Friday 18 December 2020

Vampire the Masquerade V5 - Session Seventy Nine - Veni, Vidi, Victor (Part Five)

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. Over a year of plotting allowed the coterie to gain control of the three North-Eastern Baronies and a large part of a fourth. Now they are moving on to the final stage of their campaign and have their eyes on taking over the entire city, either directly or by proxy.
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 SixSevenEightNine and Ten
Interlude Session One - After Griffith Park
Interlude Session Two - Divide and Conquer
Interlude Session Three - On the Brink of War
Chronicle Four - 'Conquest L.A.'
Story Twenty One - 'Veni, Vidi, Victor' - Part OneTwoThree and Four
The PC's
Dr Daniel Matthews - Banu Haqim, 'Fixer'
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.

Storytellers Note - Due to a Covid related local lockdown in the area in which I live, our group is currently unable to meet up in person. We have therefore done this session via messengers video 'room' app. This session is also a solo one as Daniel's player had a lot of stuff to do with his character. Mr Hertz's part in the schemes were discussed separately.

In a first for Daniel, his Baron has given him free reign to disrupt the operations of Victor Girard by any means necessary. Michael has justified this as a "Test of Victors character...", though it being a transparent attempt to maintain plausible deniability should Daniel be caught, is more likely to be the reason.

Daniel is therefore going after the four biggest of Victors resources and is hoping to time their destruction in close enough proximity to one another that Victor will be unable to save them.

Scene Twenty Three - Knowledge is Power
Victor Girard - Toreador
Media Magnate, El Hermandad
Storytellers Note - Daniel's player greatly enjoys the investigative aspects of roleplaying which is one of the reasons why he has more solo sessions than the other players. These kind of scenarios actually work better one on one in my opinion and for me it's an interesting change of pace. It requires a lot of extra prep though...
The L.A. Horizon
The financial newspaper, The L.A. Horizon regularly withheld financial scoops and the release of certain stories for Victor Girard so he could benefit from the situations financially or politically. Daniel and his agents had traced several such events to Victor and had also ascertained that Lilly Hodgson, Publisher of the L.A. Horizon, used the information herself. The coteries investigator and fixer was sure that a sufficiently juicy yet spurious story would be too tempting a target for both Lilly and Victor. Hopefully, once they attempted to profit from the fiction he could then pull the rug out from under them and fuck up both the paper, it's sponsor and it's publisher.

Mr Hertz has suggested asking Don Alonzo of the Glass Walkers to give advance notice of a tech innovation to the L.A. Horizon paper so Victor and Lilly Hodgson will try to take financial advantage and be ruined. Hertz will then short sell stock on Victors shell companies, make a fortune, and then effectively make a deal with Don Alonzo using Victors own money.

Don Maximillian Alonzo - Lupine
Glass Walker Tribe
The dubious story that was concocted between Daniel's Baron and Don Maximillian Alonzo was that a room level superconductor had been developed by Advanced Innovations in Engineering,. The paper was informed that an announcement in a weeks time will cause stock price to soar and that they had decided to give the 'scoop' to the L.A. Horizon. In fact, the company is actually about to go bankrupt, making any money invested in it basically gone.

Don Alonzo has agreed to implement this whenever Daniel requires. This is on the condition that the coterie agrees to invest any profits in a business deal previously arranged with Michael's predecessor as Baron, Edward vignes. Hertz has predicted that the terms will heavily be in the Don's favour but they'll still make a lot of money from the "Fucking over Victor." aspect of the plan. Also, they have the vampires advantage of being able to think long-term.

This is the easiest part for Daniel as it simply requires him to make a phone-call after he's set up the other of his targets to fail

L.A. Click
Daniel knew that Henry Vaughn, Editor in Chief of the L.A. Click, a celebrity gossip magazine, paid bribes to employees at many major hotels in the city to give him advance notice of any celebrity relationships, or even better, affairs. Daniel had also discovered that some of these discoveries were held back in return for later exclusive stories from the celebrities in question. Others were blackmailed for more immediate financial gain. 

Mr Hertz - Nosferatu
Former Mob Accountant
Using his investigation teams combined with his own expertise, Daniel has isolated several of these informants and convinced them via bribes and threats to turn on Henry. He had also pressured them for the identities of celebrities they'd informed on to Mr Vaughn. The problem was that he had no idea which ones were blackmail victims without cross-referencing with the relevant news stories. Fortunately he had operatives to whom he could delegate such menial tasks.

His investigators, police contact and coterie member Mr Hertz have waded through the information gathered and have compiled Daniel a list of people who are definitely the victims of blackmail and extortion from Henry Vaughn. They have also discovered that Henry cleverly uses a go-between. His go-between is a gentlemen named Daryl Baxter who does the dirty deals. If he could be flipped he would be able to effectively identify every one of Henry's crimes.

Daryl has a home in Los Alamitos, on the 605, at the bottom end of El Hermandad's domain near to the border with Steve Booth's South Coast Barony. According to his office he is at home on 'holiday', though judging from the security surrounding his home it's more like he's under house arrest. Daniel has theorised that Victor has warned him that he's probably going to be investigated and told him the team is for his protection.

Andrew Francis - Ghoul of Daniel
Security Expert and Investigator
Daniel's ghoul Andrew, himself a security specialist has identified the security firm as a professional close protection group, employed for VIP protection by Victors own Woodland Media. There are two, five man shifts, all of which are armed.

L.A. Vanguard
The L.A. Vanguard is a newspaper known for it's hard-hitting factual stories and exposés. It had also been the recipient of a record number of lawsuits yet somehow it always beat these easily. Witnesses had inexplicably changed their stories, some had then even passed lie detector test to verify their new version of events. Records also had a tendency to disappear and sometimes people too. Daniel knew that a kindred such as Victor could easily influence a mortal into believing almost anything using the Toreadors unnatural levels of charisma. Based on his investigations the Banu Haqim knew that Victor also almost certainly had the ability to bend mortals to his will in the manner of the Ventrue.

However, one story in particular stood out as something he could work with. An actress, Izabel Lopez, was suing over claims she was unfaithful to her husband with several other actors while high on cocaine. 

The paper had anonymous claims from a number of actors she'd worked with and testimony from a known drug dealer. Her film company had a 'bringing their name into disrepute' clause in her contract so the claim could not only ruin her career but cripple her financially. A win on her part would have the opposite effect of course. The film company was a rival to Victors on a number of projects and script bids, so a scandal would also help him. Clearly this last fact was not a coincidence.

Izabel Lopez - Actress
Currently suing The L.A. Vanguard
Using the coteries many street contacts, Daniel discovered the dealers name was 'Finbar'. Though he was a dealer, there was no evidence that he ever supplied to Izabel. Possibly he'd been bribed, brainwashed or both. He was also reasonably sure that the 'anonymous' actors were completely made up as he his investigators and surveillance teams had found zero evidence of any infidelity on her part. If this high profile case could be resolved in Izabel's favour, the financial repercussions to Victor would be considerable.

Daniel also noted that the newspaper had specified that she had purchased cocaine just long enough ago so that any test would fail to reveal it in her system. So even if she agreed to a blood test it would prove nothing.

Daniel has asked Mr Hertz to approach Izabel's legal team to see if there was any way of the coterie making a profit from assisting her. As it stood she was likely to lose the case so perhaps her team might be willing to take a chance on outside assistance.

Further digging had revealed even more corruption at the L.A. Vanguard. Their legal advisor, Shane Hooper, had used his expertise to cover up a number of assault claims filed by women he'd worked with and Anwen Derrick, their editor in chief had also covered for Shane Hooper. This was almost certainly as a result of him being aware of her fondness for heroin. This gave Daniel plenty to work with though the real issue was timing all his 'distractions' to unfold within close proximity to one another.

Zac Stamp's 'Business Interests'
Daniel was disappointed to find that Anwen's dealer wasn't the 'Finbar' mentioned in the Izabel Lopez case meaning there was likely no direct connection. Rather, Anwen Derrick's dealer was a man named Zac Stamp. He is also a pimp with a small amount of girls, five or so, and all were addicts. Zac cleverly used a runner to deliver Anwen's drugs. Her name was 'Mariella' Hensley, a heroin addicted prostitute, but she looked the most presentable of Zac's 'girls'.

It took very little investigation to discover that Shane Hooper used Zac's girls, and judging from their condition and his own proclivities, generally beat them as well as using them for sex. However as he paid very well, it was highly unlikely that Zac cared much. Given that it was Zac who had turned these women into addicts he obviously had no empathy towards them at all. Though blackmail was an option, the activities of both were already inclining the Banu Haqim towards a solution that they wouldn't survive. 

Aegis H.Q. - Downtown
Marius's Domain
Shane Hooper moved from cheap hotel to cheap hotel and had no home as such. Zac however, had a permanent location at Rowland Heights, just barely within the Wilds Barony. Anwen lived in a hotel in an apartment building in Downtown, called Skyline Apartments. Daniel was reticent to just wander into The Wilds as it's Gangrel inhabitants tended to destroy uninvited guests as a matter of course. If necessary he would seek permission first before attempting a more dangerous solution.

Skyline Apartments was unfortunately owned by Aegis which made it doubly likely to cause him problems if he created trouble there. Anwen was therefore going to be his last resort. Hopefully he could disrupt L.A. Vanguard without needing to involve her at all and fallout from the other disruptions would get to her too.

Woodland Media
The newspapers parent company, Woodland Media, had gained a broadcast license but it's enterprises had suffered a number of setbacks and so it's launch has been delayed until later in the year. These setbacks had included three unexplained accidents that required safety investigations, several technical problems and the death by overdose of Tayah Witt, their project director. Edmund Metcalfe was her ambitious and apparently quite ruthless replacement.

Daniel suspected, but couldn't prove, that Edmund had arranged a hot dose to kill his rival, but wasn't sure if this was unrelated to any kindred interests. Information provided by his contact in police records led Daniel to believe that Edmund was a sociopath as several of his rivals had been victims of unfortunate 'accidents' on his way up.

Daniel Matthews - Investigating Coroners Reports 

He could however connect the deceased Tayah Witt to the L.A. Vanguards heroin addicted editor in chief as they had been close friends and likely were mutual addicts. It was possible that Edmund had used that relationship in some manner. Daniel decided to see if he could get hold of the coroners reports and see if his medical expertise could uncover any more evidence against Edmund. Unfortunately the coroners report indicated no signs of foul play. If Edmund is a serial killer, he's apparently very good at staging suicides.

Daniel decided that Edmund was going to be his first priority. His need to punish the guilty, naturally biased him towards this case.

Scene Twenty Four - Suicidal Tendencies
Edmund Metcalfe - Woodland Media
Suspected Serial Killer
Daniel's investigations into any deaths surrounding Edmund Metcalfe initially revealed four suspicious deaths and one disappearance in addition to the overdose that gained him his most recent promotion.

Four years ago, Taryn Greer, Edmunds first boss at Woodland Media, was killed in a mugging gone wrong. The murderer was later found dead of a heroin overdose, though many of Taryn's belongings including her handbag and purse were found in his flat. With the case tied up neatly, the police closed the investigation. The fact that heroin had been a factor in this case as well as that of Tayah Witt, interested Daniel as it was one of the first connecting factors he'd discovered. Even if it was only a vague one.

Two years later, Edmunds ex girlfriend Jana Montoya, Hung herself a few months after they had split up. A co-worker of hers, Arlo Stephens, was found dead at the bottom of the stairs in the high-rise in which he lived, with a broken neck. he appeared to have fallen when a loose handrail broke under his weight. Daniel immediately suspected that Jana had left Edmund for Arlo and he had killed them both for revenge. As it seemed unlikely that someone would die due to a loose handrail, it was Daniel's suspicion that Edmund had thrown him down the stairs and then loosened the rail afterwards.

Six months after this, Edmunds current boss, Kelsie Owens committed suicide by throwing herself under a subway train. Unfortunately a recent act of vandalism had been committed on all the security cameras and inexplicably there were no witnesses at all. After some further digging he also found a report of a dead prostitute who was known to frequent the area, stabbed to death, badly beaten and then dumped in an alleyway near to the scene. There were no signs of sexual assault. 

Vandalised Security
Daniel suspected that this sex worker had either been paid to vandalise the cameras, push Kelsie under the train or maybe both. The logical course for Edmund would be then to kill his accomplice.

Edmund had either kept a low profile for the next year or had been killing people to which he had no connection. The only unusual event involving someone he knew was the disappearance of his psychiatrist, Sonia Craft. She hadn't been seen for nearly six months.

Daniel was sure that she'd discovered something that Edmund was concerned she may reveal, or had said something that triggered her obviously unstable patient. The fact that no body had been found gave Daniel some vague hope of finding her alive and perhaps being able to help him reveal Edmunds true nature. Though what psychological condition she would be in if he had held her all this time was obviously a concern. Daniel's humanity had slipped by a significant amount over the last few years but he had been a doctor for a long time and that training still managed to drown out the beast on occasion.

Victoria - Ghoul of Marius
Psychotic Personal Assistant
As Sonia's disappearance was his most recent clue he decided to start his investigation there. Her office was in downtown, but as far as he could tell she had no kindred connections. After a call to Marius's assistant Victoria for permission to pursue his investigation into the Fixer's Barony of Downtown, he decided to see if any files could be found in Sonia's place of work.

Daniel put on some dark, but casual clothing and drove his covertly armoured BMW into Downtown. He had ensured that his armoury was fully replenished after recent events had reduced his ammunition supplies considerably. After all, who knows who or what his investigations might unearth.

As he entered Downtown he briefly caught a glimpse of one of Marius's Gangrel Sweepers watching the vehicles entering their domain. Victoria must have already informed them that he had her permission as they made no attempt to stop him. He was reasonably sure however, that he'd be followed.

Sonia's office was fairly light on security. The windows were barred but could be removed fairly easily and a single security camera was pointing only at the door, not at the windows along one side. As he faded from sight and approached the building he noticed a sensor on the window, presumably attached to an alarm system. A quick phone-call to his security expert ghoul gained him the basic instructions he'd need to bypass it which he promptly did. After carefully loosening the bars protecting the window, he slipped silently into the office. A computer had been removed at some point, possibly by the officers investigating her disappearance. There were no patient files in the room, but there was another door within, separate to the entrance. Hopefully this was a file-room though it had no label.

Sonia's Patient Files
Checking all the likely usual hiding places, he located the key to the side room within a few minutes and let himself in. A desk to one side was empty apart from the usual office accoutrements, the room did however contain cabinets with patient files within. Daniel then systematically checked for files on any of the names he had so far uncovered.

He was unsurprised to discover that Edmund Metcalfe's file was missing as was that of his former girlfriend Jana Montoya, who had apparently shared his psychiatrist. Arlo Stephens, who Daniel suspected had been Jana's secret lover was also a patient of Dr Crofts and his file remained. The doctor had diagnosed him as having a persecution complex but Daniel suspected that the victimisation had been quite real. The file held an address for Arlo but Daniel decided that a search would be unproductive, especially after two years. Perhaps Sonia's home, it it hadn't gained new owners might still be worth a look. Especially if it had remained empty since her disappearance. after removing all signs of his presence, Daniel went to check out Sonia's house.

Location of Sonia Craft's Home
Daniel double-checked the address as he stood in front of a building site where a new house was being constructed. This was definitely the place. A phone-call to his contact in police records revealed that the house had been destroyed in a fire, five and a half months ago. No bodies were found so it was put down to vandals targeting an empty home. Daniel had a much different idea. Fire was a very effective way of removing evidence of a crime. In fact he'd used it himself on numerous occasions, though with considerable care due to a kindreds vulnerability to flame.

Dr Matthews began to become a little irritated by his quarry's apparent skill at removing clues and loose ends. Having a brief break from this line of enquiry he contacted his ghouls to investigate Shane Hooper from one of his other lines of enquiry into Victor Girards empire. He then decided to have a surveillance team watch Edmunds home before he did anything impulse. Perhaps some quiet time in his haven to collect his thoughts would be an idea.

Scene Twenty Five - Edmund
Daniel roused from his day-sleep and immediately realised that it had been four days since he'd fed his addiction to kindred vitae. Luckily the project he was working on gave him something on which to focus.

Storytellers Note - He also passed the Willpower test I made him take.

Karen Anatos - Gangrel Anathema
Childe of Brunhilde
His investigators and surveillance teams had discovered some new information for him. hertz had been busy too. Mr Hertz had traced Edmunds location to a basement apartment in Burbank where he had lived for some time. However, a financial check ran by the Nosferatu forensic accountancy expert revealed that he should have been unable to pay the rent on a home in such an area when he first moved in. Despite this he always paid on time. Further digging had revealed that the building was owned by Thorne-Media, which was ran through one of Karen Anatos's ghouls. 

Daniel now had to entertain the possibility that Edmund was an agent of Karen's and that it was he who had been responsible for all the sabotages at Woodland Media, not just the murders. Even more worrying was that he may also be a ghoul of hers, which would certainly create issues should he need to kill the bastard. He also knew from his observations of Marius's ghouls that those with regnant's of lower generations often had greater powers than would normally be expected. Though he had no exact information, Marius had implied that she was as low a generation as himself and he was certainly of the sixth generation, albeit through diablerie, not from his embrace.

His surveillance teams had monitored Edmunds home but had been moved on after an anonymous source had reported them to the police. They assured Daniel that they had taken all the usual precautions and had no idea how they had been observed. This only added to his suspicions that Edmund was either an agent of Anatos, a ghoul or both. Fortunately they had observed him long enough to be able to give Daniel a rough time that he arrived home. A quick calculation led Daniel to believe that he could, get to Burbank, get in and then out before Edmund arrived home. Hopefully his comings and goings were consistent or this might be a problem.

One of the Tools of Daniel's Trade
The building had no lobby security and the stairs to Edmunds apartment were fairly dark. Daniel imagined that this was deliberate if what he suspected about Mr Metcalfe was true. His preternatural senses indicated that the apartment was empty so he approached invisibly, quickly and efficiently picked the lock and then entered.

The area was fairly open plan with only the bedroom and bathroom being separate. The kitchen was fairly mundane and Daniel was both disappointed and relieved to find that the fridge contained no body-parts. While searching the bathroom, the doctor noticed a tiny speck of blood on a shaving razor. presumably Edmund had cut himself while shaving. Daniel had some talent with Blood Sorcery, and one of his talents was the ability to discern information from a drop of blood. This sample was dry but he decided to make the attempt anyway.

Edmund was definitely a ghoul as he had suspected. This should in theory complicate matters, especially if he was a ghoul of Karen Anatos. However, Daniel had already decided that Edmund needed to die, he'd worry about the consequences later. Justice needed to be done.

Realising he was growing short of time he quickly picked the lock on the desk and had a look through the papers within. Only one thing sprang out at him. There were receipts for payments for a group of three lock-ups in a storage facility reasonably close to the apartment. As he closed and re-locked the draw, he heard a click from the front doors lock. Apparently Edmund was early home today.

The Banu Haqim slid into the shadows and became utterly silent as Edmund entered his apartment. He tossed his jacket over the back of a chair and placed a mobile phone on the table. It looked to be a burner, not the kind of thing a media company executive would use. Edmund then moved into his bedroom and shut the door. Even though Daniel would have loved to get his hands on that phone, the risk of alerting his prey was too great. Perhaps he could find a way to acquire it another time. Quickly and quietly he left Edmunds home and headed back to his car, stopping only to make a note of Edmunds vehicle and it's license plate number.

Scene Twenty Six - The Lock-Up
On his way to Metcalfe's lock-ups, Daniel arranged for his surveillance team to keep an eye on the location of the drug dealer and Pimp Zac Stamp. If Shane Hooper had any kind of schedule to his visits there then that would perhaps give Daniel some better options with which to incriminate him.

The storage facility was protected by a single security camera that appeared to be broken and was surrounded by a sturdy, seven foot tall metal railed fence. Daniel cleared the fence in a single leap and then worked his way through the shadows towards the group of three units that Edmund was paying for. The outer ones were protected by basic and easy to bypass locks and each was also empty. The middle unit was far more secure. The door had been replaced with a high security version and it's locks were sturdy and sophisticated. It took Daniel several attempts but eventually he heard the satisfying click of the lock disengaging. Carefully he opened it, noticing a she did that a layer of soundproofing material had been added to it's inner surface.

Sonia Croft - Prisoner of Edmund Metcalfe
A naked and heavily bruised woman is chained to a wall via a spiked metal collar. Her wrists have been bound together as have her legs, forcing her to effectively move on all fours. Food and water has been provided for her in two large animal bowls on the floor. The room reeks of urine, sweat, excrement and stale food. Written on one wall in red spray-paint is the message "Now Who's The Animal?". The entire room has been professionally soundproofed. The woman looks very much like the missing Sonia Croft, Edmunds psychiatrist.

As Daniel entered she immediately dragged herself into the corner of the room before beginning to shake in fear. He tried to soother her, calling her by her name but this seemed to increase her fear, not diminish it. As he moved closer it was obvious to the doctor that she would need extensive physical therapy to recover her ability to walk, if the damage to her limbs could even be undone. Whatever happened, Daniel vowed to kill the fucker who had done this. Slowly if possible, brutally if not.

A slight scraping sound alerted the Banu Haqim to movement behind him and as he turned, Edmund leapt at him. A fraction too slow to move, Daniel felt something rip through his jacket and into his undead flesh. Metcalfe had long claws on the end of each fingertip. It seems that Karen had taught her ghoul some interesting tricks.

Daniel threw the ghoul aside and with one motion drew his own knives and lunged after him. A vicious slash left his opponents right hand hanging by a few threads of flesh. The ghoul attacked him once more, his actions similar to a vampire in frenzy and Daniel rewarded him by driving his blade deep into Edmunds throat. Realising that he'd need to stage this scene carefully, Daniel changed angle and slid behind them, drawing the blade deeply across their throat. He then drove his fangs into the gaping wound and drained enough of Edmunds blood to ensure his death.

Daniel had never drained a mortal to death before. The temptations of the beast within him were quiet for the first time since his embrace. Even his craving for kindred vitae seemed diminished without the dark whispers of that other voice.

Storytellers Note - I informed the player that as long as he was at Hunger 0 I wouldn't make him take Willpower tests in relation to his craving for kindred vitae. Though of course that is simply swapping one distasteful addiction for a debatably even worse one. But at least he has two to chose from now... 

Dr Daniel Matthews - Sedation
Realising that the woman would require extensive treatment both physical and psychological, he returned to his vehicle and retrieved his medical bag. Once she was sedated he removed as much of her bindings as he could and then carried her to his own vehicle. the faster he got her to a hospital, the faster her recovery could begin. He then rang the coteries police contact, Frank Atkins, to share with him what would no doubt result in his next commendation.

Once word spread of the activities of this representative of Woodland Media, Daniel was sure that the companies lifespan would be very short indeed. Now deciding to end this tonight, he rang the number given him for Don Maximillian Alonzo and asked him to begin his part in their campaign against Victor's empire.

Scene Twenty Seven - A Rescue (Possibly)
Daryl Baxter's Personal 'Protection'
Daniel drove through Downtown, around Priss's Barony, skirted the border of Fortier's Barony of West L.A. and then skirted along the edge of Steve Booth's South Coast Barony. Though a significant detour, this meant that he would have to spend very little time trespassing on El Hermandads turf on his approach to Henry Vaughn's go-between Daryl Baxters home. If Hertz was correct, and he had no reason to doubt him, that Daryl was a prisoner in his own home then he'd no doubt be grateful to his savour.

Daniel was extremely experienced at reconnaissance and planning operations against very secure facilities. He had penetrated mansions filled with death traps, Second Inquisition bases and planned assaults on heavily guarded locations of many kinds. It therefore took him very little time to map the patrol routes used by the two exterior guards and the pair in a vehicle. The fifth guard would take a little longer but was unlikely to slow him by much.

One Shot, One Kill - Daniel at Work
Timing his approach, moments before the patrol car arrived, Daniel put a 10mm round through the head of the first guard as he rounded the corner, ensuring that their body dropped behind a small wall so the approaching car wouldn't see him. He then calmly walked to the homes rear and executed the guard there. Drawing on his supernatural powers of camouflage he assumed a generic appearance that roughly matched the guards appearance. He lacked the level of proficiency necessary to make an exact copy but this would hopefully give him the moments surprise he required.

Daniel tapped on the window of the car and as it was lowered and killed the driver at point blank range. the second died a moment later before even reaching his weapon. The Banu Haqim became irritated with his victims lack of skill. They were no challenge at all. Effortlessly picking the lock of the rear door he stepped inside. The fifth and final member of the security team heard nothing and died without a sound. Five dead, from five head-shots, in less than three minutes. It was almost disappointing.

Daryl Baxter's 'Insurance Policy'
A man matching the description of Daryl Baxter, appeared at the top of the stairs. "I'm probably here to rescue you." Said Daniel, in a matter of fact tone. "Though I wont be certain until we've discussed a few things. To be specific, how do you feel about betraying Henry Vaughn, who was almost certainly planning to kill you in the very near future?"

"I realise I'm in no position to negotiate." replied Daryl. "But would extensive and detailed files on every victim of the newspapers dubious activities stretching back twenty-five years be worth a twenty-four hour head start?" Daniel was good at telling if someone was lying to him and this offer seemed genuine. So decided to accept the offer. "You've caught me on a good day so I'm going to accept your offer. I'll even give you the cash for a ticket out of town. Of course if you've lied to me I'll just find you again and eventually kill you..." It was clear that Mr Baxter understood completely.

Daryl entered the homes kitchen, took a screwdriver from a draw and unscrewed one of the power sockets. Concealed behind it was a key and a scrap of paper with a series of box numbers and a password written on it. He handed it to Daniel and then tensed, clearly expecting to be killed anyway. "Off you go then." said Daniel, then turned and left the house without turning back.

He arranged for his ghoul to collect the key and information from himself and then retrieve Baxter's files next morning.

"And then there was one." said Daniel to himself.

Scene Twenty Eight - Into The Wilds
Allison Maller - Brujah
Baron of Anaheim
Daniel drove through Anaheim knowing that even if he was detected that it's Baron, Allison Maller owed him enough favours so it would cause him little trouble. He was more careful crossing the South-East portion of El Hermandad's territory on his way to The Wilds as he had no favours to draw upon there. Once he hit the border of The Wilds, he parked up and waited. He doubted it'd be long before he was approached. It wasn't.

Lezabel, the youngest and most approachable of the Gangrel pack that called this domain home, emerged from some nearby woodland. she was accompanied by a rag-tag selection of wolves and dogs of various breeds. Daniel looked up and could see what appeared to be a large bird of prey above him. apparently Lola was also keeping an eye on him too.

"Thank-you for doing us the courtesy of waiting." Said Lezabel. "How can the Wilds Pack assist the North-East Baronies?"

Daniel explained that he was engaged in a project to cause Victor Girard some considerable inconvenience and to do that he needed to 'deal with' one of his agents. He also informed Lezabel that the target's hobby was beating up sex workers and vulnerable women he worked with. The young Gangrel asked if Daniel intended to kill him. "Probably..." admitted Daniel. 

"Fair enough." replied Lezabel. "I'll escort you a bit closer and keep my eye on the situation. If it's like you say it is then I'll escort you back out again afterwards. If it's not then I'll have to destroy you. Sorry, but that's the way it is." She then smiled. It wasn't said in a threatening tone, merely laid out as a statement of fact.

Lezabel - Gangrel
The Wilds Pack - 'The Wilds'
Lezabel was friendly, talkative and Daniel immediately started to like her. Admittedly most of her talk was either about dogs or killing people, but Daniel was a fan of both of those things so didn't mind. He noticed that the surrounding animal pack had gained several new members as they travelled, though Lola's observing bird of prey was no longer circling above. The rest of the pack was insanely protective of Lezabel so he imagined that Lola had observed them until sure she was in no danger from him. He found this somewhat amusing as he was reasonably sure that the girl was more than capable of looking after herself, even against someone with his own talents.

Once in sight of the motel complex, Lezabel withdrew to leave Daniel to deal with the situation. He doubted she'd gone far though. After finding a good place to observe the area, the Banu Haqim waited for an opportunity to exploit. Failing that he'd just manufacture one.

After observing the area for a while, Daniel noted Shane arriving at Zac's motel. Moving in closer he saw Shane hand over an envelope of cash, and received a small packet of what was certainly a drug of some kind in return. Daniel enhanced his senses to try and hear the conversation but caught only the tail end. "...and there's a girl waiting in room six. Try not to hospitalise this one, the downtime costs me a fortune in lost revenue..." Zac then returned to his seat just outside the motel's run down office. Before Shane had even closed the door to the indicated room, Daniel heard the sound of a palm smacking off flesh. "Fuck it, he dies." concluded Daniel.

Less than a minute later another girl turned up. Presumably Mariella, Zac's runner. She handed over an envelope, considerably fatter than the one he'd received from Shane and then he gestured towards his office. Then he followed the girl inside and shut the door behind him. After weighing a number of possibilities, Daniel decided to go with the old standby of 'A drug deal gone bad'. 

Finding the newspapers legal advisor dead, alongside a known pimp and drug-dealer would certainly damage both the newspapers integrity and their case against Izabel Lopez. Losing that case would be more than enough to cripple them financially. Any other fallout would be just icing on the cake. Making himself a makeshift mask from a scrap of material, Daniel moved in for the kill.

The cheap wooden door flew off it's hinges as Daniel put his foot to it. A woman was cowering on the bed, covered with fresh bruises, blood dripping from her nose. Daniel emptied his handguns magazine into Shane, spreading out the impacts slightly so as to avoid the hit looking too professional. The girl ran into the bathroom and locked it behind her. Daniel let her be. He had no idea what circumstances had bought her into this situation but he doubted that any of it was her fault. As he left Shane's corpse and headed towards the office, Zac emerged from the it, half naked and clutching a shotgun. His first shot missed Daniel by a mile.

Zac Stamp - First Shot Missed
Deciding that Zac deserved a slower demise, Daniel put a round into the shotgun, rather than Zac. The mechanism shattered and fragments of wooden stock, and metal embedded themselves in his hand and forearm. Daniel was upon him with supernatural speed and swept his legs from beneath him. As he hit the ground, Daniel broke their kneecap with his heel. Zac attempted to retrieve a boot-knife but Daniel anticipated the movement and stomped on his ankle, shattering it in multiple places. Then seemingly from nowhere, Mariella appeared and attempted to smash Daniel's skull in. Reacting instinctively the assassin smashed her in the forehead with the butt of his pistol. The blow killed her instantly.

Storytellers Note - I gave him a stain for that. His conviction is 'The guilty must be punished' so I'd let him off with all his murders up to this point. Mariella however was just a victim of circumstance.

Colt M1911
Sure that Zac was going nowhere, Daniel searched the office finding several envelopes of cash, various drugs and a loaded Colt .45. Returning to find Zac attempting to crawl away, the Banu Haqim shot him with his own .45 then put it in Mariella's dead hand. Hopefully the cops wouldn't investigate too thoroughly. After retrieving his own shell casings he scattered the money and drugs around the scene and then left. Lezabel was waiting for him.

"We use the 'drug deal gone bad' thing ourselves sometimes." she said conversationally. "Would you like a ride to the other side of our domain? Much easier than going through El Hermandad again..."

Daniel accepted. Lezabel's truck smelled of wet dog but at least it beat all that sneaking about. Now he just needed to wait for at least four, hopefully five, separate scandals to rock Woodland Media. He'd worry about that tomorrow evening...

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...

Well that'll teach Michael to give Daniel a blank cheque...

That was messier than I was expecting towards the end but his methods got the job done. He missed potential information on a few extra victims of Edmunds, the phone of Edmunds he left had messages on it from a mysterious 'K' (Obviously Karen Anatos when he looked back) and a few other tiny little details that turned out to be unimportant.

I'm choosing to save any revelation about the consequences of his activities until next session where all the players can experience them together.

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

I've used pictures of real people to represent some of the characters and art for others so in no particular order Dr Matthews is Mads Mikkelsen, Victor Girard is Bob Hoskins, Don Maximillian Alonzo is Stacy Keach, Mr Hertz is Charles Dance, Andrew Francis is Ray Stephenson, Izabel Lopez is Lindsey Lohan, Edmund Metcalfe is Michael Rooker, Victoria is Lilith May, Karen Anatos is Christina Hendricks and Allison Maller is Chloe Grace Moretz.

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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