or, Dmitri’s Hold, Where Way Too Many People Know Your Name
On Thurs, Sergei awoke to find his maître d’ agitated. Upon confronting him, he was told that there had been an unusual delivery along with the day’s liquor shipment: a large sturdy wooden box, coffin-sized, sealed with metal bands. The label on it said “Dmitri’s Hold, c/o the owner”.
Sergei had the box moved to one of his hidden private rooms, and then opened it. Inside was a young-ish woman, dressed for a classy club, and staked through the heart. The inside of the box had been smeared with blood. At this point, Sergei revised his ghoul’s memories to recall a large shipment of exotic old-world liqueurs, not for general consumption. He checked the woman for ID: Alyssa Davenport, dob 1977.
Sometime in the last two nights, Opal had made an appointment with the Sheriff for this evening. She went to the meeting, but I wasn’t paying close enough attention to catch what went down. She also scheduled a metting with a Libertarian lobbyist (Flora Sewell) for Fri evening, at somewhere swanky.
Dennis did some more research, and managed to pin down Kassandra as Kassandra Lancaster, on the gymnastics team at the boarding school in Philly from ’88 to ’90. He then called Parry to get some more details about the alleged kidnapping involving the Toreador primogen, two nights previous.
By this time, Parry had gotten up and checked in his usual places online, but to no avail. He told Dennis what he knew, and where it was. Dennis went to the office building to investigate, and found that nobody had fixed the front door lock since Parry broke it 2 nights ago. Further, the building was pretty underutilized, especially for being in a reasonably good location: only a couple of businesses in the whole place, with the rest of it vacant. One was a bank, another a place called Revolutionary Systems, Inc. Dennis broke into the latter with a fair degree of skill, and saw that it was obviously active (not just a front, or spare office): the live plants were in good health.
Inside, he also saw a name plate—Ashley LaRue—and continued to investigate. Eventually he
finds office door with “ashley laRue” on nameplate, and continues to break his way in further. He zeroes in on the most-secure room in the office, and picks the lock with great finesse. Inside is a server room with a very-high-end security system, monitoring the whole building. One of the angles clearly matches the photo of Parry that was posted on 4chan. In the room is also a pile of 8(?) bodies, in varying states of decomposition, sorta stuffed behind the server. There’s also a set of shackles chained to one of the walls.
The security footage isn’t feeding anywhere else, and isn’t recording to tape, so Dennis reviews the footage as far back as it goes—12hrs—finds nothing interesting, and then erases the footage of him breaking into the place.
After having been distracted from the reverie of blog-hopping online, Parry went to the internet cafe where his photo was uploaded from. It turns out that the night manager is an undergrad, and a believer in aliens. Unfortunately, they don’t have logins, just a spiral-bound notebook that people sign in and out on. Parry makes up some BS about a missing little black girl, and being a PI, in order to get a look at the notebook, and eventually just takes the notebook. If the records are correct, there were 12 people using computers in the cafe when the photo was posted, including “John Doe” (which is the only immediately-suspicious name). Oh, and he gave the guy $2 to replace the half-used notebook.
Sergei gave his sire a call, to see if he was just messing with him. He talked around it a bit, so as not to reveal to much, but it was pretty clear that his sire knew nothing about the staked girl in a box.
Around 11pm, Barry got a call from the Giovanni ME. She wanted him to meet her at a specific address in the ‘burbs, about a 45min drive from downtown. He asked about bringing others, and she insisted he be discrete, but otherwise acquiesced. So Barry called Dennis. Dennis drove his car, picking up Barry on the way, and go to the house. It is quiet, lit, and unremarkable. When they ring the doorbell, Nikki (the Giovanni) answers the door. Inside, a coffin-sized box is laying on the coffee table, the lid removed. She invites them to take a look, and inside it is smeared with blood, and there is a man in a suit, wearing a domino mask and handcuffs, staked.
They check for ID, and discover he is Ryan McNamara, from NYC (Manhattan). And Nikki declares that hes is a vampire. The box was addressed to Nikki Giovanni, at this address. Nikki asks them to dispose of the body, and helps them load it into Dennis’ car, demonstrating amazing strength in the process, shattering the plywood box like kindling. She claims not to know anything about the body in the box. She also, hesitantly, tells them that she can see the last thing the dead have seen, and that the last thing Ryan saw was the Tremere primogen.
Barry and Dennis take the body to Dmitri’s Hold, calling Sergei en route to let him know. Sergei has his manager clear the route in from the loading dock “for a very exclusive party”.
[Somewhere in here, there was a communication between Opal and Barry, or maybe Sergei.]
Opal talks to the manager at Dmitri’s when she gets there, and is ushered down to the “private party” rooms, as per Sergei’s instructions. However, rather than wait for the others, she immediately starts wandering around and looking in rooms. She runs into Barry & Dennis (carrying the body) and Sergei in the hallway.
They all head into a room with the other body, and start discussing what to do. Opal is bored, so she heads upstairs to the club, grabs some guy, and brings him downstairs, blindfolded. She then shoves him into Barry’s arms as a distraction, and attempts to pull the stake from the girl. In the ensuing struggle, Barry manages to overpower and then dominate her, stopping her from pulling the stake out. They then all go into the next room—out of reach of the bodies—to discuss what to do.
[Aside: somewhere in here, we realized in discussion that the bodies found in the warehouse couldn’t have been first turned into vampires and then killed, because all the things that kill vampires result in dust, and thus no body to be found.]
While they are discussing the matter, and eventually concluding that the best thing is to pull the stake out of one of them (which Opal points out would’ve already been done, if they’d just left her alone), Parry arrives at Dmitri’s Hold. He sneaks down to the private rooms, overhears the others discussing their options, and finds the bodies. To make sure that they don’t have any alien probes hidden on them, he pulls out his penknife and cuts into their armpits. He’s just getting to the man’s 2nd armpit when the others come in and prevent him from finishing.
They all take Ryan to the dungeon room, strap him down, the two strongest hold him down, and then Dennis pulls the stake out and they pour as much (refrigerated) blood into him as they can spare. Once he’s had enough to drink that he is coherent, they interrogate him.
He doesn’t know what happened, has no idea where the mask or handcuffs came from, but he was still alive at 7:30pm. At Parry’s suggestion, Sergei uses his abilities to help Ryan remember. He then remembers that he went out for drinks after his meetings. He met Alyssa at Halo around 7:30pm, went “upstairs” somewhere with her, felt some pain, saw a guy’s face, and then woke up in Sergei’s dungeon. His description is a reasonable match for the Tremere primogen, and the timeline seems to indicate he was embraced before dark.
Barry then calls the Sheriff, and tells him it’s a bit of an emergency. He’s at Dmitri’s Hold in 7min. Before he arrives, Parry slips out, and eavesdrops on the conversation. Once he gets there, they tell him what they know, including the fact that Ryan is a vampire and Alyssa probably is. Both Dennis and Barry make a point of how Nikki has cooperated, and even gone above and beyond. The Sherriff executes Ryan and Alyssa, and is about to leave when Parry intercepts him.
Parry tells the Sheriff about Nikki hiding her sister, and points out that she had plenty of time to have created the vampires and planted one of them at her own place, to make herself look like a victim, in order to deflect suspicion. The Sheriff goes back to talk to the others, particularly Dennis, to get confirmation. They admit that what Parry says is either true, or can’t be disproved.