After taking a breather and filling up on Essence, Dev talks to the heads of the GGG. They seem nice enough, though I’m pretty sure we could take ‘em if we had to. But we’re playing nice right now, so let’s go with that.
A spirit scouting for the GGG reports two Ivory Talons chasing out World’s Largest and some of his pals into the woods and are leading an assault against them. That’s not good since we’re allies, sorta.
Luc and Cornell take off to help them out, while the rest of us stick around here. Those two should make for an interesting team-up.
Once we leave our hosts, Dev lets us in on some info. Wincottt is related to Dev, by blood — his uncle or something. Dev never knew him, never heard about him. Apparently his mom kept a lot to herself. He’s pretty sure Wincott is telling the truth, having no reason to lie.
Dev seems more embarrassed than anything, so Brook and I back him up, agreeing he’s a Storm Lord, and nothing like Wincott.
“This guy is powerful, like Braggart is powerful,” Devlin says. “That’s not what concerns me. We don’t know anything about him, we don’t know the size of his pack, or how powerful they are. My main concern is he’s entrenched himself in the military, and has these machines at his bidding. He seems to have a lot of Wolf-Blooded soldiers.”
“We’re not ceding our territory. But until we can separate him from his war machine, we can’t take him on. We take Stretch’s advice, we take his words at face value, for now, because it appears everyone is under siege. If we help our allies become stronger, then in turn, we become stronger too. Our number-one priority is to dismantle Wincottt’s war machine.”
Brook and I nod. We need to learn as much as we can about his Marine division, and find a way to pull them back.
Brook goes, “His war machine is American military. He’s breaking a lot of rules.”
Dev agrees, “Which means no one is paying attention to where this money is going, or he has some friends. Whatever it is, we have to find a way to reverse that. We need someone who has more authority to pull his units back.”
Brook suggests going to the press, but since everything is fractured now, word might not spread fast enough.
“For now,” Dev says, “We head down to San Jose, do what we can to help out. For now.”
So we ride to San Jose, ending up at “Santa Clara Paintball.” We spot a few families hanging out, and a rather large looking lady who sticks out like a sore thumb. Most likely a bodyguard of some kind.
Behind the front counter is an athletic woman in a tank top and jeans, who waves us over. She classes up the joint. Turns out she’s the contact Stretch told Dev about, Brigid Sayuri.
Brook can feel heat radiating off the girl, like a warm summer day.
Turns out her problem is this: “A Mexican motorcycle club called Los Malditos has been passing through San Jose and back once a month. Every time they come through, meth heads have an easier time getting a fix. And they pay for everything in silver.”
Apparently that’s a thing now, folks going back to paying with precious metal. Why’d it have to be silver…?
Brigid continues: “So what I need is a bunch of hard-asses to intercept the drugs and coins. The drugs are more important. Then once we figure out who’s making the meth the bikers are distributing, we’ll need help to take them down. I need someone to bloody their noses, grab some meth, and bring it back to me.“
Dev asks whether the club are “special” like us, or whether Brigid is of the people. No to both. Brook deduces though, that Brigid and the large guard are most like fairies.
Huh. Who knew fairies were a thing?
Following some negotiation on payment, including connecting us with some people in government, we head down the 17 to prepare an ambush.
A few hours after dark, we spot five tough-looking guys on bikes headed our way. Brook begins the siege with some Iron Treachery, causing them to swerve and spot us.
While the boys have their fun, I start to do a smash and grab, getting their gear away from them, hoping the currency & drugs are in them.
At one point we hear a shot fired from the distance, hitting one of the vatos before they could wail on Brook.
After a scuffle that ends with most of the bikers dead (hey, they pulled heir guns first) we search their bags. We find some weed, heroin and more importantly the silver coins, stamped with a skull on one side and a spade on the other.
But no meth.
Brook comes up with the idea to check their gas tanks. Sure enough we find several tubes filled with crystal. We head back to the trailer park Brigid set up for us.
While we were off running our errand, Walter kept busy making phone calls at an office Brigid took him to. Turns out Sheriff Rodgers isn’t exactly happy about the occupation Ukiah. He says he and the mayor have a daily meeting with Colonel Miller, and officially, the Marines are in town “due to the state of emergency caused by the shanty town.” Refugee Town has been surrounded by barbed wire, and though they used some of the union guys to build it, no one has been allowed to leave.
The sheriff admits the Marines have been well behaved, for the most part. Some of his people have noticed several of the command staff has been spotted repeatedly places they have no reason to be, including near the Union Hall, the redwood tree filling station and various parks. They go in, stay a while, then come back out. Looking for Loci, no doubt.
Walter calls the garage, to check up on our people. A stern sounding woman picks up, and quick as a fox, Walter disguises his voice, to ask about getting his car serviced.
“The garage is currently closed.” Hang up.Before he can call back, a knock at Walter’s office door makes him look up. An older gentleman,
a gaunt fellow of sixty-something with a cane. He has keen eyes and a hooked, once-broken nose. His once-blonde hair is now very pale yellow, and he sports thick eyebrows and permanent stubble. He dresses in khakis, loafers, and button-down shirts.. Of course his jacket elbows are patched.
“Hello. My name is Peter Forsythe, Brigid’s father. I’m a professor of Japanese studies and history at San Jose State.”
Walter feels the intense heat of a midsummer day radiating off Forsythe.
They have quite a bit in common, and spend some time together, and Forsythe suggests Walter learn to defend himself if he plans to pal around with rough characters like us.
The next day, as we arrive back at the paintball place, we see a girl with her hair pinned back like rabbit ears riding off on a bike, a hunting rifle strapped to her back. Dev asks about her, and it turns out it was our mystery sniper from the night before.
Showing Brigid the goods, she confirms the coins are pure silver. She studies the imprints on the coins and suggests we check out the library to learn more about the symbols. Tells us she’ll be going to talk to the woman in charge of pushing crank around these parts, and she’ll be grateful for the tip. We tag along, while Walter heads to the library to do some research.
At the library, he learns the symbols go back to the Dakota territories, to when mine owners used to print chit to pay the workers. This obviously wasn’t looked well upon since specific chit would only be accepted at specific mine stores, and owners could keep their workers forever in debt.
He also finds out out the machine used to make these new coins is called the Deadwood Press, and that an article about it was recently written by Alicia Tildon, who works at the Numismatics Department at San Jose State. Walter decides to pay her a visit.
Walter looks for his new pal, Professor Forsythe, to help point him in the right direction. He arrives at the expert’s office and sees feet twitching on the floor behind a desk. He slolwy walks towards them and finds a brunette laying in a spreading pool of blood, her throat savagely torn apart.
He hears running outside the office and he gives chase, as the lights in the building go out. Walter runs into the hallway, but is ambushed and slammed into a row of lockers. A bald Hispanic man with a tattooed tattooed scalp, wearing a biker cut, mouth dripping with blood.
“Looking into the wrong coins, old man!” The vato bares his fangs.
Walter sets himself “on fire” causing the vamp to scream in terror, flinging the illusioned up Walter away. Walter shifts into fox form, zips into an open file cabinet and hides. The vampire comes searching, but Walter leaps out of a window, landing in a tree as the vamp follows.
Walter goes invisible and watches as the vampire meets up with Professor Forsythe. The professor doesn’t seem at all distressed to see a bloody vampire hanging around, and instead insults the creature. The vamp curses at the professor and attacks. He leaps at Forsythe, and has his head hacked off in one clean swipe.
The flicks cleans the blood from his sword, sheathes it in his cane, shakes his head and goes, “The people we let into this school..”
Walter shows himself to Forsite and together they find a file in Alicia’s office entitled “Deadwood Press.” Watler quickly goes through it and sees that a collector named Murch purchased the press, and is currently living in Needles, on the California/Arizona/Nevada Border. Forsythe gives Walter a ride back to the pack.
Brigid leads us to the suburbs of Santa Cruz, where we pull up to a house with several attractive black guys hanging out, some gardening, some reading text books. A pretty teenage girl comes out to greet us. She takes us to the backyard where there’s a huge BBQ shindig going down.
A large black woman walks up with a giant bowl of coleslaw. In a Caribbean accent, she welcomes us to eat, calling herself Mama Crystal.
Nicest drug lord in town, I’ll tell you what.
Mama Crystal and Dev talk potential partnership, the rest of us chowing down. As we do, the power goes out all around the neighborhood.
That’s my cue and I melt into the darkness.
Shots ring out, coming from the surrounding woods. Everyone leaps into action, including the party goers. Tables are turned for cover, everyone pulls guns from all manner of hiding places. Mama Crystal reaches under her sink and grabs a shotgun as someone kicks in the front door.
A guy who looks like one of Los Malditos rushes up the hill, jumps the fence, and leaps a good twelve feet onto the roof of the house, while the leader of the Los Malditos ride from last night — the guy we thought we killed — charges into the house.
Dev shifts into Dalu and charges at the leader, who flashes his fangs. I eviscerate the leeches as Brook fires shots into them. Dev finishes the job by throwing the last standing vamp into the BBQ Pit, watching as it thrashes and screams.
Mama Crystal stands by Devs side, pumps her shotgun and says “I’m gonna have a word with Mr. Staggart.”