Friday, 16 October 2020

Vampire the Masquerade V5 - Session Seventy Five - The MacNeil Protocols (Part Ten)

I'm currently running a Vampire the Masquerade chronicle using the 5th Edition rule-set for a small group of fellow role-players. These are the chronicles of their adventures.
Our chronicle is set in Los Angeles and features a small group of Camarilla agents sent into the 'Free States' to bring them back under Camarilla control. After a year of plotting, the coterie now controls the three North-Eastern Baronies and has successfully weakened several others. Unfortunately other Barons have used the chaos they have created to consolidate their own positions.
The now obligatory warning bit - Unlike my other RPG write-ups this one will contain swearing, sexual references and other references that might offend. If you can't tell the difference between real peoples opinions and grown-ups role-playing predators who crave blood then this probably won't be for you. I've also used actual photographs to represent some characters which I'll give acknowledgements to at the end if I've any idea who they are.
The introduction to this campaign, the first story and all the other parts can be found at the following links and are in chronological order. If you'd prefer a summary of each session rather than read everything then there's a more detailed link page HERE as well as links to the first episode of each story in the blog sidebar.
Chronicle One - 'Infiltrate L.A.' 
Welcome to L.A. - Introductory Session
Story One - 'Three Murders' - Part OneTwo, ThreeFour and Five
Interlude Session - One
Story Two - 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part OneTwoThree, and Four
Solo Session - 'The Neillson Library'
Story Two Continued- 'The Pasadena Problem' - Part FiveSixSeven and Eight
Story Three - 'Becoming Baron' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Solo Session - 'The Gather'
Story Three Continued - 'Becoming Baron' - Part SixSeven and Eight
Chronicle Two - 'Foothold L.A.' 
Solo Session - 'Hostile Takeover'
Story Four - 'Countdown' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Five - 'The Missing Chantry' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Solo Session - 'The Anaheim Assassination'
Story Six - 'A Meeting of Barons' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Seven - 'The Carmelita Situation' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Eight - 'The Blount Sisters' - Part One and Two
Story Nine - 'Blood Money' - Part OneTwoThreeFour, Five and Six
Story Ten - 'Anathema' - Part One and Two
Story Eleven - 'Predators and Prey' aka 'The Blount Sisters' - Part Three
Story Twelve - 'Aftermath' - Part One and Two
Story Thirteen - 'The Messiah Complex' - Part OneTwoThree and Four
Chronicle Three - 'Incursion L.A.'
Story Fourteen - 'The Rant'
Story Fifteen - 'Ties of Blood' - Part One and Two
Solo Session - 'A Gathering of Roses'
Story Sixteen - 'The Southern Solution' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Seventeen - 'The Baker Disappearance' - Part OneTwo and Three
Story Eighteen - 'Inevitable Betrayals' - Part OneTwoThreeFour and Five
Story Nineteen - 'The Marius Contracts' - Part One and Two
Story Twenty - 'The MacNeil Protocols' - Part OneTwoThreeFourFive
Story Twenty - 'The MacNeil Protocols' -Part SixSeven, Eight and Nine

The PC's
Michael Tomassio - Toreador, 'Baron of the North East'
Vincent 'Vin' Ghast - Brujah, 'Constable'
Dr Daniel Matthews - Banu Haqim, 'Fixer'
Hope Romero - Gangrel, 'Census Taker'
Mr Hertz - Nosferatu, 'Seneschal'

The player characters stats and backgrounds can be found HERE should any-one be interested, but be warned that the page is usually several stories ahead of the most recent write-up and may contain some spoilers. There's also some minor 'house-rules' HERE that have occurred as we went along.

As I have written out introductions and dialogue for certain NPC's and some location descriptions I'll post these more or less as I wrote them so they'll be in a 'reading to the group' style and they'll also be in blue so you can tell them apart from the more traditional write-up sections and occasionally an obscure Premonition will turn up in purple. If I think something needs a bit of out of character explanation then those will get a storytellers note that will helpfully be in red. Anything covered via player handouts will also be in blue as they're written in the same style as introductions and the like. Where particular NPC's have a mention in a faction profile you will be able to reach it by clicking on their name or faction beneath their picture.

The Gangrel guide 'Crow' has successfully helped the coterie infiltrate the territory of the werewolves and from there, locate the computer system of Jeremy MacNeil. This system was one of the tools he used to control Los Angeles as it was tied into every police district in the city. They have found the system still partially operational though before they can explore it's potential they are interrupted.

Garou of the Bone Gnawer Tribe

Garou of the Bone Gnawer Tribe have instructed them in no uncertain terms to leave the area, as it seems that the coterie have found themselves in the middle of a werewolf civil war of epic proportions.

Scene Forty One - Strategic Withdrawal
Jan, Death-From-Below
Tribal Leader of the Bone Gnawers
The security doors to the system were hastily but thoroughly locked as the Bone Gnawers engaged an unseen foe down a unnaturally dark side passage. The sounds of howling and the clashing of weapons echoed back down to them as the coterie hastily withdrew back the way they had came.

"Fortunately I've dealt with them before..." yelled Crow as they retreated from the battle behind them. "...they were far too busy to waste their time on us, fortunately..."

Those with supernatural senses could now hear the sound of howling and the tearing of flesh from ahead as well as behind. Vin swapped the conventional drum of shells from his Fostech shotgun and slammed in the magazine of solid silver slugs he'd obtained from Mr Hertz. The rest of the coterie had weapons drawn and even Michael had a revolver in his hand. "What the fuck now?" asked Hope as the coterie instinctively formed a half-circle around their baron.

"They won't see us immediately..." interrupted Crow. " abilities will work on them, more or less, but we wont take long to find what with the only two exits being full of werewolves...

Daniel remembered there being a grate in the floor of one of the side rooms beneath a pile of broken chairs. He didn't consider it previously as it wasn't much wider than a person. Now however it seems like it might be worth a second look. 

Sewer Entrance
Vin hurled the chairs and tables aside and then ripped the grate from it's mounting as the lock on it had long ago corroded beyond the ability to use. There was a narrow tunnel underneath the grate that seemed to head deeper into Griffiths Park. It was possibly an old drain or something very similar. As the coterie contemplated it's practicality as an escape route, the noises behind them become significantly louder.

Crow shrugs "I'll go ahead. If you see a giant man-wolf eating a tiny cat then this was a terrible idea..." She then transforms into a relatively large black feline and disappears down the narrow passageway.

Having little choice, one by one, the coterie followed her.

The passageway is just about spacious enough to crawl down, but not particularly quickly. However given that the noises from behind you are beginning to fade, the relatively cramped space at least seems to be too small for your pursuers to navigate. 

Sewer Tunnel
Eventually you reach another access grill that has been removed. Crow reaches down and gives you a hand up. She has a surprisingly strong grip for one of her size. "
On the bright side we're now a long way from the battleground that your destination had become. On the downside that means we're now several miles further into werewolf territory, in the middle of a mountain range. I wander if it's too late to accept that job offer of Marius's?"

You are at least in a cave of some description so have cover for now...

"I'm open to suggestions." Said Michael, surprisingly calm considering the situation.

Crow reached into her pocket and pulled out a phone. "No signal here, but the observatory has wi-fi if we can get there. Then I guess we decide who we owe a life boon to...if anyone is willing to take the risk of coming to our aid...or we can head for the border of their turf and hope we get there first...and they don't follow us out anyway..."

Both Michael's empathy and Daniel's ability to detect a lie indicated that her concern for them all seemed genuine. She seemed to consider that despite the unforeseen problems that her job was still to get everyone out as well as in. They still checked their own phones but she was quite correct. There was no signal at all where they were.

As Michael's contingency plans mainly revolved around the actual ability to communicate with his contacts he elected to head for the Observatory. He had no reason to doubt Crow's claim that it had Wi-Fi but it was also slightly closer. As Daniel also pointed out, it was probably a more defensible structure than anything else they'd find nearby.

With the plan decided upon, the coterie and their guide moved out.

Scene Forty Two - Prey
Animalism - Animal Domination
Hope offered to transform into her raven form and scout ahead, though Michael was reluctant to split the group. Lone werewolves had been known to destroy whole coteries of vampires and though his own people were armed with silver and considerably more powerful than the average kindred, he had no desire to push his luck. Then Crow offered an alternative solution. "I can use my powers over the creatures of the air to keep watch for us if you wish? It would at least keep you all close to one another should we be assaulted..."

Michael could tell that Crow was considering her own safety as much as theirs, but the plan was sound regardless of the reasoning. "That would be most helpful." Michael replied. Relying completely on others was something he avoided but as he was more or less blind in this darkness he had little choice but to allow the others abilities to help them navigate through the night.

'Crow' - Gangrel Guide
Hope's focus had always been more on the physical disciplines than those that allowed influence over animals. She had some basic talents in that area but nothing near the powers that Crow was exhibiting. She also noticed that Crow was more subtle than Lola of The Wilds Pack, the only other practitioner of this level of ability that she knew of. Lola's reliance on larger birds of prey, though more useful offensively, was somewhat obvious to the casual observer. Crow's reliance on smaller, more common creatures, drew far less attention and was far more natural. 

Periodically, creatures would fly down and land on her shoulder or hand as if reporting in. Sometimes she would stop as if in a trance as she looked through the creatures own eyes. Each time she would correct their course slightly to avoid dangers of which only she was aware.

Vin had his machete in one hand and his shotgun in the other. He was more than capable of using either weapon one handed as he had almost inhuman physical strength, even before enhancing himself supernaturally. Though his plan was to empty the shotguns magazine into the first werewolf they encountered, then switch to using his machete two-handed should they be assaulted. He could see that Hope was, as always, itching for a chance to prove herself. He hoped that her impulses didn't get them all destroyed. He nodded at her as they moved, both their eyes glowing a dull red as he used the ability to see clearly in the total darkness that she had taught him over a year ago.

Werewolf in Hispo Form - Stalking Prey
You can see the silhouette of a wolf some distance to your right, far too large to be a normal example of it's kind. You are undoubtedly being stalked, or perhaps it is merely a scout?

"If there's one, then there will be others." stated Hope. "You can tell from the way it's moving that it's not alone." Daniel's preternatural senses were already at their most sensitive as he looked and listened for any sign that there were other enemies nearby. A faint rustling nearby caught his attention and he aimed his pistol in it's direction.

A creature bursts out of the undergrowth nearby, apparently lying in wait. Despite it's fearsome aspect it is a pathetic example of it's kind. It's fur is ragged and patchy and it's limbs are atrophied on it's left side. The claws on it's right arm are however still razor sharp and glitter in the moonlight as it towers over you. 

Daniel put one of his silver bullets through it's left eye, taking the side of it's head off in an explosion of skull fragments, and bits of brain. 

Werewolf - Ambush
To the Banu Haqim's surprise it kept on coming, despite the crippling injury. Hope yelled at the others to run as she hurled herself at the charging monster. Her claws tore into it's chest and neck but the wounds began to knit back together as soon as she made them. It grabbed her around the throat with it's good arm and began to squeeze.

Ignoring her plea to make his escape, Vin swung his shotgun out of the way and gripped his machete with both hands. Driving downwards with supernaturally enhanced strength he cleaved through the limb, freeing Hope temporarily from danger. "I thought I told you to fuck off..." shouted Hope as she dived onto the one-armed werewolf and drove her claws into it's throat, twisting and tearing as she did so. It's skull and a chunk of spine came free and she triumphantly ripped off it's head. With a huge effort of willpower she resisted the urge to drink it's blood, having no idea what the effects might be.

Werewolves - In Pursuit
"You keeping that?" asked Vin, indicating the creatures skull, still clutched in Hope's hand. "I think I will." replied Hope, strangely pleased with herself despite the danger they were still in. "Well I guess we know what a 'Metis' looks like now." Commented Daniel as they quickly moved once more towards the observatory.

The delay caused by the Metis's assault has delayed you enough for your pursuers to close the distance somewhat and you can hear faint howls and incoherent screams behind you. The nearest shelter is still ten minutes away, even at a run.

Moving as fast as they could it was still obvious that Michael lacked the speed and stamina of the rest of them. Hope and Vin were almost carrying him and still their pursuers were gaining on them. "You carry him, I'll lag back and make you some time if they get too close..." said Hope. Vin was once more reluctant to leave a comrade behind but both he and Daniel could see that it was probably going to be necessary.

"There's a parking lot closer, than the observatory..." yelled Crow. ".. it might have a facility building we can hold up in. We'll pass within a hundred yards of it anyway...

Scene Forty Three - The Bait in the Trap
Griffith Observatory - Carpark
There seems to be a lot of activity in a parking area ahead of you. A dozen vehicles are there as well as movement indicating people there too. A howl from behind you seems to trigger a cacophony of noise as you hear answering cries from either side of you. You have only seconds to make a decision.

Really having nothing to lose at this point, they headed towards the activity.

As you get closer you can clearly see several heavy duty off road vehicles and a number of SUV's of the kind favoured by Marius and Fortier. Dozens of armed and armoured men are also present. Quite out of place just behind them are an eclectic group of quite ordinarily dressed men and women. Though some are armed with bladed weapons, they lack the uniformity of the military style personnel you first observed. A mere couple are kindred you recognise, the rest you have never seen before.

A figure you clearly identify as Marius emerges from one of the larger vehicles. You hear him enunciate four words, very loudly. "Hurry, The, Fuck, Up..."

Armoured Vehicle Minigun
With a final burst of speed the coterie rushed towards the force ahead. Crow slipped into feline form once more and zig-zagged between legs to a place of safety at the rear. The others risked a look back as they reached the apparent safety of Marius's ambush. The enemies behind them were too numerous to count.

As soon as you are out of their line of sight, the entire force opens fire. Thousands of rounds begin to tear into the massed ranks of Garou that were nearly upon you. Vehicle mounted weapons strafe the werewolves as the individual soldiers are more selective with their targets. An unknown sniper is putting high calibre rounds through hearts and heads with near supernatural accuracy. Even against this mass of firepower, some of the creatures are still moving towards you as a number of gunmen switch to shotguns at close range. 

Yukio - Ghoul of Marius
Leading her Security Teams
Despite this, some still seem unstoppable and tear into the surprisingly brave troops. These men are then pushed roughly aside as the ragtag groups held in reserve change into their own war forms and fall upon their numerically diminished ancestral enemies. Others like these fall on them from the sides and the rear. 

You have apparently arrived in the middle of a considerable reckoning between the tribes. The less indiscriminate of the security teams weapons fall silent as do the shotguns. You hear Yukio restoring order, forming the teams back into a coherent firing line and admonishing any who have failed to reload.

Yukio tossed a P90 to Daniel as Vin picked up a shotgun from the dismembered corpse of one who had fell before the other werewolves had joined the battle. The survivors of the first assault are firing far less indiscriminately, now there are Garou other than those deemed enemies amongst the melee.

Daniel's shooting was preternaturally accurate as he threaded shots between masses of bodies to make near impossible headshots. Those he hit were swallowed up in the whirling combat so he couldn't be sure if they were kill-shots or not.

Marius Walker - Gangrel
Hybrid Warform
Those who called themselves the Black Spiral Dancers were easy to identify. Many of them were malformed, either through some accident of birth or close proximity to the corrupting influences beneath the ground of Griffith Park. The heads of their Crinos forms were often huge and slaver-jawed, resembling a hyena's more than that of a wolf, while their ears were frequently hairless and pointed like a bat's. Their huge round eyes glowed with red or green luminescence, while their fur was patchy and coloured in unnatural shades like albino-white, grayish-green, or jet-black.

Marius moves forward, increasing in size as he does so and within seconds resembles a huge humanoid bat, with foot long claws and layers of spiked and bony armour plates. 'The Circle' similarly transformed but lacking the armoured protection harass and distract Marius's targets, relying on hit and run tactics but acting perfectly in concert with one another.

'Mary' has also joined the fray, claws extended and quite naked, she lurks behind her sire, only emerging to make crippling strikes to limbs. Infliction of pain seems more important to her than killing blows. Fortunately her younger siblings and Marius appear to have no such compunctions against inflicting death upon their foes.

It was obvious that even combined, the other three tribes barely outnumbered what were presumably the Black Spiral Dancers. Judging from the corpses, it looked like much of Marius's forces were utilising silver in their guns as they showed few signs of regeneration around their wounds.

Black Spiral Dancers
Hope had joined the melee too. Initially she had attempted to aid Marius but it was clear that with his grandechilder at his back he required no aid. She instead joined 'Mary', picking off the wounded and reinforcing the tribes on their side when she could. 

This second time, Hope failed to resist the urge to taste the werewolf blood. She found it surprisingly filling and rich, though it also ate away at her already limited self control making frenzy far harder for her to resist.

A confused handful of the raging enemies, fall back, some sense of self preservation apparently still remaining. The ground beneath one group opens up as a nine foot tall humanoid arachnid almost casually decapitates the closest of the Black Spiral Dancers with a poison dripping claw, the rest are surrounded by spiders of unnatural size that swarm all over them. The pursuing Garou of the other tribes pause as a creature from their legends obliterates his prey, before draining them dry. As the last one is reduced to a skeleton in a sack of skin he begins to laugh in a surprisingly human albeit somewhat manic manner. He then begins to collect the skulls of those he destroyed. None of the warily observing Garou interfere. Instead the majority disperse into the wilderness, presumably to hunt down what is left of the corrupted werewolves.

Barely five minutes has passed since you arrived on the scene...

"If you need to feed, go ahead." said Yukio, addressing Vin and Daniel while gesturing at some of the dead amongst her teams. "They're past caring..." Daniel did so then moved to use his medical training to help those merely wounded. As he observed the survivors he could see that their eyes were dilated and their skin clammy. Whatever combination of drugs they had been given had removed their fear, their sense of self preservation and greatly increased their pain thresholds. Daniel also suspected that Leanna had tampered with their minds. Daniel wasn't sure whether he approved or not but he certainly understood the necessity.

He also observed a slim, white haired woman, dressed all in black, carrying a custom, high powered sniper rifle. He had previously seen her on two separate occasions. Once sitting casually in the rafters at the last of the cities 'Rants' and once after the destruction of the Second Inquisitions base in Hollywood. 

His professional knowledge of mercenaries both mortal and kindred led him to believe that she was Emmanuella Booth, sometimes known as 'The Pale Lady' and considered second only to Fatima Al-Faqadi as one of the foremost assassins amongst kindred.

A still transformed Marius approaches, his grandechilder 'the Circle' lurk behind, heads lowered as if in deference to Marius. His childe Mary is speaking to an Amazonian looking woman that minutes before had been a raging werewolf, with black and white fur. 

Anisa, 'Her-Claws-Always-Wet'
Black Furies Tribal Leader
Noticing you observing Mary, Marius speaks. "The leader of the Black Furies is fanatically matriarchal, Mary is a far better choice to speak with her than I. We have arranged to meet at the observatory, that is I, and the leaders of the Bone Gnawers and Glass Walkers have agreed to meet should our joint operation be a success."

"The leader of the Furies is busying herself claiming the caern of the Black Spiral dancers and hunting down any survivors of that tribe. That is the Garou's business now, Our part has been played and remember they're no fonder of us now than they were before..." Marius then walks on, apparently presuming that you intend to follow. Crow appears from nowhere, smiles and drops in alongside you. "I'm still getting paid for this, right?"

"Most definitely." replied Michael, handing Crow the envelope with the rest of her payment within. "I'll have another twenty-five bonus for you when I get back too. You've earned it, and then some. Also, If in the future you happen to find yourself needing a reference then I'll be happy to give one to you if you're still reconsidering Marius's job offer?" He said this with a smile. As Crow gave no answer, Michael presumed it had been a throwaway comment and her desire for independence still stood firm.

"I imagine you and your people have questions?.." interrupted Marius. "..and yes, Miss Crow the job offer is still open, should you ever change your mind..."

Scene Forty Four - Explanations
'Zipper' - Caitiff
"So what triggered a Garou civil war then?" asked Michael, quite understandably. "...I can't imagine it was my coteries fault?"

"No." replied Marius. "It actually began with an overzealous kindred hacker and his pushy girlfriend." Daniel smiled inwardly as his suspicions about Zipper's involvement was almost certainly about to be confirmed. Marius then began.

"'Zipper' accidentally hacked into an extensive central database belonging to Pentex and after deciphering some of it, then sold the information to the Bone Gnawers though at the time had no idea what they were. Just that they were a terrorist group targeting the company. Once he realised what he was dealing with he was in far too deep to get out. He tried to serve his own needs while at the same time keeping them happy, like when he shut down the security at NikNak computing for them. While they destroyed the place he downloaded information on MacNeils system. He already had some small measure of access but wanted more..."

"Being smart, in many ways supernaturally so, Pentex's investigative wing quickly realised there was a pattern, Pentex's First Teams then contacted the Griffiths Park Black Spiral Dancers and tasked them with locating whatever this 'Zipper' was looking for and intercepting them and removing the problem. of course by then you were neck deep in the situation too..."

Alonzo Guillen - Autarkis Nosferatu
Friend of Daniel
Michael was convinced that there was more to it than this but decided to keep his suspicions to himself. Calling out Marius on his explanation seemed unwise with so many of his childer and grandechilder close by.

Daniel also had doubts. His own concern was that someone had discovered his use of Alonzo as an information source and had used that to feed the system rumours to him, knowing that his Nosferatu friend would pass them onto him. He trusted Alonzo entirely, but the elders apolitical nature could theoretically make him fairly easy to manipulate.

Confirming their suspicions that Marius was being deliberately vague he summarised the rest of his explanation considerably.

"To cut a long story short we set a trap. Information was leaked that indicated that MacNeil's system was far more useful than it actually was and that all the tribes were searching for it. The corrupted ones couldn't resist a chance to wipe out all their ancestral enemies in one foul swoop. They however were the ones walking into a trap, not setting one as they expected..."

"That's a lot of planning in a very short period of time." stated Vin, who clearly also had his doubts.

A 'Charitable' Donation
"I've had to buy shares in two fucking silver mines, a refinery and throw several million dollars in charitable donations at the city mayor, as well as build him a fucking house at less than cost price so as to avoid too many questions been asked about what I needed areas of the park cordoned off, yes, a lot of planning. Timescales are however, easily compressible if you're willing to throw enough money at the problems...

It was becoming more and more obvious that Marius had zero intentions of revealing the scope of this plan. If they wished to know, then they'd have to investigate themselves.

"...anyway we're about to meet the elders of two of the tribe who now owe me a large number of considerations. Before we get into it with them, I imagine there's things you'd like also me to insert into the negotiations on your behalf, as we're allies now...and yes, I used you again...and no, I wont be apologising..."

Jeremy MacNeils 'System' - Below Griffith Park

"I wouldn't have expected one anyway..." replied Michael. "...and after all, we did find what we were looking for, in spite of the complications, so the system itself is some compensation." The Toreadors subtle hint about the coteries claiming of the system for themselves was ignored. He wasn't sure whether that  counted as an agreement from Marius or not. 

Yukio's Security Teams
Perhaps he'd find out at their upcoming meeting. Michael then changed the subject to the cost in lives, rather than the monetary considerations.

"Yukio lost fifteen men and women before the Garou stepped in with their counterattack, and has about another ten that will probably never see the dawn." He then nodded at Daniel. "Thanks to the doctors timely assistance, many more will survive than I was expecting. So it could have been worse." From Marius's tone it was obvious to all present that he considered Yukio's mortal troops to be useful but ultimately expendable. His only consideration of the losses seemed to be based on the effort required to replace them. 

"The three Tribes we fought alongside have lost approximately a third of their number. Without our assistance the best they could hope for would have been mutual annihilation. They replenish their numbers slower than their enemy so total destruction of their foe was the only acceptable result."

Scene Forty Five - Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory at Night
The observatory, though normally closed at this time of night is currently guarded by a handful of men and women. They don't look like Marius's so presumably are kinfolk of the Garou or Garou themselves. Marius and his sweepers revert to their humanoid forms in sight of these guards, presumably to ensure that there is no mistake about who exactly is approaching.
 However, they make no effort to clean the blood from their claws and fangs.

You are then escorted in silence to the main observatory room where a table and chairs has been set up. An elderly but still powerfully built man is seated at the head of the table, a few seats down is the woman you first saw outside the burning remains of NikNak Computing and more recently leading her fellow Bone Gnawers into the darkness near to MacNeils system. Her clothing is bloody and torn but she herself seems to be fine.

In one corner of the room Victoria is talking to an astonishingly beautiful young woman you recognise as 'Rose'. Presumably the relatively ordinary looking individual next to her is Zipper. Neither look particularly happy, fear and doubt are clear in their expressions.

Don Maximilian Alonzo - Garou
Leader of the L.A. Glass Walkers
Daniel noted that they hadn't been asked to surrender their weapons, but then again, everyone present not a vampire was either armed, a werewolf, or both so presumably they didn't see the need. Hope had acquired a satchel from somewhere in which she had placed her prize from the battle with the metis earlier. The blood was beginning to soak through but none present seemed to care about that either.

Vin had his own shotgun to hand and it was loaded with the magazine of solid silver rifled slugs. Despite the apparent truce, he was taking no chances.

Marius introduces the man as Don Maximilian Alonzo, elder of the Glass Walkers and the woman as Jan, Death-From-Below Tribal elder of the Bone Gnawers and you to them as Baron Tomassio, Kindred Baron of the North East of Los Angeles and his coterie, though he names no one else individually.

He then addresses Don Alonzo. "Am I to presume that the absent 'Anisa, Her-Claws-Always-Wet' is happy for one of you to speak on the Black Furies behalf or do I need to do that separately?" Maximillian indicates that Anisa has already agreed to the previously negotiated terms and is busying herself "Examining the Black Spiral Dancers 'Pit' and steadfastly refusing to share access to it..."

Marius Walker - Gangrel
'Fixer' and Baron of Downtown
Michael now understood what Marius had meant by 'Garou business'. Evidently the tribes were already falling out over the spoils of battle and he had been warning him to stay well out of it.

He then heard Marius tell Don Alonzo that Michael wished to discuss some matters with him after they had conclude their own meeting. Marius pointed out that without Michael and his agents, the 'Dancers' wouldn't have been drawn into so neat a trap. The coterie noted that 'The Fixer' had neglected to mention that they had absolutely no idea that this was what they were doing. The Don however agreed to speak with Michael and seemed quite happy to do so, despite him being kindred.

While listening to the Glass Walker leader and the Baron of Downtown's discussion they learned more about the arrangements between the two. This conversation also cast significant doubts on Marius's implication that this had been a 'spur of the moment' plan adapted around the coteries activities.

Anisa, 'Her-Claws-Always-Wet'
Black Furies Leader - Homid Form
Marius had negotiated free travel through Griffiths Park and full use of the territory as he saw fit, effectively making it part of his barony. He informed the 'Don' that he had agreed to surrender the area known as 'The Oaks' to Michael. This was news to the coterie, though they were hardly going to refuse it when offered it officially. As Don Alonzo looked towards him, Michael tried his best to appear as if he had been thoroughly consulted. 

Apparently the Black Furies agreement had only one stipulation and that was that no women are to be killed or harmed within the area. Men, not being mentioned were apparently fair game.

The second part of his agreement with the Black Furies was free passage to an area of the Santa Monica mountains though this was for his ghoul mages, not himself. It also in no way gave him any claim to the area, just permission for his people to travel there. Maximillian also made it quite clear that the Black Furies leader would be "...extremely upset..." should anyone else invite themselves along without express permission from her. Permission that it was implied was almost certain to be refused. Their business conversation was somewhat out of the rest of the coteries skillset though they made mental notes so as to consult Mr Hertz later. 

Aegis Acquisitions - Downtown
Based on what he was told later told, Hertz was of the opinion that Maximillian had given Marius some extremely favourable terms for future business between Marius's Aegis Construction and his own tech companies. The Nosferatu accountant estimated that they would cover Marius's expenses for this operation at least five times over and that didn't even include the long term benefits of the business arrangement.

With their arrangements complete, Marius rose to leave and was accompanied by the Bone Gnawer tribal leader. They both moved to a quiet corner to have some private discussion. Daniel immediately moved close enough to be able to eavesdrop.

Once Marius had vacated the immediate area, Michael took a seat and Vin and Hope moved into place either side of him. Both were still alert for treachery or betrayal. Vin because it was in his nature and Hope because she had half a bloody werewolf head in her satchel. "So Baron, did you have any idea what you had let yourself in for?" asked Maximillian. "To be honest no." confessed Michael. "Though I have to give significant credit to 'crow' for her assistance."

Caltech - Pasadena
Maximillian was familiar with the Gangrel guide which made sense given her knowledge of Garou territories. "She has a working relationship with the Bone Gnawers who reside beneath this city along with those you call the Nosferatu. Both grant her free passage through their domains, though if what I hear of her talents is true, they wouldn't be able to find her to stop her anyway."

Michael discussed the possibilities of them cooperating in some business ventures as they apparently shared a domain in that many of the Glass Walkers apparently resided in Glendale, near the campus of Caltech. Michael accepted that his kind were considered distasteful by the werewolves but that he himself could be trusted if given a chance. "I don't find you distasteful at all..." replied Maximillian. "...which makes you somewhat unusual amongst your kind."

Xaviar - Former Gangrel Primogen
 Allegedly Destroyed
"Now Marius over there..." he continued, gesturing towards the corner. "...him I find distasteful. His sire was known as 'Kills-Our-Brothers' in the stories and songs of those amongst us who remember them, and for good reason. Though in all honesty I would probably feel that way about him even if he wasn't a vampire." Michael decided not to comment, just in case any of Marius's childer were listening in to the conversation.

Don Alonzo then began to speak of Edward Vignes. "I understand that he was your predecessor as ruler of your kind in Glendale?" Michael confirmed that this was correct, but decided that mentioning his coteries part in his destruction might not help his claims of being trustworthy. 

"I knew him socially, but had no idea what he was until after his disappearance. We were negotiating a number of business associations which of course were put on hold when his home exploded..." The coterie immediately tried to wear their most innocent of facial expressions, with varying degrees of success. Maximillian continued as if he hadn't noticed. Perhaps he had not. "Ownership of those businesses and who exactly had the authority to make decisions for them became complicated when his wife Vera also disappeared so I had to put the negotiations on hold. Of course, should you be able to sort out those issues then perhaps we can indeed do business."

Edward and Vera Vignes - Ventrue, Former Barons of Pasadena

"Of course we'd have to have any meetings of an evening." replied Michael. "I'm usually quite sleepy during the day..."

'Gathering for the Departed'
Werewolf Rite
 The Don smiled for a moment at the jest and then became more serious as another thought crossed his mind. "If you'll excuse me, I have other matters to deal with. Some of those who died tonight were members of my own pack and I need to see to their arrangements." Michael offered his assistance, but it was politely refused as he had expected it to be. Maximillian then handed him a business card as he rose. "Should you have any luck with those business arrangements then give me a call." Then he left along with half a dozen of the others who were present. The Bone Gnawers leader also left with her followers. Her discussion with Marius now completed. 

Daniel's eavesdropping had revealed that Marius has been contracted to kill a significant number of Pentex operatives, and sabotage their businesses alongside the Bone Gnawers. He filed this information away but decided that letting Michael know might not be the best of ideas. Not until he had found out more that is.

Scene Forty Six - Rose and Zipper
'Rose' - Caitiff
Childe of Amethyst
As the Garou leave, Victoria brings Rose and Zipper over to the table. Victoria indicates that they should be seated and then explains the issue to you. Marius joins you but says nothing, letting Victoria do the talking. "These two need a home, and you need someone to restore MacNeils system to it's former glory and to modern specifications. As Zipper already has partial access to the system he seems ideally suited to assist you. However he won't do it without Rose. They are, I'm afraid, a package deal. She is however also quite useful, if possessing a far different skillset..."

Michael's empathy revealed that they were scared of Victoria, terrified in fact. He could sense that they knew they were in way over their heads and were desperate for any lifeline. He also got the impression that they thought Marius would be that lifeline and the fact that he was offering them to someone else was clearly confusing the hell out of them. The act more or less told them that their one bargaining chip meant exactly fuck all to him.

"Thank-you for bringing them to my attention Victoria." Said Michael, with just a hint of menace to his voice that was rarely heard. "I'm willing to forgive and forget, of course. As long as you can indeed restore MacNeil's system to full operating capacity and cause me no problems while you're doing it."

Victoria Anne - Ghoul of Marius
Sadistic Personal Assistant
Daniel was whirling one of his knives around a finger, Hope's eyes were glowing and Vin was sharpening his machete. All were staring intently at Zipper. Rose was shifting her weight from one foot to another, obviously desperate to get away but knowing that she'd be lucky to make it three steps, let alone get to a door. Especially as The Pale Lady was standing just inside the door, a selection of razor-sharp throwing knives to hand.

Victoria seemed pleased with the outcome. "New identities have already been created for them and two remarkably similar bodies will be discovered tomorrow in a murder/suicide scenario. We could have actually destroyed them both but I don't like to waste useful resources. They are aware that if they were to attempt any form of betrayal, that it would be a considerable insult to those who had vouched for them and we are not forgiving..."

Michael almost felt sorry for them, almost. Half a dozen of the most dangerous creatures in the city were surrounding them and they had no option but to comply or be destroyed. Michael turned to Vin. "Make sure they understand our rules and then find them a nice haven somewhere." Both Zipper and Rose looked less than happy as they were escorted out by the hulking Brujah.

Bertram Tung - Nosferatu
Information Broker
"Well that concludes the evenings entertainment..." said Marius, addressing the coterie in general, but Michael specifically. "We share Griffiths Park. The open spaces are more use to Gangrel than to a Toreador, the social areas, the opposite. MacNeil's system is yours though I expect the data from any district covering my barony to be transmitted to Bertram as well as to yourself...and I mean directly and simultaneously, not after you've extracted anything useful. I can arrange that minor modification myself if you wish." "And 'The Oaks' area where the system is located?" queried Michael. "That's yours." was the reply. "If you want it that is."

Daniel pointed out that they currently only had access to the database of police district 21. Marius assured them that Zipper claimed that he could have them all back online within an acceptable time period. Though he wasn't specific, Marius pointed out that he was highly motivated to keep them all happy as he had been informed that the alternative was far less appealing. Michael also had some requests of his own. "I'll need to hire Aegis to make the system more secure. Currently there's a big hole next to the entrance leading to god knows where."

"There's also far too many places to hide along that old fallout shelter too." added Daniel. "Any one of them is a potential ambush site. Also if we found a way out, there might be other ways that are equally useful to get in."

Michael still had a question to ask but was trying to find a way of phrasing it that didn't betray his concern. Marius, however pre-empted him. "You seem suspicious about my deferring control of the system to yourselves. Am I correct?" It was something they had all considered. "It was something that raised my curiosity." admitted Michael.

Marius's reasoning was surprisingly simple. "The system is a tool for maintaining the masquerade and keeping order. It's potential as a blackmail tool is noted but marginal, though it does have a certain potential for tactical applications if the data is properly interpreted. In short, it gives you power in an area over which I have very little interest, you inform the barons of potential problems...who will they turn to to fix them, do you think?"

"Also they would be suspicious of the information coming from you, but less so from me?" asked Michael though he already knew the answer. "Exactly." replied Marius. "...and if I was to accidentally exaggerate the level of the threat?" added Michael. "Then that would be even better. It might even make the venture profitable enough for me to offer you a percentage." said Marius.

With new territory, new allies and a new tool at their disposal Michael began to feel that they might be ready to begin the last phase of their mission to take over Los Angeles.

In Conclusion
I like to do a round-up of how the session went in these features but if you couldn't give a shit what I think then feel free to skip this bit...

The coterie had missed my subtle clues to this occurrence so perhaps they were a bit too subtle. I had mentioned that Marius was unavailable for contact on a number of occasions, that Nicodemus had left The Wilds and a few other indicators that known werewolf hunters were very busy, lol.

All that aside, the players now have access to the potentially very useful system of Jeremy MacNeil, more territory and have cemented old alliances and created a few new ones.

I'm going to let a month or so of time pass within the story and let some things consolidate before beginning a fourth chronicle. This fourth one will deal with their endgame of controlling the whole city...or not...depending on how clever they are.

Portions of the materials are the copyrights and trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment AB, and are used with permission. All rights reserved. For more information please visit

I've used pictures of real people to represent some of the characters and art for others so in no particular order Michael Tomassio is represented by Matt Bomer, 'Vin' is Scott Adkins, Dr Matthews is Mads Mikkelsen, Hope is Deborah Ann Woll, Mr Hertz is Charles Dance, Yukio is Kelly Hu, Leanna is Leeanna Vamp, Emmanuella Booth, 'The Pale Lady' is Anastasia EG, Kesara is Eiza Gonzalez, Nessa is Summer Glau, Ria is Amanda Tapping, Zipper is Johnny Galecki, Don Maximilian Alonzo is Stacy Keach, Marius Walker is Tony Curran, Rose is Thylane Blondeau and Victoria is Lilith May.

Everything else is from vampire related folders and searches and is as far as I know is all of the 'fair use' variety. If there's something that you feel should be attributed to some-one then feel free to let me know and I'll happily add an acknowledgement.

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