Posting a new section of the RPG on game day itself is always exciting. Nothing gets me more in the mood to table-top than novelizing a version of what’s already happened. These guys (and gal) have helped tremendously in this process by being active storytellers themselves when they RP. You’d think they’re all vets with the creative twists and turns (none of them outlandishly unbelievable either) that they conjure for their PCs. Great, very rewarding, stuff. Anyway, here’s 1.3:
“Prelude to Millennium”
Part 1: A Detective’s Protocol
Chapter 1.3 (Thomas Raith to Vivian Murphy)
14-32-10:46n, third moon of Esther
Stepping out of the undercar into the Ninth is like stepping into a pile of dog shit. Not fresh shit that you can wipe off. The old, white, dusty stuff that, once cracked, fills the air and your nostrils with decay. Viv, this place is worse than I remember. Last time I was here was…three years ago, now I guess? I recall chasing down that toothy with my .38 drawn and all manner of mother-blushing expletives erupting from my gab.
Shit, he was fast. They’re fast.
Viv, what once was a decent, low-rent place to crash is now a filth-spewing, torrid love den, where visitor comes to lose himself in pleasure but never hope to crawl back out. It’s loud. It reeks. It’s damned. But I’ll be dragged to hell if Rory’s doesn’t make the best double-twist Gentleman’s I’ve ever swilled.
That is, when I drink. It’s more yielding to ‘act’ drunk than actually drink with the specs you’re hunting. Some more fruitful advice, Viv. Appreciate it.
The neon sign of Rory’s is missing the second “r” again. I don’t know who “Roy” is but I’m sure he’s not going to make my drink how I like it. Heh. The steam is pouring out of the street vents, about to volcanize itself during the evening Purge. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this before, Viv, but I listen to the Purge every night. Intently. Have been for about three years now. From the clicks and clanks of the breakers to the gale-force torrent of deafening air to the warm-down of the generators, I’ve heard it all nearly a thousand times. It’s cacophonous and industrial, but I listen to it. Before I left Uncle John’s place, he told me to do it:
“Boy. This city will kill you if you don’t listen to her. She’s alive underneath, and she don’t take kindly to people who walk all over her and don’t give her the time of ear,” he conjured one evening over dinner.
“She’s alive, huh. Metaphors aside, Uncle J., what’s really down there?” I asked, twirling my newly constructed ring around my right forefinger.
I can remember the ring in this conversation because I had just finished making it that afternoon. It’s good, Viv. Bronze with an oak inlay. No writing or etching, just smooth metal over wood. It gets the job done and pushes away what I don’t want close to me. Thanks for showing me how.
“Well, a couple centuries of grime, some old tunnels, and her heart, boy. So think about that: the city’s livelihood is covered up by all the shit we poured over it.”
“Anything I can do about that?” I asked.
“Nah. Don’t worry about cleaning her up. She’s a dirty girl and likes it that way. She just don’t want people to think that just because she likes it a little dingy and kinky that that means we can take advantage of her. She’s smart.”
“Yes. Listen. Always, always listen. Figure out new and better ways to listen and let that guide you down your alleys more than your eyes.”
By the end of my time at Uncle John’s, I was reduced to one-syllable responses. He got so drunk all the time, that’s about all he could hear anyway. Attention span of a cesspool there at the end. He did show me some things, though. Things that Dad, I’m sure, never would have. He helped me test out the ring I told you about a couple of times, even.
I can feel it, Viv.
I can feel the energy pulsating from it. It’s like…I can count the energy. It’s tangible, palpable, and in my mind. I think it’s the real reason I’ve stopped drinking nearly altogether. That warmth from alcohol? That curtain of protection it gives you on the inside? It’s a moron’s trick compared to what I feel now. The feeling’s small – I guess – but it’s definitely there. What I felt at school was just tapping into the Ether inside. But this. This is something I made. The first time I’ve put energy into something and have it speak back to me.
On that, well, there’s something else I gotta tell you. But it’ll have to wait. I only have six minutes now and I wanna be five early. And asking you about it will probably take a face-to-face anyway. But, briefly: this book that I’m using to send you this scribble instantly. The one I told you about, that I found in the school’s conjuration archives?
It’s not just a book, Viv.
And one last thing. I can see him through the window. Crushed velvet smoking waistcoat over a pin vest and high-collar. Black, oiled coif and thin-lined goatee. Front-pleated black high-waisted slacks draped over shiny red front-lacers. Like a sore thumb, Viv. Furthermore, he just caught me staring at him (Uncle J. was right; the eyes will get you in more trouble).
But, as I open the door, about to sign my name to you, Mycroft Worthington Vanderbilt, III looks me up and down in one quick scan and says, “Writing notes in a book before the business meting. How incredibly interesting.”