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Old 07-19-2017, 10:09 PM   #181
tshiggins
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

(...continued)

Carlos leapt up to the driver’s side with unexpected ease and agility, as the rest of the group decided to jog ahead, except for Aurelia, who decided to stay in the carriage with Doña Eva and Sebastiàn, and engage them in polite conversation. She deduced (correctly, as it turned out) that the two vampires would behave themselves so long as they believed the party would help them reach safety in the new world. Randy clambered to the top of the carriage and rode alongside Carlos.

Despite the chill of the mid-March evening, the streets of Santa Fe remained quite busy and, even though Carlos mostly stuck to side-streets with few gaslights, the sheer size of the carriage made it impossible to completely conceal and it drew a few stares. However, no one tried to stop it, and the carriage left Santa Fe and reached the site of the concealed buggies before 9 p.m.

There, Jimmy waited with some trepidation, which proved a bit prophetic when the carriage doors opened and Sebastiàn emerged. The vampire spotted Jimmy, immediately, and sauntered over to the former “guest” of his mistress and bid him a superficially pleasant “buenas noches.”

Sebastiàn expressed surprise that “James” would “care enough” to accompany “the mistress,” given how rudely he’d left their company, several months past. After all, Sebastiàn noted, James had seemed to enjoy the ministrations of the mistress, at least, during his time there.

Jimmy replied that Sebastiàn’s understanding of matters had been “clearly mistaken” (which Jimmy said he found “hardly surprising”) and bluntly told the vampire to steer clear of him for the duration of the trip. Jimmy also said to remember who, exactly, was doing the favor for whom, in the situation. Moreover, the red-headed young man noted that he had passed through the portal, himself, several times, now, and that had implications Sebastiàn should probably keep in mind.

Somewhat taken aback by the former slave’s confident demeanor, Sebastiàn forced a laugh and returned to the carriage. Claudia decided to join Randy up on top, with Carlos, instead of inside, and Aurelia took the wheel of one of the buggies.

The group decided that A.J., in his fast vehicle, would scout ahead, while Stephen, the best shot, would remain well to the rear of the carriage and cover the back-trail. Meanwhile, Aurelia and Henrietta would stay pretty close to the carriage, since the placid percherons didn’t seem startled by the rattle and engine noise of the buggies.

After a brief debate, the group decided not to cut the telegraph lines, as that would immediately draw attention to their general area – especially since the newspaper stories seemed to indicate the Spanish suspected (probably correctly, at least in some cases) the actions of American saboteurs.

The group chafed a bit at the slow pace of the percherons, but both Jimmy and Henrietta observed that the animals actually made steady, decent progress – especially given the bulk of the carriage. As morning approached, the carriage had traveled more than 20 miles into the farming hinterlands west of Santa Fe, and the group decided they’d traveled enough – especially given that no one had any sleep since the previous night.

The party found a copse of scrub oak in a wash off the main road and pulled in to rest. Then, A.J. and Claudia approached DoñaEva and said that, while the horses had done well, they needed to make better time. With that in mind, A.J. said he wanted to examine whether or not a buggy could be rigged to tow the carriage, as that would make better time than the horses.

DoñaEva expressed some doubts, but when told the present pace would push right up against the deadline of the closure of the portal after the Spring equinox, she agreed they should give it a try. However, she said any such would could not, under any circumstances, threaten the structure of the carriage and that Carlos would not permit them to continue if he felt that it might. With that, she and Sebastiàn retired to the inside of the carriage, and the group soon heard the sound of heavy bolts.

The party gobbled down a quick breakfast (Carlos politely declined) and then caught a few hours of sleep. At about mid-day, A.J. and Claudia (the two engineers) and Jimmy (with some experience as a teamster) decided to examine the carriage to see if they could devise a way to hitch a buggy.

A.J. crawled underneath to check out the carriage, and found what was likely a quite modern suspension (by the retarded standards of this world, anyway) holding up a solid hard-wood chassis heavily reinforced with steel brackets. Pleasantly surprised, he called Claudia down to take a look, and the two agreed the carriage could probably take the higher speed of the buggies with little difficulty – at least for the three days, or so, it would take to reach Dark Canyon.

During the examination, Jimmy mentioned that, during his time with the vampires, DoñaEva had three companions – Arturo, Rodrigo and Sebastiàn. Jimmy said he understood that Arturo had gone to the other side of the portal to prepare a place for his mistress, and Sebastiàn had clearly come along on this trip, but he wondered what had happened to Rodrigo?

With that, the trio got to work. It helped that Beatrice had taken a cue from A.J.’s design and welded numerous loops and connectors to the frame of her heavy-duty truck-bed buggy, and the hitching hardware on the carriage offered decent attachment points. By the end of the day, the trio had managed to rig a decent set of tow-lines and things looked good.

The group ate another meal, broke camp, led the percherons down to a stream and left them there, after they’d discussed matters with DoñaEva. She looked to Carlos for his opinion and, when he expressed cautious optimism about the arrangement, she agreed to travel in a buggy-drawn carriage.

At that point, Henrietta asked about Rodrigo. DoñaEva cocked an eyebrow at Jimmy, and replied that, at Don Maximo’s insistence, her third companion had accompanied the sorcerer’s goods on the long train ride south, so they need have no concern for him. Henrietta asked if Rodrigo might become upset that Eva had abandoned him, and choose to throw in fully with Don Maximo. Doña Eva laughed and said they needn’t fear any such thing, since Rodrigo would always love her.

With some careful driving, the group made nearly two hundred miles, that night, and by the next morning found themselves on the other side of the mountains, approaching the high desert. Another evening found them well along the Camino Real del Norte, paralleling this world’s version of the Colorado River.

As dawn approached, A.J. roared ahead to check out the ford across the river, at the site of what would be Moab in their world. He found it quiet, with the Ute trading camp unoccupied and not recently disturbed.

The former NASA engineer motored back to the main party, and after a quick palaver, the group decided they’d pull up a bit early, and not try the ford until they’d had plenty of rest. At mention of the ford, Carlos seemed a bit disconcerted, and asked if there weren’t a bridge to cross. When told there wasn’t, he seemed a bit upset, and shortly after dark the party noted him in earnest conversation with DoñaEva.

The vampire approached the group and expressed her gratitude (and frank surprise) at the speed of the trip, and inquired when they would reach “the bridge.” A bit nonplussed, Henrietta asked what she meant by, “the bridge” since (as far as they knew) the Rio Grande del Norte had no such span anywhere along its length.

Noticeably disturbed, DoñaEva said that, when she’d traveled to the portal at the “request” of Don Maximo, the previous year, he had used his magics to construct a temporary stone bridge across the river, and that had allowed her to cross.

Henrietta asked her to explain what she meant by that, and a frustrated and increasingly annoyed DoñaEva said that vampires had “difficulty” crossing running water and, if the group truly were the mages they claimed to be, then they would already know that. After all, Don Maximo certainly had, DoñaEva said, and he’d taken great pains to make sure a bridge existed that allowed her to cross the river with little discomfort.

DoñaEva further noted that while it was possible for her to “achieve a condition” that would allow her to cross the river under her own power, she found the process terribly distasteful and had no desire to do so, if she could possibly avoid it. However, she said that Sebastiàn was “too young” to do such a thing, himself, and she wouldn’t leave him behind.

Caught a bit flatfooted, the group explained they had no way to build such a bridge (especially on such short notice), but A.J. noted that he had an idea that might work, and that he’d have it ready by the following evening. Mollified, Sebastiàn and Doña Eva retired to the carriage as the eastern sky began to turn pale, above the mountains.

(continued...)
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Old 07-19-2017, 10:12 PM   #182
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

(...continued)

The group pitched camp and had some breakfast, and then rested for a few hours. However, shortly before noon, A.J. took drove his buggy the 20 miles to the ford, splashed across it, and roared away toward Dark Canyon. Several hours later, he drove back into camp with the disassembled ultralight carefully packed in its trailer.

A.J. and Stephen got busy assembling the small aircraft, and as the sun sank low above the western desert, Stephen decided to give it a try. The former Marine Corps pilot soon revved the engine up and, with the unmistakable roaring whine of a two-stroke engine, rolled it north along the camino and took to the skies.

Carlos watched in utter amazement at the sight, and A.J. said the ultralight could easily carry DoñaEva and Sebastiàn across the river, albeit one at a time. The carriage driver watched with increasing skepticism, even as Stephen brought the tiny aircraft down for a perfect, three-point landing on the camino real, and insisted that he try it out, himself, before DoñaEva tried to travel in such a flimsy conveyance.

Stephen shrugged and agreed to take the teamster up for a spin. He had Carlos take the seat next to him, and showed the carriage drive how to strap in. Stephen spun up the engine, once again and trundled along the camino, as Carlos grabbed an aluminum strut in a death grip.

As Stephen pulled back the stick to take off, the right-wing tipped down and the pilot realized that, despite his slight appearance, Carlos actually had to weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 lbs. (159 kg). Stephen shoved the throttle forward and hit pulled the stick to the left, and with some difficulty got the ultralight airborne. He buzzed around, for a while, until Carlos expressed his satisfaction (with some reservations) and shouted that they should land.

Stephen lined up on the camino and brought the ultralight down for a rougher landing, and helped Carlos unbuckle and disembark. As he did so, he noticed the strong aluminum strut to which Carlos had been clinging had been partially crushed by the older man’s grip.

The pilot pointed that out to A.J., and the party realized the truth of what they’d suspected – Carlos was clearly one of DoñaEva’s blood-slaves, and his strength and speed likely matched that of Heck and Izzy. The two men decided to replace the strut, just to be safe, and to caution their next passengers to mind their own strength, while flying over the river.

After sunset, the group advised DoñaEva of the plan and she agreed to go along with it. The party decided to move north during the evening, and then ford the river with the carriage in the pre-dawn light.

The group drove the four buggies north, and arrived at the Ute campsite on the western bank of the river. They knew the area well and settled in for the evening.

As the eastern sky started to turn pale, the group roused themselves and Jimmy and Carlos splashed through the icy waters to pick the best route for the heavy carriage. Meanwhile, A.J., Claudia and the rest of the group started to hook the buggy up to the carriage.

At about that time, the group noticed the heads of DoñaEva and Sebastiàn snap around to look east, followed closely by Carlos’. The trio held preternaturally still, for a moment, but then sprinted silently in that direction, with a burst of tremendous speed.

A few moments later, the group heard shrill cries of terror and pain from up eastward up the valley wall. A few minutes later, several shaken Ute ponies came trotting down the trail, followed within moments by Eva, Sebastiàn and Carlos, all looking satisfied, their flesh flushed and warm-looking.

The group realized immediately what must have happened and, though horrified, decided they could do nothing about it, other than gather up the horses they could find.

Stephen fired up the ultralight and warned Sebastiàn to mind his grip, and within moments flew the younger vampire across the river, noting that proper vampires seemed to weigh much less than a blood-slave. He returned, glided to a landing, and helped DoñaEva strap in.

As he took off, the vampire reached over with her left hand and placed it gently, feather-light, on his right forearm. However, the short hop took place uneventfully, and Stephen landed the ultralight without difficulty.

The group then turned their attention to the carriage, which was about ready. A.J. drove a buggy across the river and turned it around, while a second buggy, driven by Aurelia (the best driver) began to inch across the sandy, rocky ford with the heavy carriage in tow.

Jimmy and Carlos splashed through the ford alongside the carriage to monitor its progress. The two other buggies remained on the west bank, for the moment.

That proved providential, as the carriage reached a point in mid-stream, and the left front wheel suddenly sank a foot into some soft sand, and the heavy vehicle began to tip. Carlos rushed over, braced his shoulder against the tipping carriage, and grunted as he took the weight. He told Jimmy he could hold it, but not for long, and said the group needed to “do something!”

A.J. shouted to unhitch the buggy from the carriage, and that Aurelia should drive it up to park next to him. She got out and helped Jimmy undo the cables, while A.J. backed the second buggy up to large rock and dashed around it with an anchor line. By the time he had the second buggy secured, Aurelia had driven up and he helped her do the same to her buggy, using a sturdy tree.

After that, the two released the locks on the heavy winches mounted to the fronts of the buggies, and splashed out into the river. Claudia and Jimmy secured Aurelia’s cable to a hook on the right side, while A.J. drenched himself in cold water to lash his cable to the tongue of the carriage.

The three made their way back to the buggies, and Aurelia and A.J. carefully applied power to the winches. Aurelia’s stabilized the carriage and pulled it (more or less) upright, while A.J.s began to drag it toward the eastern shore. Within about 30 minutes, the banged-up carriage, streaming water from the floor of the passenger compartment, edged up the eastern bank, and the group heard a smattering of applause.

They looked up the bank and saw DoñaEva, Sebastiàn, Heck and Izzy, watching the proceedings with interest.

Eva congratulated them on a job well done, and then she and Sebastiàn clambered entered the wet carriage, for the day. Heck and Izzy introduced themselves to Carlos, and the trio of blood-slaves retired to themselves to compare notes, as the party changed into dry clothes and started a fire to warm up some drinks, before heading southwest toward Dark Canyon.

However, as they were about to pack up and move on, they saw six Utes on ponies across the river. Dreading what was about to happen, they hailed the friendly Indians, who rode across the ford to join them.

After a few curious glances at the carriage (Izzy, Heck and Carlos had suddenly vanished…), the leader of the Utes recognized Henrietta and asked if she’d seen the traders who came to see them, earlier in the day.

Henrietta decided to stick mostly to the truth, and said they’d heard a commotion off to the west, but it had ended before the group could do anything. They’d gathered up the terrified ponies (which the Utes had already noticed) but had seen no other survivors.

The distressed Indians asked the group to help them search for the missing people, and the party agreed. They headed up the trail to the east, and soon reached the site of what they soon realized (good Tracking rolls) had been a vicious ambush. They found where someone (probably Carlos) had stood in the trail between two tall rocks, and then noticed the faint scratches from bootheels where Sebastiàn and Doña Eva had leapt to the top of the sandstone spires.

The space between the rocks showed signs of a violent attack and panicked horses, and the group decided to check a grove of aspen and pines growing nearby. The party and the Utes spread out into a search line, and entered the grove.

A few minutes later, Claudia felt something wet patter down on her shoulder, and she looked up to see the body of a Ute trader, throat torn out, wedged in the fork of a tree.

The physicist shouted and tried not to puke, as the rest of the group came running. The Utes looked up, saw the body, and the two of the six immediately collapsed in horror and grief. One of the remaining Utes explained that the man had been the brother of one and the father of the other.

The party quickly found the other three bodies, and helped their relatives retrieve them from the trees. Henrietta and Jimmy went back to the camp and brought out the trading ponies, their loads intact, and the grieving Utes carefully wrapped the bodies of the murdered traders in some of the best blankets.

Henrietta expressed the party’s condolences and asked if they could do anything more, but the Utes declined and said they needed to return their friends to their families, as soon as possible.

As the Utes rode away, Jimmy looked at the group and said, “This is what you’re about to unleash on your world.”

(continued...)
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Old 07-19-2017, 10:13 PM   #183
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

(...continued)

Heartsick at the carnage, but unwilling to break their word (even when given to monsters), the group trudged back to camp, packed up everything, and reached the mouth of the dry wash that led to the cliff-dwelling base-camp by the end of the day. There, they told DoñaEva that the carriage would stand out too much on the other side, and probably couldn’t make it through the narrow cave on the far side, anyway, which meant they couldn’t take it through when the portal opened, the next day.

The vampire said she understood, and asked the group to tow it down to the box canyon at the portal entrance, on this side. The group did so, and she and Sebastiàn emerged and began to mount the stone steps Izzy and Heck and constructed, that led to the walled outer shelf in front of the cave.

Eva stopped at the top, and without a word, the two Apaches and Carlos immediately went inside and began to clean the place. The group left them to it, and returned to their base camp.

The next evening, the group packed up their gear in the four buggies, stashed everything they planned to leave, and made their way down to the box canyon. A.J. drove his light buggy in the front, followed by Randy at the wheel of the second vehicle (with Jimmy a passenger), then Henrietta (with Stephen riding shotgun) and Aurelia (with Claudia).

As A.J. edged down the steep, sandy slope into the box canyon, he saw DoñaEva, flanked by Sebastiàn, at the near-end of the walled shelf, with the three bloodslaves standing at the far side. Each of them had their attention riveted in the direction of the portal. Alarmed, A.J. held up his fist to stop the other three vehicles, and then edged his buggy up a bit so he could assess the situation.

Once he’d moved forward about five yards, he could see clearly into the box canyon, and noted that a well-dressed, older Spanish gentleman stood alone on the sand, confronting DoñaEva. He immediately surmised this had to be Don Maximo, and warned the rest of the group.

In response, Randy pulled up next to him, while Aurelia decided to flank around to the left and Henrietta drove toward DoñaEva. The archaeologist pulled up below the shelf, popped the hatch in the bulletproof glass at the top of the buggy’s roll-cage, and asked DoñaEva what she planned to do. As she did so, Stephen took careful aim with his assault rifle, through the glass at the Spanish sorcerer.

A.J. readied his crossbow in case things went sideways, and popped the hatch because his weapon couldn’t fire through the glass. In the next buggy, Randy watched Don Maximo intently, as Jimmy drew the Colt Python .357 magnum he’d purchased during his time in the modern world.

Don Maximo heard Henrietta’s words and, despite her sex, decided she must be the group’s spokesperson because she had addressed DoñaEva in Spanish. The sorcerer said the American mages had treated him dishonorably by slipping into his city without so much as a greeting or a by-your-leave, created all sorts of problems for him with the local authorities, and then had suborned one of his sworn clients. As such, he demanded satisfaction from them, or he would punish them for their rudeness.

While he’d spoken, A.J. and Jimmy had slipped on some night-vision goggles, and taken a quick look around. They noted no less than six riflemen arrayed around the top of the box canyon. A.J. rose up through the hatch and took aim at one, and Jimmy did the same from his buggy.

DoñaEva made no response to Henrietta, and the archaeologist realized the vampire had no intention of taking sides until she saw how the inevitable fight would go. Frustrated, she told Don Maximo to clear out, as they had no intention of acceding to his demands, and he was blocking their way.
Don Maximo spat on the ground, drew a two-foot rod of polished wood from beneath his coat, and made a circular motion in front of him with his left hand, palm out. Heavy slugs from the riflemen slammed into the canopies of the buggies driven by A.J. and Henrietta, starring the bullet-proof glass. Aurelia dropped her buggy into gear and made for the cave entrance, A.J. shot a rifleman with his crossbow, and Jimmy opened up on another with his .357, but missed because of the range.

Henrietta popped off a few rounds at Don Maximo, but even though she thought one should have hit, the sorcerer escaped harm and she realized he’d probably cast a spell to cause the bullets to veer away. Seeing this, Randy popped the clutch, slammed the accelerator to the floor, and his buggy sprayed sand and gravel as it accelerated straight at Don Maximo.

Nonplussed, the sorcerer paused in amazement for a second, but then pointed the rod at the oncoming buggy – just as Stephen’s carefully aimed shot blew the top half of the magical instrument to splinters (critical hit). The bottom half went spinning away in the direction of the portal entrance at the far side of the box canyon.

With a whoop, Randy bore down on Don Maximo, only to see him blink out of existence as the buggy roared through the space where he had been. A surprised Randy immediately noticed the Spaniard reappear about nine yards to the left and begin to run for the shards of the rod.

Without missing a beat. Randy braked and skidded left, to give chase, as Henrietta shouted for him to not block shots from her and Stephen. Aurelia, meanwhile, raced toward the cave entrance so as to try to get ahead of Don Maximo.

As the riflemen struggled to reload their weapons, Jimmy continued to blast away at them and A.J. dropped back down into the buggy to re-cock his crossbow. Over in Aurelia’s buggy, Claudia pulled out her bolo, with the vague notion of smacking Don Maximo with it if he got close.

Over in Henrietta’s buggy, Stephen remembered what he’d learned about the “miss me” spell, found a panel of glass that hadn’t been damaged by incoming fire, and peered through the scope. He and Henrietta both tapped out three shots each, and the fleeing sorcerer flopped to the ground in mid-stride.

At that moment, DoñaEva smiled, spoke in Spanish, and Sebastiàn, Carlos, Heck and Izzy leapt to the top of the canyon walls. The riflemen began to die.

Aurelia’s buggy ground to a halt next to Don Maximo’s prone form, and she and Claudia jumped out to check his vitals. Relieved to find him still alive, although badly wounded and unconscious, the two women surmised his healing spells had likely saved and stabilized him. So, they stripped him down, removing any jewelry and bangles.

Once they got his shirt off, they saw several temporary tattoos on his chest, and Aurelia went after them with a dish-scrubbing pad as Claudia rummaged through the back of the buggy and came up with some duct tape.

Within 30 minutes, or so, they’d trussed up the Spanish sorcerer thoroughly, and deposited him in the back of their buggy. Meanwhile, the sated blood-slaves (plus Sebastiàn) had returned and retrieved several heavy trunks from the carriage. The group lashed the luggage to trailers, bid adieu to Heck and Izzy (leaving them to clean up the mess), and began to putter their way through the portal passage toward Beatrice, waiting on the other side.

The group stopped short of the portal area, proper, as A.J. turned off his gasoline engine, disconnected the battery, and stowed it in a lead box. He hooked the winch cable to the back of one of the buggies in front, and the group rolled slowly forward.

As the mists rose around them, they heard delighted voice say something in Korean, and glistening white tentacles looped out of the gloom... headed toward DoñaEva.

A.J. immediately grabbed for some bags of salt, as the rest of the group readied for a fight, but then Henrietta heard Sebastiàn shout, in Spanish, “What betrayal is this?!”

The party had not warned Doña Eva about the rape spirit, which now sought to possess the powerful, beautiful and seductive vampire.

With that, the session came to an end.

##

Funny Quotes

Aurelia (growing excited, as Henrietta reads through the news stories in La Gaceta de Sante Fe, about possible American saboteurs): Know what our cover’s gonna be, when we steal a dirigible?
Stephen: Hope you’ve got good forgery.
[b}Aurelia[/b]: Yep, I do!

A.J.: We’re deep in enemy territory, and we don’t want the Spanish and the vampires after us.
(Jimmy opens his duster to reveal he has carved some wooden stakes, and is wearing a large silver cross.)
Henrietta: He’s got the wooden stuff, so he’s coming with us!
(A.J. drops his forehead to the table.)

Aurelia (just before the group politely knocks on the door of the vampire lair): Why don’t I trust this?
Dave C. (OOC): Because this is the worst idea in the history of the world, ever?

Aurelia: I don’t think it’s a good idea to **** on her generosity.
Henrietta: I just heard the word, “wine.”
Dave C.: Because accepting gifts from vampires is the best idea, ever.

(Doña Eva declares that the vampires cannot cross the running water, and expect the party to Do Something.)
Jimmy: Aww.
Henrietta: No help from Jimmy, on the right…

Jimmy (carefully tracking what happened to the Utes in the ambush): Chupacabra. In heels. And Mrs. Chupacabra….
Stephen: It’s the whole Chupacabra family!
Aurelia: That’s not so far from the truth….

Stephen: In case of an emergency, your seat can be used as a flotation device!

A.J. (sees Aurelia drive like mad toward the portal entrance): She panicked.
Henrietta: I think she did.
Aurelia: I don’t panic!

##
__________________
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Old 07-22-2017, 09:48 PM   #184
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

High Lonesome News
“The Rest of the West”

Taverner challenges McShane will
By Brooke Greene

PAONIA, COLORADO – Harold J. Taverner, owner of the Gunnison Supply Depot chain, declared his intent to challenge the last will and testament of JoBeth Catherine McShane, owner of the Café Nepenthe occult store and Nova Nepenthe recreational marijuana supply, in Grand Junction.

Taverner is a first cousin of McShane, murdered by kidnappers in October of last year. Sheriff’s deputies in Grand County, Utah, discovered McShane’s body several days after McShane’s car was found, abandoned, on the shoulder of Highway 191, north of Moab.

Neither police nor federal investigators have made any arrests, although one of the alleged kidnappers, Alvin Carr of Dallas, Texas, was found dead following an altercation with a friend of McShane’s, Beatrice Lawrence, of Moab.

Lawrence suffered critical injuries in the incident, and currently serves probation for interference in a federal investigation, following a plea.

Attorney Joseph Connelly, of Grand Junction, filed an intent to challenge McShane’s will on behalf of her cousin, in Colorado’s Mesa County District Court, on Monday, March 23.

According to Connelly, Taverner expressed concern that his cousin’s businesses have attracted drug users and other “undesirables” to the Western Slope. Although business records indicate both Café Nepenthe and Nova Nepenthe made profits every year, Connelly said, Taverner felt liquidation of the businesses would “serve the community best.”

“The death of Mr. Taverner’s cousin under such terrible circumstances indicates the seedy nature of the businesses she controlled,” Connelly said. “While Ms. McShane’s death was a tragedy, he hopes it can serve as a wake-up call for those who value our traditional western values of family, community and hard work.”

Krystal Swan, named as inheritor of both of McShane’s businesses, has served as manager of Café Nepenthe for nearly 10 years. Swan said that while McShane never had children of her own, she had adopted many members of the Western Slope counterculture as her family. McShane had adopted a “craft name,” in the pagan community as “JoCat Nightshade,” and eventually led two different “covens,” or pagan congregations.

Café Nepenthe opened its doors as a small occult shop in 1983, where it offered a variety of top-quality incense and perfumes, as well as candles, crystals and other items values by the pagan community. However, the business took off in the early 1990s, when it began to offer high-end, organically-grown spices and essential oils attractive to many newcomers to the area, who prospered during the “dot-com” boom.

Eventually, the Café Nepenthe Web site became well-known as a market-place and community center for people throughout the region who sought organic produce and top-shelf, limited production wines and brandies made in local orchards and vineyards. The businesses really took off in 2013, when McShane opened Nova Nepenthe as a distributor of recreational marijuana, following legalization by the Colorado Legislature in 2012.

McShane’s success in the rapidly expanding niche for organic produce and other items sought by recent arrivals to the Western Slope stands in stark contrast to her cousin, Taverner’s, more traditional business model. The chain of Gunnison Supply Depot stores has eight farm and mining supply locations in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Taverner, the son of McShane’s maternal uncle, Herman J. Taverner, is a member of the Colorado Western’s Slope’s “super lobbying” group, Club 20, and a prominent contributor to conservative candidates throughout the Rocky Mountain West.

Although he has declined to seek election to political office, himself, Taverner has been a vocal critic of marijuana legalization and what he calls the “destruction” of the west’s traditional culture in the face of the region’s ongoing economic change.

Taverner gained some attention, in 1991, when he opposed efforts by Solar Energy Global (SEG) to create a training facility for those who wished to learn more about renewable energy, in general, and how to install and maintain solar panels, in particular.

Herman Taverner had originally established Gunnison Supply Depot to serve the coal mines and ranches the valley formed by the North Fork Gunnison River (“North Fork River”). Success in the 1950s and 1960s allowed the chain to expand, and it targeted areas where resource extraction, ranching and farming appeared in close proximity.

The firm began to provide petroleum and natural gas well-head equipment in 2008, and has prospered as a result of the “fracking” boom.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:38 PM   #185
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

We held the last session of Facets, a few weeks back. Since then, I’ve started a new job and spent the better part of a week in St. Louis for training. The first week at he office, here in Denver, has also proven hectic. So, while need oft brooks no delay, late is better than never.

Fortunately, this particular session resembled a Mad Max: Fury Road, in that it largely consisted of a single chase seen that went on for a while. It took a bit of work to play out, but the description of events should be pretty short.

We begin in media res, as the rape spirit pops open the hatch on top of the buggy driven by Randy, while Henrietta pulls out her pistol and reaches for bags of salt.

Characters Present:

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson -- A personable, age 29-and-holding Anthropologist who specializes in the pre-Columbian indigenous people of the American Desert Southwest. A Native of Apache Junction, AZ, "Indiana" is good with people and has been fascinated by American Indian religion and folklore since she was a child. Henrietta speaks Apache fluently, and not-so-secretly wishes archaeology could be more like Raiders of the Lost Ark and less like digging in a trench with a trowel and a toothbrush -- Played by Debbie S.

Dr. Arthur "A.J." Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon sub-developments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house. Considers himself responsible for Sunmi Jones, who is enough of a science-geek that the two of them can actually hold a conversation. -- Played by Anten S.

Aurelia R. Lockrin -- A young woman with a shady past who teaches History at Grand County High School (Home of the Red Devils!), and volunteers for 4CSAR because she's a bit of an adrenalin junkie, and likes the companionship. -- played by Bennie Rae P.

Randy "Random" Shoop -- a twenty-something, semi-pro mountain-bike competitor who has trouble staying focused, but is basically a good and reliable member of the team, with an unexpectedly strong moral character -- Played by Gold & Appel, Inc.

Dr. Belody "Doc" Bascher -- a local veterinarian for both large and small animals, who frequently fixates on her job and uses 4CSAR as her primary social outlet. -- played by Samantha H. (Not available, this session.)

Sunmi Jones -- A Korean-American prodigy and student of chemistry at Utah Valley University, who spent most of her childhood with her deceased mother's family in Korea, but has come to Utah to attend college and work with her father's petroleum exploration firm. Somewhat moe, awkward-but-cute, glasses-wearing nerd girl, who only volunteers with 4CSAR because volunteer work is required for her degree. Recently suffered mental damage after an attack by a spirit of pain and violation, and agreed to become a chwal for the loa Erzuli Dahomey, as a way to replace the negative affects with those more positive. -- Played by Rebecca W. (Away, dancing with a drum & bugle corps until August.)

Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. She recently lost the lower part of her left leg in a fight with a sorcerer from an opposing lodge, and now wears a high-tech prosthetic. A cynic about men, she is accompanied by "Grunt," the biggest, best-trained pit-bull anybody has ever seen (purchased as an ally, and a totally badass dog, even before it was possessed by what appears to be a benign “foo” spirit) -- played by Bernetta W.

Claudia Abigail Tavulari, member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and an old friend of Arthur Jamison’s. The team has been helping Arthur research the portal physics, on the sly. – Played by Tisa T.

Stephen Mack, another member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, a former U.S. Marine Corps test pilot, and outdoors enthusiast. – Played by Jeff T.



NPCs Present

Jimmy Ehrland – A fugitive from the 1918 Colonia de Nova España, on the other side of the portal, he had fled from his vampire mistress, Doña Eva, only to find himself in a strange, alien world to which he must struggle to adapt. -- shifted back to NPC mode, but usually the character available for guest players.

Trooper Frank Moses -- A former Marine who recently quit his job as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), based out of the Section 13 office in Moab, under Lt. Lee Exeter. Moses works with 4CSAR as needed, and has an interest in Doc Bascher. Frank finds himself attracted to what he perceives as the much simpler life on the 1918 side of the portal.

Grunt: Beatrice's ally, a large pit-bull possessed by a protective "foo" spirit. (Finally healed, but remained on the other side of the portal with Beatrice.)

##

The pearlescent white tentacles that extended from the hands of the green-haired figure lashed out at Doña Eva, as Sebastián shouted, “What betrayal is this?!” and grabbed Henrietta by the shoulder in vice-like vampire grip. A tentacle wrapped around Doña Eva’s left wrist, and her eyes immediately began to glaze with lust.

However, before things could get out of control, rammed an open five-pound bag of salt up the school-girl skirt of the rape-spirt, and it recoiled in pain and rage. Randy slammed on the brakes and the embodied spirit tumbled onto the hood and then bounced to the sand, but then nimbly leapt into the air as Randy tried to run it down.

Henrietta shouted to Sebastián that the group had driven off the spirit, last time, in such a way that they’d thought it would stay away. She pulled the hatch closed again, and asked Doña Eva to hold it shut, and apologized for not warning them of the possibility of an attack during what they thought would’ve been a peaceful jaunt through the portal. Doña Eva seemed mollified (at least, temporarily) by the explanation, and she took a firm hold of the hatch as Randy floored the accelerator.

Meanwhile, the other members of the team (except for Claudia, who had apparently fallen asleep in the seat behind A.J., who was driving the buggy in front) had spotted the rape spirit, also. A.J. and Aurelia knew Randy would make like a Meatloaf song and wanted to give him plenty of room to move, so they slammed their accelerators to the floor, as well.

All four wheels of Randy’s buggy sprayed rooster-tails of sand as his tattooed white knuckles (“W I L D R I D E”) gripped the wheel, and he blasted up the narrow stone passage. Behind him, Sebastián shouted a warning, and in the rearview mirror he saw the rape spirit begin to give chase, twitching tentacles streaming out behind her as she screamed in frustrated rage.

Up in the front buggy, Steven popped the hatch and grabbed the shotgun A.J. kept behind the front passenger seat and checked the color of the shells loaded (red shells, steel shot; blue shells, silver shot; green shells, wooden dowels; etc.). Seeing it loaded with yellow, he popped the hatch, stood up, kicked Claudia awake (“Hey!”) and tried draw a bead on the rape spirit.

In the second buggy, Aurelia shifted right as far as she dared, and did her best to keep up with A.J., as Jimmy pulled out his Colt Python .357, loaded with steel-jacketed rounds, and watched out the back window.

At first, the rape spirit was able to gain on Randy, but as he kept the pedal to the medal, the extreme athlete began to pull away. Soon, the buggy’s compression diesel engine howled in anguish as it neared the red-line, and he began to rapidly approach Aurelia. He clipped the back of her buggy as he tried pass, but both drivers managed to retain control despite the sandy ground and the narrowness of the passage, and Randy shot ahead of Aurelia.

That left the archer and the 17-year-old as rear guard. Jimmy took aim at the rape spirit, but decided not to try his luck shooting through the one-way bullet-proof glass, since Aurelia (although not driving with Randy’s manic disregard for his own life) remained well ahead of the screaming entity.

Meanwhile, out at the base camp in 2015 March, Grunt’s ears suddenly pricked up and his nose pointed at the portal entrance. He gave a light “woof,” and stood up, which got Beatrice’s undivided attention.

Able to move better with her spring-metal prosthetic (https://www.ossur.com/prosthetic-sol...utions/cheetah ), Beatrice called Grunt to heel, and the two of them trotted toward up the cavern that led to the passageway between worlds. Once there, the heard the roar of rapidly-approaching diesel engines revving way too fast for the narrow passage.

Realizing that something had gone badly wrong, and surmising it likely had something to do with the rape spirit, Beatrice unslung her scoped .30-06, put her back to the cave near the left side of the entrance, and then peered into the tunnel. Just as she did, Grunt’s head whipped around, back toward the way they’d come, a deep growl rumbling from his throat and the hackles on the back of his neck standing up.

Beatrice quickly looked toward the entrance, and saw the vampire, Arturo, standing at the exit, staring at the foo dog. She called Grunt to heel, and the animal calmed down slightly, but kept himself between her and Arturo as Doña Eva’s minion approached.

(continued...)
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:39 PM   #186
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(...continued)

In accented English, Arturo said something seemed to be wrong, and asked what it might be. Beatrice quickly described the rape spirit, and said they’d thought they’d chased it away. She tossed Arturo a five-pound bag of salt, and the surprised vampire asked if she really meant for him to fight a hostile spirit with table condiments?

Right about then, A.J. started to slow down as rapidly as possible without cracking up, and his buggy popped into the cavern. Steven shouted the news about the rape spirit, as Claudia jumped out of the buggy with a bag of salt. Steven ducked down as A.J. immediately began to drive up the steep, narrow slope that led to the slot canyon, so as to clear out of Randy’s way.

Just as A.J.’s buggy started its climb, Randy roared into the cavern, and they saw him shout at A.J. to hurry. Arturo jumped on top of the vehicle and spread-eagled himself to cover the hatch with his body.

Out in the passage, the third buggy pulled to a stop, and Jimmy jumped out with another bag of salt. Aurelia shouted at him to get ready to pour a thick line of it across the threshold to the cave. Behind them, the rape spirit screamed in triumph when it saw the buggy had stopped, and Claudia started to pour a partial barrier, easier to seal up completely as soon as Aurelia had gotten through.

Cursing loudly, Aurelia scooted her buggy into the cave, just as the spirit came screaming up. Jimmy saw it coming and froze in terror for a second, while Claudia completed the salt line. Jimmy recovered himself, and dove across the line and into the cave.

The rape spirit charged after Jimmy, but slammed to a stop as it tried to cross the salt line, and then Beatrice blew its physical manifestation to vapor with a steel-jacketed bullet fired from her .30-06.

The group scampered up the slope after Aurelia’s buggy, and Claudia poured another salt barrier across it, just to be sure. The trio, plus Grunt, then trotted down the slot canyon to join the rest of the group at the base camp.

There, they found that Henrietta had managed to calm the vampire’s down with a full explanation about the rape spirit. The archaeologist told them that, after whatever now possessed Sunmi had attacked the spirit, they’d assumed the evil entity was either destroyed or banished. However, that had apparently not been the case, and Sunmi hadn’t made the trip, this time.

With that, Arturo reported to Doña Eva that he’d secured transportation to Santa Fe, but that they’d have to reach it before dawn and had several miles to travel. Doña Eva had Arturo and Sebastián take her two large trunks out of the truck bed of Randy’s buggy, and the trio of undead got ready to move out.

A.J. delayed them long enough to give the vampire mistress a burner cell-phone, and Henrietta quickly instructed Doña Eva how to answer when it rang. She also reminded the vampire that, even though she wouldn’t show up on regular film, digital media captured her image just fine and that most cities had security cameras in many places. Doña Eva accepted the phone and the reminder graciously, and the vampires disappeared into the night, headed south.

Meanwhile, Aurelia finally let go of her fright and frustration from the chase by slugging Randy in the shoulder for bumping the left rear bumper of her buggy, which was the larger of the three and built by Beatrice.

For her part, Beatrice saw the damage to both vehicles and quickly surmised what had happened. She then slugged Randy in the chest (“Ow! Hey!”) and told him he had to help her make repairs.

With that, the group settled around the camp fire and poured themselves some hot coffee or tea, and swapped news with Beatrice. The mechanic said she had a hearing, in April, to request an early end to her probation, and reported that her attorney had expressed guarded optimism about the possibilities. She’d been a good girl and attended grief counseling and all the mandatory anger-management classes.

At that point, Beatrice pulled out a article she’d clipped from the High Lonesome News, a weekly newspaper with a solid reputation for coverage of issues that affected rural areas of the western United States. One of JoCat’s relatives – a cousin from her mother’s side of the family – had decided to challenge her will.

JoCat had never borne any children, and had apparently left Café Nepethe and Nova Nepenthe to her long-time manager, Krystal Swan. However, her cousin Harold J. Taverner had decided to challenge the will, in an effort to get control of the businesses so he could close them down as affronts to decency and morality.

The news triggered an argument within the group. Incensed that someone might challenge the last will and testament of a friend who had died badly, in part because she’d helped them, Aurelia wanted to go after Taverner.

However, A.J. argued that the matter seemed a routine, if annoying, legal matter, and they had far more important things to worry about than getting involved in something that had already made the newspapers. Better to just let the law sort things out, A.J. said.

The argument went back and forth for a bit, and in the end the group couldn’t reach a consensus. Aurelia decided to ask her ally, Wren, to check into Taverner’s background to see if he might have any ties to companies associated with the Order of the Scarlet Sage. She reasoned that the order might have decided to harass them and damage potential assets, using Taverner as a front.

With that, the session ended.

##

Funny Quotes

(The GM accidentally skips past Henrietta in the turn rotation, as the rape spirit attacks.)
Debbie (OOC): I’m okay with you skippin’ me, if it’s gonna hurt!

(An upset Sebastián grabs Henrietta’s shoulder.)
Bennie (OOC) : Better than a seat-belt! Vampire grip!

Bennie (OOC): Speaking as the player, I’d love it if we didn’t save the vampire….

Claudia (wakes to find the rape spirit in hot pursuit): Ohmigod! Shoot it! Shoot it!

A.J.: I feel the need! The need…
Steven: …for speed!

Randy: This is probably the most times we’ve ever used the word “rape” in a single day, ever.
Beatrice: Without a whistle or a cop!

Beatrice: Okay, house rules! Don’t kill people. Obey your mother and father.
Aurelia: They’re vampires. They have to kill people.
Beatrice: We need a list of people they’re allowed to kill.
Aurelia: Child molesters… rapists…
Beatrice: ...homeless people…
Randy: What’s wrong with homeless people? Some of my best friends are homeless people!
(Beatrice and Aurelia continue the list.)
Randy: And we’re the good guys….

##
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:46 AM   #187
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Randy: This is probably the most times we’ve ever used the word “rape” in a single day, ever.
Beatrice: Without a whistle or a cop!
1) Rape spirits are horrible, horrible things.
2) I'm glad to see that I'm not the only GM to feature deeply disturbing situations and antagonists. To me, it ruins all the integrity of a fictional setting or scenario if the villains adhere to some vestiges of the Hays Code and are consequently less villainous than a lot of the normal flesh-and-blood people I deal with in my job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Beatrice: We need a list of people they’re allowed to kill.
Aurelia: Child molesters… rapists…
Beatrice: ...homeless people…
Randy: What’s wrong with homeless people? Some of my best friends are homeless people!
(Beatrice and Aurelia continue the list.)
Randy: And we’re the good guys….
I'm prepared to make a ruling on this.

Any side of a conflict that has the equivalent of a Wannsea Conference to define what makes whole groups of people legitimate targets for extermination can no longer claim good guy status.

I guess, if there are sanity-blasting Old One outer gods or actual hellish legions that have to be stopped, there is a theoretical possibility that the acturial table exterminator PCs are the lesser of available evils, but then again, maybe the legions of the damned aren't all that bad, either.
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:41 PM   #188
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
1) Rape spirits are horrible, horrible things.
2) I'm glad to see that I'm not the only GM to feature deeply disturbing situations and antagonists. To me, it ruins all the integrity of a fictional setting or scenario if the villains adhere to some vestiges of the Hays Code and are consequently less villainous than a lot of the normal flesh-and-blood people I deal with in my job.
I actually had to think about this a lot, if for no other reasons than that Rebecca is my niece (and was just barely 17 years old, at the time), and Bernetta is my sister and her mother. When Sunmi critically failed her roll to gather decanic energies, and then followed that up with a 17 on the critical spell failure chart, I knew a demon or an evil spirit had to show up.

Now then, I wanted the nature of the beastie to reflect something about the caster. When we rolled up birthdays for the characters, Sunmi came in as a Scorpio.

At that point, I asked Rebecca if she were comfortable with the roll and the implications it had for her character, and the sorts of things Sunmi would have to do to gain bonuses on her spell-casting. I offered her the chance to re-roll it, if she decided she wanted to do so.

Rebecca thought it was a fun aspect of the character and decided to keep the birthday and all the decanic implications. I said, "Okay," and went along with it.

That meant, when she made the crit fail rolls, I had a clear indication of the sort of evil spirit who would show up. At first, the group thought she was just a spirit of lust. Only when Sunmi foolishly carried into the magically rich vicinity of the portal did the monster's true nature become apparent.

Fortunately, for me, Bernetta also thought it was hysterical, and Sunmi got a kick out of it. So, of all the people at the table, I was probably the one with the greatest reservations. :)

However, it has turned into an interesting feature of the campaign, and provides evidence to support something once said by another member of the Denver GURPS Group: "The funnest stuff happens when things go wrong!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I'm prepared to make a ruling on this.

Any side of a conflict that has the equivalent of a Wannsea Conference to define what makes whole groups of people legitimate targets for extermination can no longer claim good guy status.

I guess, if there are sanity-blasting Old One outer gods or actual hellish legions that have to be stopped, there is a theoretical possibility that the acturial table exterminator PCs are the lesser of available evils, but then again, maybe the legions of the damned aren't all that bad, either.
I found that whole conversation really interesting, for several different reasons. Firstly, I deliberately set out to bring into the campaign all the moral ambiguity Ken Hite put into G: Cabal, and the discussion indicated to me that I must have done something right.

It also serves as a nice followup to a comment my friend Dave C. made, when he visited in July and played Jimmy Ehrland as a guest. He read through these session logs, got to the comments made by the players about the utility of having vampires around, laughed, and said, "I see the rationalizations started, early."

The other bit I liked is that G&AInc has sort of fallen into the role of the group's conscience. Given the sorts characters he's played, and the settings he's GMed (especially his excellent conversion of Shadowrun), I think it's safe to say Randy's basic decency is a marked departure.

For my part, I rather enjoy seeing the players struggle with the desire for power, at any cost, as an expedient means to face the dangers -- and the horrors -- their characters have uncovered.
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Old 08-30-2017, 12:49 AM   #189
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For my part, I rather enjoy seeing the players struggle with the desire for power, at any cost, as an expedient means to face the dangers -- and the horrors -- their characters have uncovered.
Except they aren't getting power... they're getting a viper that shall strike them the moment it seems it's in the viper's best interest.


The vampires have broken one deal, why not this one as well?
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Old 09-07-2017, 08:59 PM   #190
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Well, the school year had officially begun, as of the last session of Facets, and that’s usually a hectic time for just about everybody. As such, we had a much smaller turnout, than usual, so those who did attend spent most of the session taking advantage of their new-found associations with other lodgers, to learn more about the circumstances in which they find themselves.

Characters Present:

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson -- A personable, age 29-and-holding Anthropologist who specializes in the pre-Columbian indigenous people of the American Desert Southwest. A Native of Apache Junction, AZ, "Indiana" is good with people and has been fascinated by American Indian religion and folklore since she was a child. Henrietta speaks Apache fluently, and not-so-secretly wishes archaeology could be more like Raiders of the Lost Ark and less like digging in a trench with a trowel and a toothbrush -- Played by Debbie S.

Dr. Arthur "A.J." Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon sub-developments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house. Considers himself responsible for Sunmi Jones, who is enough of a science-geek that the two of them can actually hold a conversation. -- Played by Anten S.

Aurelia R. Lockrin -- A young woman with a shady past who teaches History at Grand County High School (Home of the Red Devils!), and volunteers for 4CSAR because she's a bit of an adrenalin junkie, and likes the companionship. -- played by Bennie Rae P. (Unable to attend, this time.)

Randy "Random" Shoop -- a twenty-something, semi-pro mountain-bike competitor who has trouble staying focused, but is basically a good and reliable member of the team, with an unexpectedly strong moral character -- Played by Gold & Appel, Inc. (Unable to attend, this time.)

Dr. Belody "Doc" Bascher -- a local veterinarian for both large and small animals, who frequently fixates on her job and uses 4CSAR as her primary social outlet. -- played by Samantha H. (Not available, this session, but makes an NPC cameo appearance.)

Sunmi Jones -- A Korean-American prodigy and student of chemistry at Utah Valley University, who spent most of her childhood with her deceased mother's family in Korea, but has come to Utah to attend college and work with her father's petroleum exploration firm. Somewhat moe, awkward-but-cute, glasses-wearing nerd girl, who only volunteers with 4CSAR because volunteer work is required for her degree. Recently suffered mental damage after an attack by a spirit of pain and violation, and agreed to become a chwal for the loa Erzuli Dahomey, as a way to replace the negative affects with those more positive. -- Played by Rebecca W.

Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. She recently lost the lower part of her left leg in a fight with a sorcerer from an opposing lodge, and now wears a high-tech prosthetic. A cynic about men, she is accompanied by "Grunt," the biggest, best-trained pit-bull anybody has ever seen (purchased as an ally, and a totally badass dog, even before it was possessed by what appears to be a benign “foo” spirit) -- played by Bernetta W. (Had to leave early.)

Claudia Abigail Tavulari, member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and an old friend of Arthur Jamison’s. The team has been helping Arthur research the portal physics, on the sly. – Played by Tisa T. (Unable to attend, this time.)

Stephen Mack, another member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, a former U.S. Marine Corps test pilot, and outdoors enthusiast. – Played by Jeff T. (Unable to attend, this time.)



NPCs Present

Jimmy Ehrland – A fugitive from the 1918 Colonia de Nova España, on the other side of the portal, he had fled from his vampire mistress, Doña Eva, only to find himself in a strange, alien world to which he must struggle to adapt. -- shifted back to NPC mode, but usually the character available for guest players.

Trooper Frank Moses -- A former Marine who recently quit his job as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), based out of the Section 13 office in Moab, under Lt. Lee Exeter. Moses works with 4CSAR as needed, and has an interest in Doc Bascher. Frank finds himself attracted to what he perceives as the much simpler life on the 1918 side of the portal.

Grunt: Beatrice's ally, a large pit-bull possessed by a protective "foo" spirit. (Finally healed, but remained on the other side of the portal with Beatrice.)

##

After the vampires had bid everyone, “hasta la vista” and disappeared, the group speedily struck camp and headed back to Moab. They reached the town before dawn, pulled up at Doc Bascher’s place and pounded on her door.

The unnerved veterinarian showed up at the door in her nighties and toting a shotgun, and responded with the requisite amount of bitching when the group informed her she needed to dig some bullets out of a badly-injured prisoner. However, she quickly had them pull around back and quickly carry the unconscious Don Maximo into her large animal operating theater.

There, Doc Bascher performed her medical not-so-magic, and removed the steel-jacketed round. She then used a healing spell to help him continue the road to recovery, and told the group to get him out of her office, as the sun had nearly risen.

Beatrice volunteered to host Don Maximo in her garage workshop, so everybody drove over to her place. There, she set up an army cot with an IV drip and some security straps, and dosed Don Maximo as instructed by Doc Bascher to keep him unconscious. After that, everybody scattered to their homes, made it to their beds and fell on their faces.

The next morning, Beatrice checked on her “guest” and found him still passed out. She gathered up all the clothing the group had cut off of him and burned it in her incinerator. She then made a quick trip to a second-hand store, and bought him some new garments with a lot less lace (and no hidden spell charms).

The teams spent the next day resting, getting Sunmi caught up on current events, and discussing what to do with Don Maximo. A.J. pointed out that nobody wanted another Ultor conflict so soon after the resolution of the first one (or, for that matter, ever again…), which meant they had to cut a deal with Don Maximo’s lodge (or whatever it was called), on the other side.

Given that the portal had now closed, and Sunmi had about a week and a half of studying before she could even try to reopen it (a dangerous proposition, in any case, for lots of different reasons…), that meant they had to bring Don Maximo around, and negotiate with him, directly. As such, they decided some glad-handling was in order and had Beatrice stop the sedatives.

The next day, Don Maximo woke to find himself strapped to a military cot and wearing a set of SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas, in a corner of Beatrice’s garage draped off with tarps. He felt surprisingly good (and pleasantly alive…), and within a few minutes, Beatrice appeared and asked for his parole.

Seeing no choice, Don Maximo granted it, and soon the rest of the group arrived. They finished healing him up, unstrapped him from the cot and let him change into more comfortable jeans and a pullover. After they fed him and assured him of their honorable intentions, negotiations began in earnest.

After rather a lot of back-and-forth and side-discussions, the group hammered out an agreement:
Don Maximo and his people were to accept the loss of their minions, Doña Eva and her scions, as a fait accompli.
*”Doña Henrietta” and her people, and any of their guests, were to enjoy free passage, without hassle, through the portal, at any time of their choosing.
*Don Maximo’s people were to enjoy the same privilege, and both lodges agreed to provide minimal hospitality to one another, including news and travel warnings about events on each side of the portal. (Don Maximo informed them this was standard practice, anyway, and the fact that Doña Henrietta and her people hadn’t checked in with him got the whole relationship off to a bad start.)
*The assets created by the Friends of Olivia Lodge (FOOL) on the 1919 side were to remain untouched, and the group could purchase property in the vicinity of Santa Fe, so long as Don Maximo was informed of its location, once they’d done so. FOOL would allow the same privilege on the 2015 side, for the same courtesy.
*Given that the current guardians of the portal now answered to minions of FOOL, Don Maximo’s people would name their own guardian of the portal, with the privileges necessary to exercise his, her or its responsibilities.
*FOOL was to clean up its own mess – to wit, the rape spirit on the threshold – as soon as possible, with the assistance of Don Maximo and Don Reyes.

(continued...)
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MXLP:8 [JD=1, DK=1, DM-M=1, M(FAW)=1, SS=2, Nym=1 (nose coffee), sj=1 (nose cocoa)]
"Some days, I just don't know what to think." -Daryl Dixon.
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