PREVIOUSLY ON V:TM
Me: “YAAAAAAY Theo Bell is finally here!!”
ChrisM: “Yaaaaaay! Make out with him!!!”
Me: “AHHHHHHHH!! Bell is interrogating everyone and they’re all pointing to me as being at the center of all the things!!!”
ChrisM: “Quick!! Make out with him!!!”
Last night opened with me making my run on Bayshore, tracking down Chris Dreessen/Carlos. But first, some news from the meta-sphere! See, in my update last week and during the entire weekend, I kept dropping hints that I was going to try and burn him out, or something. But this was ALL MISDIRECT because the REAL PLAN went down as follows:
After figuring out where his hideout was and deciding that the creepy fuck (“Just one van short of a pedophile”) had to die, I decide to call in help. In the form of Sophia, my young werewolf friend. See, shes been my begrudging BFF ever since I saved her during the altrications with Alejandro the first time we met him. Shes a Glasswalker, meaning shes supernaturally good with technology (last time I ran into her she hacked the tracers Jim/Clarence put on my phone and the lojack on my bike so they would still report information, just wrong information, and he had no clue he wasnt really tracking me), so ive been contacting her through the very clever method of leaving messages in the notepad ap on my phone and waiting for her to call *me*. Anyway, she still owes me a big one for keeping the other vampires from killing her, so I decide to call it in, for the sake of getting rid of this *real* monster in the city. She accepts and meets me at Hunters Point. We concoct an elaborate meta-ruse where she disguises herself as one of Emperor Norton’s dogs (who was supposed to be somewhere in the area as well) so Chris doesnt know whats going on (because we’re now breaking off to run our individual parts in the other room).
We find Carlos, who of course looks like Tom, and Carlos reacts by….simply walking away. I guess he expected me to be alone and not that much of a threat to him. What he didn’t expect, though, was the metric shitton of elemental fire that Sophia was able to call down out of the ether and onto his head. Unfortunately for me, this activates my fire-induced instinctive fight-or-flight panic known as “rotshriek.” I bolt the fuck out of there, dive into the harbor, and start swimming out to sea. Or, well, out to bay. This leaves Sophia to deal with Carlos on her own, which she does in rather short order, though he tried to use some of his new abilities and stuff which was cool. I get myself under control and get back just in time to see Sophia rip his head off.
And thus ends the creepy reign of Carlos the Tickle Monster.
But the night only gets worse from here.
So I have a debrief chat with Sophia. She warns that noone can know about our connection to each other, on either side, and implies that its basically over anyway. Im like yeah…. She warns me that some seriously bad shit is coming to SF and it would behoove me to get the hell out of dodge. I shrug, though, because in my few decades of real-and-unnatural life, San Francisco is the only real home I’ve ever had and I can’t bear to leave it. She says well, good luck, and dashes off into the night. I spend some time moping around because even though we weren’t exactly friends, per se, im really hurting for lack of connection and allies. (Oh, and secret character backstory, she reminds me of the long-lost sister I left behind when my dad drove me out of the house as a teenager for being gay, which explains the whole reason I was protective of her in the first place). I linger around, watching the moonrise over the water, and then mount up my bike and head back to the city.
Leaving Carlos’ beheaded, desiccated, and very-obviously-ripped apart corpse behind.
MEANWHILE, shits going down in the higher rungs of vampire society in the city as well. The Prince isn’t dead, but hes still unconscious and 100% out of commission. Jim/Clarence, the Prince’s Ventrue butt-buddy, takes a look at the city under siege from werewolves, insane vampires, and 1000+ year old methusulas, and he decides, “Yeah, i want THAT job!” and tries to make a power grab. He calls New York to report on the situation and claims that he is now in charge. They dont really believe him, but they let it slide, saying that Justicar Bell is going to be there by the end of the evening anyway to deal with shit and to just keep our shit together until he gets there.(sidebar for those aware of the mythology of the game: Jason promoted Theo Bell to Justicar because awesome.) Clarence hangs up and calls together the remaining leaders of the city for a conclave. Also Kara/Georgia is rapidly becoming Clarence’s new BFF, supporting his bid for power because her current boss seems to be explicitly trying to kill her. Anyway, they all sit around in a conference room of the Pyramid, trying to decide what to do until Bell gets there, but the point becomes moot because Bell chooses that moment to show up.
Now for those who don’t know, the Justicars are like big bruisers who have a shitload of power, both literal and political, and are sent in to deal with situations when the local forces become overwhelmed. As we obviously are, lol. They have both autonomy and supreme authority and can basically do whatever they want in the execution of their duties. Amongst this clan of bad-asses, Theo Bell is EVEN MORE bad-ass. He’s an ex-slave and, long story short, is basically Django!Vampire. He *also* rolls around in black leather and on a motorcycle and sports a dragonsbreath shotgun and the moment I first heard about him and looked him up i was like HOLY SHIT HES LIKE BLACK TOM But everyone, EVERYONE, including Marcus, is nervous about this guy and has told me not to fuck with him. This is evident by the fact that when he rolls into the conclave, EVERYONE–even Norton–shuts the fuck up and does what he says.
Unfortunately, as he starts interrogating everyone, all roads start pointing to me as being at the center of a lot of these events. He decides he would very much like to speak with me.
Meanwhile, I dont really know what to do. I report back to Aitor and Marcus that the problem in Bayshore is “dealt with” and I hear that Aitor was able to secure me a new apartment. It’s a shitty studio in the Tenderloin (because theres been a whole bunch of new openings there recently, lol!) so I decide to go check it out. I do, and its a shithole, so I kick around there for a bit, then decide to leave to go to my clubs, hopefully to track down some new HIV-positive targets to feed on cause I already tapped my herd toda–NIGHT, and im hurting for some blood after dealing with Carlos.
Unfortunately, on my way to SOMA I get a call.
Georgia: “Heeeey! Hey, so…what ‘chu up to?”
Me: “Im going to Bed Bath and Beyond for some curtains for my new place. What do you want?”
Georgia: “Umm, so Theo Bell is here–”
Me: “Oh, that’s cool, I guess I dont have to pick him up from the airport then.”
Georgia: “Yeah, uh, well, he reaaaally wants to talk to you. Like, now.”
Me: “URG, fine.”
I hang up and call Aitor, heart pounding. He advises me to do what Bell says, keep with the stories ive been running with, and dont. piss. him. off. So I turn around and head to the Pyramid.
I get there and am escorted to the Princes office, where Bell is hanging out, shotgun leaning noticeably against the wall. Clarence and Georgia are there too. I glare at them but ignore them. Bell gives me his speech about how hes the one called in when things go wrong, and things have definitely gone wrong, so how about I give my side of the story on things. I shrug and non-chalantly start with my same stories of how I beat Alejandro (dumb luck, punched a werewolf, dont mention Sophia), how I escaped from Marcus (dumb luck, escaped when I was able to overpower some goons, do not mention that I actually know what Marcus looks like), and what the hell has been going on with this Carlos guy (he diablerized all the shit, weve been trying to track him down for two days). Regarding Carlos, I realize mid-story that I left his body in bayshore, very obviously torn up by something that was not a vampire (or at least not ME), so I decide to say that I went to bayshore looking for him but havent been able to find him yet, if anything else happened to him maybe it was something else.
Bell…….does not like my stories.
I am pacing the room, both in-game and out, and he commands me to Sit. Down. and I do so, both in-game and out. He very ominously drops that he has **actually** been in town for THREE DAYS, lurking around and asking questions under the radar. My jaw drops, both in-game and out. He pulls some mind-control majesty shit to try and get me to tell the truth. I am able to resist it, but he is able to tell that I resisted. At this point he pulls out his shotgun and starts flicking the hammer.
Out of game, I am now literally curled up in a ball on the floor, repeatedly keening, “Oh my god! Oh my god what do i doooooo?” while everyone else laughs at my ass. Chris , who has been slaving over a new character sheet ever since Carlos died, is nearly beaming.
Finally, I realize that you cant really argue anymore with a SHOTGUN AT YOUR FACE. I ask if “these assholes” have to be here, and he says no, so Georgia and Clarence leave the room (but then immediately run to listen at the door.)
And…I spill everything. How i’ve been working for marcus, reporting info and running errands for him. How killing carlos was half sheer-necessity and half on the behest of marcus.
He asks how I killed Carlos, leaving him all torn up like that, just like what a werewolf would do. In a small voice, I admit that I, ah….called in a favor.
He is genuinely surprised, asking how the hell i found myself burdened with an owed favor from a *werewolf.* I tell him about Sophia, how shes just a kid and I released her during the Alejandro/Tesseract business last fall, and weve been in occasional contact but this was the first time I fully called our favor in.
He is not happy, points out that ive broken approximately all the laws. Im quiet, staring dejectedly at the floor. He says that he WILL be investigating this further, i WILL set up a meeting not only with him and Sophia, but also him and MARCUS, and if I dont do it I will be meeting the end of his shotgun. (I advise him not to shoot Marcus with the dragonsbreath gun because I know for a fact that he doesnt like it) He says I can choose which one I deal with first. I decide to call Marcus (because of aforementioned brotherly protective instinct for Sophia, im hoping that maybe I’ll get killed before she has to be dragged into this. Probably a good bet.)
He hands me a phone. I call Aitor.
Aitor: “Ah, Tom. Everything alright with the apartment?”
Me: “Yeah, uh, its great, thanks for setting that up. Umm…so…Theo Bell is here.”
Aitor: “Oh, already?”
Me: “No, um, i mean he’s here. With me. Now.”
Aitor: “What?? Then why the hell are you–…….oh, shit–”
Me: “Yeah, uh….he wants to talk to you.”
I hand the phone over and Bell is predictably scary and commanding, demanding a meeting with Marcus. He hands the phone back to me without waiting for a reply.
The call is still live. I put it up to my ear, and in a small voice I say, “….Tell Boss im real sorry.” Aitor’s voice sounds pained as he responds, “I…may not have the chance.” And the call goes dead.
Bell orders me sent down to the basement, in a secured holding cell, where I sit, alone, for the rest of the night.
The next evening, I wake up in my holding cell. Clarence and Georgia have been running around with political machinations. They come down to “check” on me. I ignore them, mopedly staring at the floor. Georgia decides she needs to go back to her clan base/the Chantry for healing and stuff (cause shes still broken up from her encounter with the gargoyle the night before). On her way out, though, she notices things, like the lights in the building flickering weirdly. I don’t notice it, though, wrapped up in my own miserable world.
Suddenly, theres a shuddering thump in the building. I look up just in time to see the steel-reinforced door of my holding cell get blasted across the room like balsa wood. Twisting tentacles of darkness boil in after it. Clarence bolts up. I also get up, but back up slowly, relatively calmly, cause I have a good idea what this is and for better or worse theres nothing I can do about it anyway.
The shadow clears, revealing….Marcus, standing there in all his 2000-year-old-9-year-old-glory, waving a sword and looking pissed. As. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck. He grabs Clarence, throwing him down and pointing the sword about a mm from his eyeball. “Where’s Bell??” he hisses, and Clarence sputters that he doesnt know, somewhere higher in the building. Marcus looks at me, eyes still incomprehensible with rage, and asks who Clarence is. Still a little stunned, I say that hes a douche, but kinda a useful douche, sometimes. With that glowing recommendation, Marcus grabs Clarence and makes him take him to Bell.
I’m left alone in the cell. Not knowing what else to do, and I assume partly because of my blood bond, I go after them.
Marcus marches Clarence through the building, ignoring everyone who stops in shock to see Clarence being handhandled by a kid with a sword. They get up to the floor where Bell is. Marcus drops Clarence and blows past all the guards and doods on the floor. They ignore him (because, note, until this point, NO ONE BUT ME knew that Marcus has the body of a kid) and look to Clarence, asking whats going on. Bell comes out of a door down the hallway. Marcus shouts and dashes at him.
I reach the floor just in time to see Marcus falcon-punch Theo Bell right in the gut.
Darkness erupts through the space, dropping everything into cold gloom where even sound is muffled. Clarence (and assumingly all the doods) stumble their way out of the place and down to other floors. I hang around, though, and am able to sense some very faint flashes and concussive thumps. After a few minutes, everything calms down a bit. I feel my way through the gloom and discover…
…A gaping chasm in the side of the building, 50 stories in the air. There is no sign of Marcus or Bell.
Not knowing what else to do, and with no one around to stop me, I leave to go down to street level.
MEANWHILE, Clarence starts to move on his political machinations. He goes to the place where the remains of the prince are being held and sneaks some of his blood at him, starting the process of blood bonding the prince. to himself.
I get to street level. There is a small crowd of people and glass everywhere, but again no sign of Marcus or Bell. I pull out my phone to try and call Aitor, but discover that the power has been myseriously drained. I borrow the phone of someone standing there and try calling again, but ominously iit rings and goes to voicemail.
I look around. Glass is everywhere, but I notice that the glass seems to extend a little bit further up Columbus street, to the northwest. I run back to the garage in the pyramid to grab my bike. I roar back out and head up the street in that direction.
It may seem a strange choice, especially considering my demeanor is “survivor” so I should be trying to get the hell out of dodge, but my logic is thus: A) I really want to see what happens. 2) probably some blood-bond ness happening here. and 5) of these two people, likely only one of them will come out on top, and **i want to be friends with whomever that is**
OOOH SHIIIIIT I ALMOST FORGOT!!! In an amaaazing twist, towards the end of the night, Chris Dreessen revealed his “new” character….
…which is Paul Stewart, his **PREVIOUS** character who was supposedly killed by Marcus on the first run to Marin. But, apparently, Marcus only had him staked, like me, and has now let him loose for unknown reasons. Paul is basically SteveJobs!Vampire, and his first order of business was to reconnect with his conglomerate telecom company, Tesseract Systems. There was an awesome scene where he strolled into the board meeting, claimed he had been on some hippy retreat in Marin for months, and was now back to retake control. He fired the chairman of the board when the guy looked skeptical.
Normally I would be concerned by this, because Paul would have been the only other person to A) know what marcus looks like, 2) know how I survived Marcus, and 5) Knows about Sophia. BUT ALL THAT NEWS IS PUBLIC NEWS NOW ANYWAY SO WHATEVS LOOOOOOL!
Im glad Paul is back. He is waaaaaaay better than Carlos. But then a heart attack would be better than Carlos.
Also, despite all my grad plans for killing Carlos, Chris was really sad when he realized I had called in Sophia so I felt bad when I finished the deal. I was like:
This is a longer-form update so it is closer to being in its final draft but this material is still a placeholder and subject to edits before finalization.