The Carthian Armory
Grant receives a call from Sophe that there has been a break-in at the Carthian Armory and as the Anarch Collective sheriff she would like him to investigate. He and Rowana arrive at the armory to find the door has been blown off, perhaps with explosives. A significant number of arms are missing including the rocket launcher and a ghoul of Victor Flores lies dead on the floor. At first Grant is suspicious that the criminally prone Flores might be behind the break-in, but the logs show that it was actually Flores’s shift to guard the armory. It seemed highly improbable that he would fake a forced entry and sacrifice his own ghoul when he could have quietly pocketed a few items without raising suspicion – quite notably, a rocket launcher and several small packs of grenades. Someone wanted to have a party…
Elijah and Deep Throat are eventually called in to examine the crime scene because of their talent for Auspex and Deep Throat’s investigative background. Using The Spirit’s Touch, they discern that at least one non-Carthain has been inside the armory recently – Hektor, the unaligned Grangrel who leads a biker gang. Deep Throat notices a security camera from a nearby building pointing in the general direction of the armory and steals the tape. The figures on the tape breaking into the armory are blurred, suggesting kindred culprits. The getaway vehicle used is a bakery truck.
Tyler arrives at the armory last. He says he knows a country western bar that Hektor and his allies frequent, perhaps they might use it as a starting point in this investigation – “The Pig Sty.”
Sometime later the coterie arrives at the rundown roadside bar. It’s sickly orange glow hangs over the muddy parking lot like a film. Grant stretches and takes a deep breadth in, erupting into a coughing fit from the rank stench of pigs and mud and feces. “Whew! Smell that fresh * cough* sputter air!” Deep Throat smiled and refrained from smelling the air. Grant regained composure and walked slowly up the rickety stairs.
Inside they saw no sign of the Sons of Prium, Hektor biker gang. Rowana asked for the special, with a dangerous glint in her eye. The bartender nodded in appreciation. Grant asked for a whisky on the rocks, and slid up to a mousy-looking girl who had laid out her fortune cards in a corner booth. Deep Throat asked for the same, but just then Tyler stepped in and corrected him- “he’ll have a special too.”
Elijah scanned the room for some time for any surface thoughts of Hektor, and Deep Throat did the same. Eventually Elijah got the attention of three men who’d come from New York City looking for a change of scenery. The more he found out about them, the less he was comfortable talking to them. Apparently they were ghouls who were interested in joining the kindred community here in Philly – hoping for a vacancy where the Big Apple had none. Meanwhile Rowana played darts with what looked like Meth-addict. The whole bar would hear the sporadic “Woah! Look at the that! Damn! Just look at that shit wouldya!” A little later, Deep Throat and Elijah heard “Look baby, you’re hot, I’m hot, let’s leave this shithole and give me a lick. You know what I mean?” It turned out that the bar was crawling with ghouls, and this one was thoroughly addicted to kindred blood.
Grant eventually rose from his whispered conversation and approached the bar. He paid the young woman’s bill, but the snout-nosed bartender snorted, “You can’t take her out. She’s to wait here til someone gets her. Unless Tyler…unless you can vouch for him.” Tyler looked dubiously at Grant, then the woman, then Grant. It looked like Grant was just having fun on the job. Tyler wasn’t about to make that easy. “Not really,” he answered lazily. Grant sighed and leaned in, “Look Tyler, this isn’t some joyride. She’s in trouble, and I need to help her.” Tyler shrugged and answered, “Why should I vouch for you?” Grant scowled, “You’re telling me that through two years and all we’ve been through, all the scraps I’ve helped get us out of, you …don’t see …why you should…vouch for me? You’ve gotta be shitting me?! We can meet outside if you like, and I can explain to your liking. Here and now is not the best time and place.” Tyler merely shrugged, unconvinced. Grant tapped his forehead irritably, and looked to Deep Throat. After a few moment and some pointed glances, Grant went back to the table and politely escorted the young woman out. Deep Throat explained to Tyler that they’d meet outside. Tyler finally gave the nod to the bartender.
Outside Grant explained that the young woman he’d found is an escaped changeling – one of the fae-blooded. She may have True Fae hunting her, and she was told to wait at the bar for 1-3 days until someone got her. Grant would not just leave the woman up for fate to decide if she’d be enslaved once again, after just regaining her freedom. Grudgingly, the coterie split up, with Grant taking his new friend racing down the highway toward Miss Kadei’s bar. He’d received some cursory advice from Tyler and Deep Throat.
Unfortunately, Grant could only get an interview for the next night. He did however discover that his garage in Chinatown was ransacked – and with it, he’d lost his entire supply of silver bullets. Rowana would need to know. Grant knew he’d been testing her patience by manufacturing it, and he also knew he’d been artificially limiting supply for kindred in the entire city by setting himself up as the sole provider of Grant’s Sure-Stop’em Bullets (a nomenclature their old friend Olivetti had happily invented when they went into business together).
Over the phone, Grant confesses to Rowana that the silver bullets he crafted have been stolen. She is furious. “After all the work I’ve done cultivating lupine allies and NOW you tell me that you’ve been manufacturing silver bullets which have been stolen! What the fuck am I supposed to tell Jack?!” she yells. Grant growls back, “Bitch! Where have you been? It’s no secret the Carthians have silver bullets and that I’m the one making them. Maybe you should spend more time listening at the Dialogues rather than dreaming of hunting grounds!” She growled back, “What? How long? Damn you, you idiot! You don’t know what you’ve done.” Grant rasped into the phone, “Oh I know, I know well. What do you think would have happened if I hadn’t jumped on the opportunity to insert myself into Olivetti’s dream of providing all the Invictus with silver bullets?! Besides, you’re forgetting, not all werewolves are as friendly as Jack’s pack” – perhaps she should “remember the lupines I had to face down outside the house in Northwest Philly when you guys were playing tug’o’war over Nixi figurines?” Rowana calls Jack. The werewolf is apoplectic at the news, even moreso when she informs him they do not yet know who stole the bullets.
When she finishes the conversation with Jack she notices that she, Deep Throat, and Tyler are arriving at Pennypack Park. Apparently Deep Throat had learned Hektor’s whereabouts from one of the ghouls at the bar. The coterie made their way in and were greeted by a half-dozen shockingly armed Sons of Prium. One of them started posturing with Elijah almost instantly, gleefully and nervously. “Hey man! Fuck you! Get your pencil prick outta hear!” Elijah raised his eyebrows and looked to Tyler. Tyler did his best to calm him down, eventually suggesting the coterie step away while he spoke to Hektor.
There he learned that Hektor had indeed stolen all the arms, and now Hektor asked for a teensy, weensy favor: just let him go, let him deliver the stolen goods to Daniel Gagnier, and don’t involve Grant. Tyler tried to explain, “Look I know that Grant can be an imbecile sometimes, but you’re asking me to betray the trust of one of my coterie mates. Just relax. You’re clearly in a mess here, and we can help, but you’ve got to let me call Grant here-”
“No way man! No way! I’m sure Grant’s a sold guy. I hear he is. But I hear stories. He’s a scary motherfucker. I can’t have him here. No way, no how. Look Tyler, it can’t be that hard. Just tell him we were packed and going. It was too late. Tell him whatever. I can’t have the Carthian Sheriff here.”
Tyler scowled and watched him go. He returned to talk things over with the coterie. A half hour later they were on conference call and Grant was calmly saying, “I see…OK, I understand. You did what you had to do. But, just checking, does anyone else have a problem with this: we just handed over a massive arsenal to Ambroise while all the while weakening the Carthians – and the Anarch Collective at the same time – one of the only balancing forces in the city?”
Deep Throat said, “Please, if Ambroise wanted military arms, he’d pay for it, not steal it. You don’t know Invictus resources.”
“Shit Deep Throat, don’t give me that. This shit’s illegal. I don’t care how much dough he has, people start looking when you start taking it.”
Deep Throat responded with, “Invictus has plenty of influence for that too.” But they didn’t have much time to argue, and Grant wasn’t really that angry over a lost rocket launcher. He suspected there were bigger concerns afoot. And so there was…
The coterie received a simultaneous text message from Edee saying there was an armored van sighted moving down Broad Street, and she suspects it’s heading toward The Falcon Perch. The Black Doves jumped on their bikes, flew to the air, got in their cars, and scattered.
Tyler, in bat form, arrived just moments before everyone else and saw the van. It was heading at top speed directly for the Falcon Perch’s front steps, only a block away. He transformed quickly and pulled out his hello kitty buddy, the assault rifle. Moments later a full clip of bullets sprayed the side of the van. Drawn by the gunfire, Grant raced his bike at top speed through a red light. Swerving into the main street with a committed twist, he leaned into the bike, aiming it straight at the van unwaveringly. At the last second he slid it directly into the underside of the van, rolling off it with a grunt. The van hit the bike at a perfect angle, launching into the air -but not before it clipped Grant on the shoulder with all its mass. The crunch was resounding and sent Grant sprawling the other way.
In a flash, with the van still mid-air, Elijah ran with blinding speed, leaped into the air impossibly, and grabbed the rocket launcher hanging out of the passenger side window. Deep Throat ran from the other directions and shot at the van’s driver, even as the van began to turn over, and Rowana saw a car about to crash into the van with an unknown amount of explosives in it. Thinking quickly, she slapped down on the hood of the car with all her might and flipped it up and back down safely, even as she flew in the opposite direction from the force.
The van crashed into the steps of the Falcon Perch with ear-splitting damage, ripping the stairs and fender and mailbox apart.
Slowly everyone picked themselves up. Grant brushed himself off, Rowana rolled over loosely, and hopped up. She came to check Grant, and he nodded appreciatively and casually at her. They investigated the van with a cursory scan. They agreed to go in quickly before authorities arrived.
Elijah walks up alongside the coterie. “You should hit Gagnier as soon as his complicity is confirmed. I should think that any action take against any member of the Marble House, against any of Ambroise’s goons, will be assumed as a retaliation sourced from us; cloak-and-dagger is unnecessary and could compromise our advantage. This is essentially total war, and we should treat it as such—speed is critical.” He gives Grant a pointed look, “We are going to need to be ruthless—there is no salvaging humanity in any of this. Are you prepared for that?”
Before Grant has a chance to answer, Elijah checks his watch and hurriedly excuses himself from the group, citing vaguely an appointment with a patient he can’t miss.