits, while Otis sneaks into the building in the confusion while all the residents are streaming out. The watchers outside see Dee gather in the parking lots with everyone else, dressed in bathrobe and clutching a large gym-bag VERY closely. Eventually many of the residents (Dee included) retreat to the warmth and shelter of their cars as it begins to snow.
Meanwhile, Otis finds an enters Dee’s apartment, and finds the young man alive but passed out on the bed. He is naked with a needle in inner thigh and a clipped-off length of rubber tubing. Otis, hungry, decides to have ‘just a little bit’ but begins to lose control. He decides to feed on an approaching fireman to appease the Beast. Skylar, having had a bad feeling, discovers Otis and talks him down and into leaving peacefully.
Once the firemen arrive, Dee takes off in her car. The SUV of bloodsucking fiends follows her to a Motel 6 just outside the city. After she checks in, Carlos and Otis sneak up to her door and try to eavesdrop, but discover nothing useful. Skylar and Dario question the night clerk and discover that Dee’s last name is Palmer. They burgle her car, and find some baby-things. A horrible suspicion begins to grow….
Continuing the stake-out, the hunters do some smart-phone Google research. Finding some old newspaper articles, they begin to piece together a sketch of Dee Palmer. 23 years old, she was popular and married her high school sweetheart in 2008. She was widowed in Feb of 2010 when her husband was in a car wreck on the way to attend the birth of their first and only child: Jared.
Time passes, and soon dawn is not far off. Dario calls Lorenzo out in their rental car to take up watch, and the vampires return to the city, give a very brief report to Muriel at the Dark, and disperse to their daylight Havens.