Sunday, November 19, 2017

Santos Martinez

Concept: The King Inside

AKA:  “Little S”  “Ghost Eyes”  “El salvaje”

Desc: On the short side, but muscular and wiry. His boys have seen him climb up in the pockets of bigger dudes and beat the living shit out of them from sheer ferocity. Keeps his hair short, and his face shaved because his Mamacita likes it like that. Strong intelligence in his eyes. 

History: When Santos was little. His Abuella told him, “Santos, you must be strong and you must keep your eyes open and pay attention. Everyone is going to try to make life rough on you. But you must not let them...”
Santos never forgot what his Abuella told him. She sat on the side of his bed and brushed the hair out of his eyes and wept for him knowing that he would face many struggles in his life.
    When he got up for school the next day...They told him that his Abuella had passed away in the night.
And he had known...that it was not a dream.

Santos was never going to be a good student. He couldn’t see very well and he fell behind in reading.  But he was a good listener and many time could manage to pick things up that way.  He also had come from a large family. 2 brothers and 3 sisters. So his social intelligence was off the charts. He got good at reading people. And when he got picked on for his size. He never bothered with trying to tell the teacher. He would wait, be patient, and then, at some point find one of the people who’d picked on him and jump the guy from behind with a sock full of pennies.  After a while, other kids stopped picking on him.  One of his uncles, one of the dead ones taught him that.

The gang guys came around looking for fresh meat. Santos joined because he needed money and he wanted respect. He got both. Mainly because he had something the other new recruits lacked.  He was tough already, and he knew things. He knew things that he had no business knowing. And anytime he failed, or screwed up, or caught a beating he didn’t deserve. He used it as a means to learn and toughen up more rather than cry about how unfair it all was. 

He rose through the ranks. He was smart. Maybe not book smart. But certainly street smart. And while he still wasn’t a strong reader, he could do math like he could breathe it.  His only strange habit was that he would still go to church on Sunday.  He could be seen making offerings and lighting candles and visiting graves. No one seemed to know why and when he occasionally got asked about it, all he would say was. “Hey. It’s not for me you understand. It’s for my mother.”

But it wasn’t.  Santos is a fairly strong medium. He has no trouble bartering with ghosts for things they want to be done in the real world in exchange for useful information. Sometimes it’s simple. “Light a candle for me at mass”  Sometimes it’s not simple. “Talk to my woman and tell her to move on with her life.”  Sometimes it’s lucrative. “Tell my son where I stashed the money so he can get out.”   Santos might take SLICE, you understand, But he’d never cheat the dead because they ain’t got nothing to do but make you miserable if you do.

Santos pays attention. Some months ago, he got popped and went for a middling long jolt on the inside. But even inside, he’s got more pull on the streets than most. Between his weekly phone calls to his woman, messages he can pass through guards he’s intimidated or bought off, and the occasional bit of haunting, He gets the job done. And lately, he’s been finding that sometimes it’s SAFER to be inside. Being up at Clearwater Correctional Institute for Men is no picnic certainly. But there are times when it’s goddamn peaceful compared to being out on the streets.

Still. Santos is working the angles and hopes to manage an early release. He’s kept his set together by dint of solid planning, having REALLY good people radar and putting his homeboys into roles that play to their strengths, and again, the occasional bit of haunting. Most of his boys think he’s into the Santeria shit hardcore. He’s not, although he does lean into the expectation if it’s useful and probably wouldn’t mind learning more if he could find someone who could teach him.

Attitude: “it’s good to know things, Esse. And when you fishing blind...It’s even better to act like you know more than you do.

Skills: On the physical side, He’s tight. Better with a knife than with a gun. Pretty decent with his fists, likely to have dots of Boxing and probably brawling dodge and stuff like that.
On the social side, he holds very few people dear and is distrustful of anyone who isn’t from his hood or isn’t actually deceased. It’s not that can’t be social mind you. He’s actually quite adept when he wants to be. He just has trust issues. As I mentioned, He’s good at reading people and it’s saved his life more than once in the yard.
Mentally, He’s a product of street education. Long on streetwise, heavy on tactics and organization. But short on actual academics.  He can certainly read, but most of the time he tends to think of it as a waste of time. His one literary vice is military manuals. He tends to pick them up at flea markets. Lately, his woman has been sending them to him.
As far it goes, He’s got Unseen Sense (Ghosts) AND the Medium merit, or he might, if you want him to have a bit more juice, have something like the “Voodoun” template from Second Sight (Obviously, It’ll be more like Santeria, but the powers are probably very close to one another.)  He may even be a Sin Eater in some way.

Gear: As a habitual offender in for a fairly long bit, Santos doesn’t really have a lot in the way of gear. But unlike a lot of dudes, Santos only ever really keeps a pad of paper and a pen in his cell with him. He’s very very self-contained.

Home: Block D. Cell 14.  Although, back home, He and his girl had a nice place. Lita needed a bit more room than Santos ever would. Lita’s garden was the pride of the neighborhood.

Circle: His boys. His girl. His family. His Dead People.

Story Uses:
“Yeah...I heard all about you. Although I AM surprised you came all this way to see me.”
It’s possible, that from inside, Santos might be issuing orders that are causing you and your fellows PC’s some problems. Nothing to do with YOU necessarily, just muscling some other dudes, and maybe there are problems with other people getting caught in the crossfire. Hey, homes, it’s just business, you know?

“”Some friends of mine put the word out. I just wanted to see who would come calling.”
It may be, with his other “career”, that Santos hears about things going on in the old neighborhood. You never know, he might seek the PC’s out in order to professionally befriend them.

Carlos Villalobos "I met this guy once. Never seen somebody shoot so fast. Glad I was his back-up that day instead of being downrange of him.
William Lee Travis  "Yeah. I don't mess with that guy. If you're smart, you won't either.
Jack Marston "Man. I don't blame that guy. He was just doing his job. That don't make us friends though."
Rika Martinez Santos's cousin is Rika's pop. Maybe weird shit just runs in the Martinez family.
Clavo Hernandez "Days gonna come when I'm going to get out of here, and when that happens, I'm going to drop off the radar.  My man's already seen to it."

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Stefan Janofski

Concept: Dead Cop

AKA: Stefan used to be referred to by his siblings as “Choirboy” because (A) he WAS in the choir, and (B) he was the only one of the Janofski kids to embrace the Catholic Faith.

Desc: In life, Stefan Janofski was a real specimen. 6’5” blond and blue-eyed. Strong-jawed and broadly framed.  He was the kind of fellow in the Police academy that they call, “A Gazelle”   Many times when a person dies there are marks left on them, like some residual stain on them. Stefan doesn’t have that except that his skin is darker than it was in life. As if it were charred.

History: Like his dad before him, Stefan ALWAYS wanted to be a cop. He wanted to be like his father because his father was a superhero in his eyes. Don Janofski would just shake his head and smile and say, “Kid. Be better than me.  Be BIGGER than me.”

Don died in the line of duty, and even as the Janofski kids stood around the casket, each made their own promises about being cops. Not all of them came true.

On his birthday, Stefan applied to the academy. He breezed through the physical part as everyone knew he would. But he struggled with the classwork as everyone who knew him knew he would. Stefan’s never been a strong reader. But he’s never been one to quit either. So he did everything he could. He got a tutor. He listened to his sister’s advice. Did subliminal videos on Youtube to help with memory retention.  You name it. He did it. and it worked.  He came through with flying colors...Well ok, he did alright.  

Unlike his sibs, Stefan LOVED being a street cop. The test for Detective had him totally intimidated anyway. He was a likable guy though, could play the political game and made a number of friends in the department pretty fast.  He was brave. He was mostly honest. and he had the decorations to prove it.

But he never took a nickel that wasn’t his. He didn’t begrudge anyone else doing it. It wasn’t his way to question that. He understood that times were hard and that cops have rough lives. He never so much as gave any of his friends a sour look.  He just never took any for himself.

And it made them nervous. Never so much as a peep to his family, as near as anyone could tell. Maybe even saved their lives as there was a LOT of money involved. But one night as he started up his personal ride, it exploded killing him instantly.

So, Stefan’s been off the count for a while now. He keeps an eye on his old friends because he suspects a number of them. He keeps an eye on his younger brother and sister and deals with the occasional swells of Pride/Jealousy that goes along with that. And he keeps a paternal eye on the rest of the department as best he can...
But he still itches to know who pulled the trigger and who gave the order. Maybe Heaven still is there for a good Catholic boy if he can just figure out how to solve his own murder...from beyond his own grave.

Attitude:  “C’mon Grieder. You’re the smartest cop I know. Surely you can see these cops are dirty as fuck. Jesus, I wish I could talk to you direct.

Skills: Physically, he’s something of a beast and fairly well trained in various forms of combat arts. Unless you’re on THIS side of the divide, that’s unlikely to come up.
Socially, He’s pretty strong. Always likable and easy to talk to, He’s been working on becoming a better and keener student of human psychology and watching over his little brother’s shoulder. His sister’s too if he’s honest with himself.
Mentally, Well... He’s NOT stupid. He DOES have some low-grade learning disabilities. But does LISTEN better than he reads. It’s not out of line for him to have a couple of dots in Occult (Spec: Catholicism) and investigation picked up from work on the streets. 
On the Ghostly side of things he’s got the following Numina:
Drain: Which he’s used more than once to chill out a suspect or two 
Emotional Aura: Which he’s ALSO used more than once to chill someone out. He’s also been working over some of his former friends with guilt and the occasional bout of Pre-psychotic rage.
Implant Mission: Which he’s used on at least a few people to get them to look into his own murder. (There really isn’t much in the way of evidence.) But he’s also used it like, “Dude’s I don’t know why, But we need to find Waldauer right fucking now!”
Sign: He’s just learned this one, He’s trying to figure out a way to use it subtly. If someone twigs to the fact that there are ghosts in the precinct house it could be bad.

Gear: Ghost. No gear really.

Home: Stefan is lucky insofar as he has a LOT of Anchors. Both of his Sibs, His “Friends”, His old car and it’s various constituent parts. and the precinct house.  As such, he gets around a bit more than many ghosts do. Sometimes, he posts up on the roof of the Precinct House. It’s peaceful...if there isn’t an argument with Murphy.

Circle: Stefan knows a few ghosts. He’s had a conversation or two with a mage but getting those people to do anything is like trying to nail Jello to a tree.  He’s seen a Beast or two.
And he’s heard of Sin Eaters but he’s yet to run into one. He’s not sure he wants to.

Story Uses:
“C’mon kid use your head. It doesn’t have to be like this.”
As I said, he takes a certain proprietorial attitude towards his fellow officers. Your first encounter with him might be something like him having to talk down some kid with PTSD and reflexes that are too fast for his own good.

“Look, I don’t have much time and I know you can hear me...”
Stefan can rest if his murder is solved.  He’s been on the prod to do just that but the cover-up was pretty good and it’s a cold case by now. His brother and sister obviously still work it a bit. But if he got a new player on the board with abilities that his siblings DON’T have, it might get it rolling again.

Officer Karl Richter "This guy. He should NOT have walked away from that. What the fuck?"
Detective Nell Wesley  "Nell's Ok. She's going to get killed...but she's ok.
Detective Marty Bennetti "Pretty sure THIS fucker had something to do with me being deceased. Can't BELIEVE he's a dick now."
Detective Dana Crowley "I'm fairly sure that if I can get evidence into her hands... She'll make sure that it gets dealt with."
Chris Murphy "My debate partner. I get why he's angry. I do. Sometimes though...He can be a bit hard to take."
Miss Virgie Hawkins "I think she can sense me, but I don't think she can actually hear or see me. Kills me, because I could really use her advice right now."
Officer Wesley Ullman "Sooner or later, this man is going to kill someone"
Detective Bob Greider  "You know, for a while there I thought Bob could figure all of this out, so I bothered him some. It's not really in his hands though. Still...I do enjoy watching the man work his magic."

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Rhonda Meeks

Concept: Runaway who REALLY ran away

AKA: Will almost never give you her real name. Answers best to “Candy”

Desc: She has nice blue eyes and dishwater blonde hair. a pronounced overbite that makes men think of blowjobs. She’s a little pale and sallow. She has the sort of body that would make her a fortune in porn or on a stripper pole. But for certain problems...

History: They say that the God Machine doesn’t hear prayers or answer them. But Rhonda Meeks is living proof. *Cue the Rod Serling Voice*
Take this young lady for example. A pretty average young girl growing up on the grungy side of town. She never knew her father. He never came home from Afghanistan.
   Mom tried. She really did. She’s not really good at being responsible. (Rhonda can’t help but wonder if dad was either.) And if wasn’t for the fact that she dresses hair and babysits for a living they wouldn’t have anything at all. They’ve been on public assistance of some sort for all of Rhonda’s life.
   They struggled a bit and occasionally fought with one another as only a mother and daughter can fight with one another. Lots of emotional blood drawn on both sides for sure. But if someone else hurt one of them, the other would take axe and fire to the problem. It was just the way of it. you know?
 And then Dale came along.
He was one of those dudes who is right on the edge of creepy and disgusting to a younger woman but seems to be more put together to an older woman who has already lowered her standards. A “Good Time Charlie” with a Hawaiian shirt for every occasion. Even their wedding.  Rhonda tried to keep a pleasant face on it, but Dale always seemed to be hinting that he’d be interested in poaching HER eggs too if she was so inclined.
   And of course, when she told her mom, she got called a damn liar and had the taste slapped out of her mouth. And whenever Dale had an opportunity to be alone with her, he would get just a little bit more brazen every time.
   Rhonda had seen enough “Jerry Springer” to see where this was going. But what in the hell could she do? It’s not like she had somewhere to go.
It all came to head one evening when he crept up behind her and before she knew he was there he’d locked an arm around her waist and was rooting around in the front of her panties like he was looking for change in the couch cushions. He probably thought it would get her all hot and bothered. He’d been watching too much “Stepfather Porn” at PornHub.
    Rhonda knew enough not to punch him in the balls. She gave them a good hard SQUEEZE.
 And then she grabbed her bag and ran. Out into the rain, with only the idea that she had to get away.  But where could she go?  She couldn’t go home. Mom still wouldn’t believe her and he’d just lie like always. She didn’t have a friend with two nickels to rub together or a couch she could crash on and what good would that do? The only person who she thought might be able to help was Aunt Carla and she was...
    And that’s when Rhonda noticed that the rain had stopped, that the sky was now clear and that she was standing in front of Aunt Carla’s apartment building. Several states away from home.
     Her mind reeling, she went in and talked to aunt Carla, who was sympathetic and didn’t like Dale either.  But in the morning she called mom and mom said she was coming to get her and sounded extremely pissed. She could only imagine what lies Dale had told her. Aunt Carla left for work, and Rhonda, in a panic, rifled through aunt Carla’s belongings and headed out...again trying to get away...and found herself on the streets of Sydney Australia...

Rhonda is a city walker. (Which is a new merit in CoD2e) and after some trial and error managed to make her way back to the US. Then she went back home at a point when she knew that Mama and Dale would be away and stole some of her own belongings and Dale’s stupid fucking coin collection. (Which turned out not be very valuable at all.) and his gun. (Which turned out to be a damn sight more useful.)

Since that time, Rhonda has been on the run. Staying off the radar as much as she can. She hasn’t had to sell her body yet, although there seems like there are a lot of takers. But Rhonda’s only 16, doesn’t have a drivers license or any kind of way to identify herself. She can’t even get a job in porn or in a strip club except for the most sketchy kinds...and who wants that even? On those rare occasions, when she gets a little bit ahead, she drops off some of her money in Aunt Carla’s mail slot as a way to say she’s sorry. It’s the only reason she keeps coming back to this town.

Rhonda hasn’t exactly figured out what this weird gift of hers means exactly. But she’s going to figure out a way to use it...and hopefully soon.

Attitude: “I’m not going back. If Dale touches me again, I’ll kill him this time. I mean it.”

Skills: Striking looks, naturally. And CityWalker of course. Physically, she’s fit if a little overly buxom. Intellectually, she’s not exactly the brightest crayon in the box. But she is learning to think on her feet. And she’s already picked up a tiny smattering of Spanish. Socially, she’s an awkward teenage girl who is weirded out by nearly everything and disgusted by the effect her body seems to have on everyone around her.  She has never shot that gun of Dale’s but she’s likely to be surprised by the kick on it. 

Gear: A nickel plated 9mm nice and flashy like Dale liked it. A small pocketknife. A tiny bankroll, probably stolen. A threadbare black teddy bear she keeps in her backpack. Some extra socks and underwear. Anything else she has is likely shoplifted. If she’s got anything stowed away, it’s likely in a bus station locker, several states away.

Home: None obviously. Finding a place to crash each night without having to put out is a struggle. So far she hasn’t found youth hostels in Europe as a means to solve her housing problem.  There are times when it gets so fucking grim she begins to think maybe it would have been better to let Dale fuck her.

Circle: She’s made a few friends along the way mostly fellow homeless and runaways like herself. She’s looking for someplace to belong right now and badly needs to find someone who will help her or take care of her before some cult does. it’s kind of sad. The very first man who offers her help but doesn’t seem to want to bone her, she’ll likely convince herself that she’s in love with him.

Story Uses:
“Hey, Mister...Wanna Party?”
Rhonda already knows the purse trick. You go tell the John once you’ve got his money to take your purse with him and go get a nice hot shower. Of course, the John never checks the purse, which is empty. By the time they catch wise, Rhonda is in Cleveland counting his money. Sooner or later that trick isn’t going to work. Or Rhonda is going to run into a Pimp who isn’t going to appreciate infringement on his territory.

“Mister I don’t know where else to turn.”
She’s likely grifting you, but if it turns out you actually can help and you DO care, She’ll be very cautious (Read=Paranoid.) and if it turns you actually DO help her. You’ve made a friend for life. a friend with a very unusual and special talent.

Detective Marty Bennetti keeps seeing her out on the stroll, but every time he gets close, she's gone like a ghost.
Tim Deacon Hasn't met her yet. But he will. He only hopes that she'll trust him in time.
Rosalie Prescott "Likeable kid. Looks hungry. I been there a time or two. So I help out if I can."
Rika Martinez Will likely not know what she's seeing in that child's aura. But the world has many surprises even for one as old as she. And Rika will want to help if she can.
Lewis Flowers He dreams of her. but in his dreams, he cannot actually catch her...It drives him to fits of apoplexy.
Charlie is probably the only person who wouldn't think the little white girl was weird. Maybe Charlie was a citywalker back in the day. Who can know these things?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Lt. Lorraine Janofski

Concept: Cyber-Cop

AKA: Dickheads in the department have less than flattering names for Lorraine. Mostly they keep that shit under wraps because if Lorraine catches wind of it, bad things end up happening to them because Lorraine has some serious bureaucratic mojo.

Desc: Lorraine has a smile that lights up her whole face. Which is sad, because she doesn’t exactly smile a lot.  Her features aren’t terribly symmetrical and she isn’t disfigured or anything, but she isn’t “Cute” She keeps her hair short and in a regulation bob. She’s a nail-biter.  She’s fit enough but the physical requirements for the Cyber Crimes division are somewhat relaxed. Regardless, she pushes herself at the gym in order to keep the size of her ass under control. She wears glasses.  She has a nice voice and could have a career in Radio if she was interested in such a thing. She middling short.

History:  Lorraine is the sort of woman who realized at a relatively young age that she was never exactly going to be “Hot” and decided to make the most of what she did have. Lorraine had brains. Really good ones too.
While all of her brothers had some scholastic troubles. (Bela is a total duffer at anything involving math. Stefan wasn’t a strong reader.) Lorraine proved to be an academic machine. And frankly, could have gone anywhere and done anything she wanted to.
    Lorraine’s fascination with computers started relatively young. She probably would have drifted over into programming and maybe she would have made a million seller app and be richer than Croesus by now. But there was only one problem.  At the time, Women weren’t taken very seriously in geek dominated fields. and those that they did allow in, because of undeniable talent, often had to be as submissive as a geisha in order to stay working in the field.
   And that wasn’t ever going to be Lorraine. For one thing, She’s got a wicked sense of humor and a tongue so sharp, you wouldn’t know you were cut until you started bleeding in a dozen places. Also, She was raised with rowdy boys and has been taking Kempo classes since she was a tween.  One dude at a start-up she got involved with ended up with an arm broken in the 3 places for copping a feel. Then the boss fired her for “Not being a team player” Which everyone knew was utter bullshit.
      Lorraine comes from a cop family. And although she resisted it her whole life, she finally broke down and entered the academy. No one else working in computers would touch her with a ten-foot pole. Her former employers had seen to that.  She did her time on the street, hating it for the most part. (Although the night when she busted her former boss for drunk driving was PARTICULARLY satisfying.) But she had her eye on a career that wasn’t really a career yet, and that was computer crimes.
    And now here she is. A full Lieutenant, which is about as far as she’d like to go politically speaking. She effectively heads up Computer crimes division and rides herd on a cadre of well-trained cop/nerds and the occasional Black Hat working off a sentence. The men and women who work for her, love her to pieces and would do nearly anything for her. Conversely, they all live in terror that she’s going to give them a nickname or turn that acid sense of humor on them full bore....Most of them have never even seen her truly pissed.
  She feels like she’s finally got the career she’s been gunning for all this time...and yet... Is it going to be enough? She’s not met the right guy and mother is pestering her for grandchildren. (Grandchildren she is not actually keen to have, it ought to be mentioned) She wonders if maybe she’s missed her window.

Attitude: “Anything you find where knowledge is what makes it work, you’re going to find that people who HAVE that knowledge are going to take advantage of those that don’t have it. Computers run so many things in modern life and so few people actually know anything about how they work. We make sure that the wolves don’t kill the sheep. That is all there is to it.”

Skills: Dots in Professional Training: Cop and also Hacker. Decent dots in academics and she went to school with a fairly strong CS program. Plentiful dots in Investigation and computer of course.  She’s kept up with her Kempo and is likely to have merits that go along well with an appropriate fighting style. (Brawling dodge and disarm)
 Physically, she’s a little above average, and she WORKS at it as it is one of those things that doesn’t come naturally. Socially, She’s the sort of person who comes on slow. She doesn’t tend to make a flashy first impression, and she doesn’t possess the sort of social ease that her brothers have. But over time, people realize that they like her and her deadpan sense of humor. Of course, she’s learned a thing or two about “Social Engineering” in her career and she’s working on becoming better at that sort of thing.
Mentally, she’s fast on the draw, studies like a machine, and can stick to the plan like nobody’s business.

Gear: Duty issued sidearm. Taser (Which she prefers) and cuffs of course. Her work allows her to work in plainclothes or uniform as she prefers. Mostly she opts for plainclothes unless she needs to make an impression on a suspect.  Her Laptop bag sports a top of the line machine, (She never EVER waits for the department issue, she just get them to reimburse her) and it’s home to a 12 terabyte outboard drive and a double fist load of largish thumb drives. She also got a mini tool kit in there.

Home: Lorraine lives in an apartment building, in a little studio apartment. No pet although she’d like one. She works crazy long hours sometimes and when at home, spends much of her time setting in front her home machine slurping Maruchan noodles.  It wouldn’t be fair to the critter.  She HAS thought about getting some fish though.  Lorraine could actually afford to live somewhere much nicer but she’s frugal and as a result, she’s actually got a decent amount of money in the bank. There is a certain amount of Buddhistic calm that comes with having money in the bank.

Circle: She’s got friends in the department, friends in her Kempo classes (She helps Sensei teach classes now) and she’s got a number of people online, both cops and crooks that owe her. Mother keeps trying to drag her to church, but like the rest of the Janofski kids, Catholicism just turns her off. She can’t, however, bring herself to tell mom that she’s become an Agnostic even though Mom keeps introducing her to nerdier and nerdier Catholic men.
It’s tiresome.

Story Uses:
“Boys, I think it’s about time to initiate the whoop-ass protocols. KATO! FIRE THE WAVE-MOTION CANNON.”
Lorraine and her merry band are what stands between you and the adventurous life of data piracy. Sure, they may have a serious disadvantage like a society that doesn’t yet take their mission seriously or even wants to PAY for it if they did. But there ARE dedicated White Hats out there and Lorraine is one of them.  So if you’re looking to hack in the backbone of a banking network, or you’re just trying to fuck an underage girl you met online...She and her people are going to try to stop you.

“Look. I’m not a discursive person by nature. But I can’t talk about it. and I can’t talk about WHY.”
Because of the nature of her work, Lorraine is one of those people who it’s imperative for creatures looking to break to law, to stubborn as quickly and as completely as possible. So far, no one’s managed it yet. Not for lack of trying though. Most of the time she’s surrounded by Law Enforcement professionals or fellow Kempo students. She’s not a social monster at all, and when she’s off the clock, she lives like a hermit.  But the day may come when some monster is nervy enough to simply roll up to her front door and put the whammy on her. When that happens, People are going to notice SOONER rather than later.

Officer Karl Richter "Yeah. We dated some when we were younger. I still...Think about him from time to time. He's got a heart of solid gold and his sister is still one of my best friends. I just hope I don't think of him as the "One that got away" till the day I die."
Judge Mattarazzo "Whatever you do kid. Don't attempt to go all "rain man" on Judge Mattarazzo. He's super sharp and he keeps up with things. He once quoted me chapter and verse of an article from Wired Magazine that I was using in my testimony. Have your shit together when you go to court.
Detective Dana Crowley "Whenever Dana turns up in front my desk. I know things are about to get fucking serious."
Boolie Hinson  "This guy is good. and worse, he's FAST."
Rupert Lowdermilk "I have enough on this little twat-waffle to put him away for years, but I'm waiting. I want this shit-posting little fuck to be tried as an adult.
*  T.C. Mitnick  "We were closing in on this guy some years ago, I hear he's still out there and doing work. When we tried to pinch him, he had some massive fire sale Macro and he dropped it on us and then we had to scramble like mad to get things back under control. it was in the papers.  I'd love to bring him in, but it has to be done right, and GOD help us if he's wired something up to go sideways on the power grid and some overzealous swat cop shoots him dead. We'll never break the encryption."
Detective Bela Janofski "My elder brother. Who I love very much. Even if I did give him the nickname..." 

Saturday, September 2, 2017


This wasn’t the plan.

The woman who runs the place goes by “Paige Turner” and although it is her craft name, she doesn’t seem to have a problem with letting people know that her last name is really “Burwinkle”.

She and her merry brand of practitioners got pretty sick of being poor and also being oppressed and persecuted by people who don’t understand.  They’d known one another for a while, and when Paige said one night after a lovely party on the roof of her building. “You know, I think I’ll retire and buy myself a bar.” 

And in that moment, it was like she had taken some kind of oath. The others felt it too. So they got up a collection. Did a spell or two. Dipped into funds held for rainy days. Bought a number of scratch lottery games.  They bought a place.

Merl’s doesn’t make a ton of money on its face.  But then again it doesn’t have to. Its clientele is exclusively true magi, hedge magi, psychics, odd talents, and the occasional visitors from other supernatural communities.  And people of that sort have ALL sorts of means of paying their bar tabs.  Once every blue moon or so, some normal person wanders into the place. A place that is EXCEPTIONALLY ordinary looking and dull and unwelcoming.  People who do this, almost never walk out unchanged. The place is geomantically charged and there is some sacred architecture at work too. Paige often crabs about how the high ceiling makes for ridiculous heating bills.

Paige can’t actually work magic while the bar is open. It’s a weird little holdover from that night so long ago. So she takes Sunday and Monday night off, and if a fight breaks out in the bar, one of two things will happen.
1) The patrons will unleash a wave of destruction on any asshole foolish enough to break the peace.
2) Paige will say “This bar is CLOSED.” and then the hexes and curse will fly. Rarely anything that will kill you. Paige says she ain’t about that life no more.  But she’s gotten creative in her old(?) age. And the curses will make you WISH you were dead.

The place is warded. Not against Magic, of course,  That would be silly, and pointless besides. Magicians are like hackers, Tell them that the wards will prevent magic and they go out of their way to prove you wrong. But it is warded against spirits, angels, demons, ghosts, and living creatures with violent intent. Not that there are many who go to Merl’s with the idea in mind to start a fight.  If you’ve a got a spirit or ghost, you’d just as soon have with you when you enter, you can ask for a token and they will allowed entry through the wards. Although they do caution you that should your spiritual buddy be separated from you by more than 3 feet or if they start some sort of violence on the property, swift consignment to the Turgid Places is the usual prices of not minding their manners. Most spirits get this and are on their best behavior.

Other night folks who do any kind of business there are often cautioned by their elders to be on their very best behavior. There was an incident some years ago of some fool vampire losing his temper, He died in seconds. His siblings in minutes. His sire in hours. His grandsire the next night. As near as we know, the entire line might be extinct now.  In any case. It made an impression.

If you’re at Merl’s. You’re there to do one of four things. 1) Talk business. 2) Talk shop, and presumably unwind. 3) Pick-up some fellow night folk for some slap and tickle later. or 4) Drink.  It used to be that there was a kitchen. But there was an accident there and now, no one wants to go in there. There’s a bad feeling in there.  Even Joey can feel it. And Joey is about as psychic as a rock. Anti-Psychic actually. Every place like this needs one.

The Cigarette machine near the front door is an involved operation. Sure, you’ve got about a dozen regular brands and some clove cigarettes for those who aren’t over their goth phase. But you’ve also got cigarette brands from all over the globe. Pricey. But if you’ve developed a taste for Turkish smokey treats, then you are likely to turn up here rather than try to buy online.  There's been some talk about buying some couches for one of the corners and a Hookah.  It may yet happen.

Merl’s also prides itself on its collection of various types of alcohol. In fact, Paige considers it to be a point of pride to be able to provide for her patrons anything alcoholic that they request. And if she doesn’t have it, by god, she’ll have it next week at the latest. We’re talking Peruvian liqueurs, and Asian moonshine distilled with a bit of coral snake venom for kick.  As you can imagine, the storeroom is actually bigger than the front of the house. It may be bigger than the whole building actually.

There’s a door at the back of the coat closet. It’s warded of course.  Heavily. It will connect with any unwarded door that you are personally familiar with and you can make it home, even if you’re pretty sloshed.  But it’s only one way. You can only go through on this side. And even if something TRIED to come through from the other way. Joey minds the coat closet and Joey doesn’t rattle easily.  He may not be a magi. But he knows his way around a gun and sword. ya know?

The TV doesn’t have a tuner. Or at least, they’ve never needed one. They bought it some years ago from Desmond Goodlow. (“Great guy. Good tipper.”) and it seems to have a sense of what people in the bar are most interested in. CNN. The History Channel. on rare occasions, televised fishing and championship Curling. Sports doesn’t generally tend to turn up on the TV in a bar full of Magic Nerds.

Other than that, place looks like any other bar. Maybe a lot less neon, because it doesn’t seem to work as well around those sorts of people. But plenty of mirrors. Plenty of dark wood that smells like beer. (Although, with a lot more runic writing carved into it.) There’s even a pool table.  Although Walter Roedecker has come up with a form of divination based on ball at any given time, it may be in use for more than a game.  Saying “I got next” is liable to get you the stink-eye.

Okay. So it’s not your normal bar. Not on any level. Not really at all. Not even a little bit.

*Charlotte Wilson This one of the few places where Charlotte can be a bit of a party girl. Most of the old timers though...They've seen her like before. They may smile...but they'll hold her at arm's length. Like you would a rattlesnake.
Tim Deacon Tim's not what you call a regular. he doesn't like to presume. But they got no problem standing him to a beer or two. When he does come around, He normally has some talk with Joey, or with Paige. And usually, something weird cooks off in the next day or so. When it does, they are prepared. As I said, people got different ways of paying their tab. Mostly, Tim allows Charlie  to drink on his. On those rare occasions when Charlie is lucid enough to "Talk Shop" EVERYBODY listens.
Blaise Newkirk Reeks of black magic but is calm, polite, charming even. He's also a decent tipper. Not one to start shit, and on at least occasion was willing to pitch in when there was someone else creating trouble. Normally comes in to meet with someone in an accorded neutral territory. 
Sheriff Hank Settles is the lawman they call on those rare occasions when someone actually has to call the law. Hank just has more experience in these matters than the metro police.
Ralston Van Doren is NOT welcome here any longer. He's tried to cause them some problems using his connections. Mostly, his connections end up ground in the gear between the two sides. So far, no one has felt the need to take the fight to The Vermillion House. If that changes, it will get very ugly.
Collette Reeves Everyone loves Collette. They'd offer her a job if her schedule wasn't already packed. They have however come up with a hand gesture that has spread among the regulars which means, "Colette, you know I love you, but I need you to move away from while I'm trying to do my thing here."  Collette, being the kind of girl she is, insisted that it be "The Bird" Joey thinks that maybe he can help her hone her gift some. But Joey is a little bit smitten with her and Collette can see it. It's too bad, But for the scars on the left side, Joey's a pretty handsome dude.
Schuyler Lavey is GOING to get his ass thrown out one of these days, but always manages to stay just on the windy side of care. He's always testing the boundaries. Joey punched him once. Hard. 
Lillian Penobscot "Diamond Lil" as the regulars call her is usually a welcome sight. She did, however, make the mistake of bringing something in here that gave the wards indigestion. But was so instantly apologetic that they chalked it up to a rookie mistake and everyone went on with their lives.
Paige keeps Lil's business card just in case someone needs to get rid of something serious. Odds are good Lil can find a buyer.
* Various members of the firm Holmes, Gillis, Baker, Savage, North, and Dean drink here and do business, with the exception of Gilbert Savage. Occasionally, Paige has to ask Roderick and Cullen to cool it with the racist jokes.
The Grimoire Bear and Penny come in every once in a while. Penny brings cookies.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Thomas Jones Rutherford

Concept: Novelist turned Serial Killer

AKA: TJ has a bewildering number of names really. Old friends and people he went to school with know him as “Jonesy” and he often introduces himself this way.  He writes his horror novels as “T. Rutherford” his occasional crime and detective fiction as “TJ Ford” and he still writes the occasional romance novel as “L.D. Cooper” (Say what you want, they got him through the lean times when he was starting out.)

Desc: TJ is middling short. He wears glasses because he’s put a LOT of mileage on his eyes. He’s mixed race but passing as white. His hair tends to come in dark and curly, but he tends to keep his dome shaved. He just likes the way it feels. On any given day, he’ll likely wear a T-shirt and sweatpants and if he has to go out, he’ll wear chucks.  But he has a closet full of many different types of clothing and he can really wear anything and make it look good.  He tends towards a serious mein. Although he does have a nice smile. His eyes are a pale grey. he has a mild stutter. He’s worked on it ever since he was a kid. It doesn’t trouble him so much anymore unless he is very very stressed out.

History: His parents had a bit of money, and his mama was a heavy reader, so he picked that up early. And pretty much anything that was on Mama’s shelf was considered fair game. He was maybe 10 when he read a novel entitled, “The World According to Garp” by John Irving. And pretty much from there, his fate was sealed.
      There was something impossibly romantic to him about writing. He started early, writing a high fantasy series of novels that he shared with his junior high classmates.  He worked hard and got himself a decent scholarship to go to a good school where he majored in English and Psychology.   He learned how to turn himself into a word machine. None of this waiting around for the “Muse” to turn up. Not for TJ.   It was how he managed to get out of school ahead of schedule. He had CLEP examed out of many of his general studies and was doing independent studies in the back half of his junior year. Truly. He types like the wind.

After school. He got himself a gig working retail and in the evenings he wrote. His favorite has always been horror fiction, followed closely by the detective fiction. If there’s something that TJ absolutely loves, it’s learning about things. He’s never been what you would call an overnight sensation. He’s never going to have that Stephen King “fuck you” money.   But he’s got some fans in each of the genres he works in and he’s made a name for himself among publishers as being low maintenance and able to turn in work on time. Now, because his needs are simple, he’s effectively independently wealthy.

And you know, That would likely be the end of the story right there. If it hadn’t been for his father being killed. Jim Rutherford had been a hard working civil engineer all of his life and while he and his bookish son didn’t always have a lot in common, they did love one another and they did love mama.  Jim was pulled over in a traffic stop one night. You might have read about it.  Apparently, while being calmly questioned by law enforcement professionals due to his resemblance to an assailant reported in the area, Mr. Rutherford went berserk and attacked 6 police officers. In order to preserve their lives. they were forced to shoot Mr. Rutherford 19 times.

That was the official story of course. It’s really too bad for all of them that TJ was the first person they located to identify the body. Because TJ was able to identify defensive wounds and cuff marks on the wrist. Naturally, there was a stink. However, a grand jury cleared all of the police involved quietly and months after the fact.

To say that Mama didn’t take it well is an understatement. She’s getting treatment now for clinical depression and has moved in with some old girlfriends. But for a while there it was touch and go. She still drinks and smokes a bit more than is strictly healthy for her.

And TJ?  Well. It’s perhaps dramatic to say that he cracked. It wasn’t like that.   For the first time in years, he couldn’t write. Couldn’t even stand to read.  Didn’t want to talk to anyone about it.  He spent a few weeks just sitting on his couch and watching tv.

Then one night he woke up from sleep with a plan on the edge of his mind. He called up some police that he knew and started asking questions.  Mind you, they knew him as TJ Ford and he asked questions, as writers will do. Not pointed questions though. Not direct.  But he asked enough questions to be able to get a good idea of where to look for the names of the police directly involved with his father’s slaying. And he already knew where Hanlon’s, the cop bar, was.  If nothing else, he could watch the place and follow half-sloshed cops home.

He picked them off. One by one. Each of them in a different way. Two he poisoned. One he attacked in the guy’s own house and tased him in the neck. They never DID find that guy’s body. One officer's apartment exploded. and another left his family in the morning and just never came home. They found him crucified out in the country somewhere.  Each of the crime scenes scrupulously free of useful evidence.

That should have been the end of it honestly.  But once you’ve started down a road like this, it’s hard to stop. Especially when you see African Americans, Latinos, and even deaf people and developmentally delayed people suffering the same things that his father had.  The media may even be slowly waking up to this longstanding pattern of police behavior, but it certainly isn’t stopping it, and they are just as happy to turn some young black man who menaced a cop with a “gun” (Read=sandwich) into either a saint, or a burgeoning crime boss and probably a satanist too.

So occasionally, TJ is forced to go on the hunt again.  He may see something on the news. Or maybe in the paper...and he’ll start having trouble sleeping...and writing.  And once the words dry up. Well. It’s just a matter of time.

Attitude: “Look. I didn’t start out to do this. Maybe you do have a hard job and no one is paying attention to the idea that maybe you have PTSD or something like that...But I’ve been following you for months. And it’s not that. You’re kind of a racist fuckhead.  So. I’m going to put this box on your head, and when I do, you’ll get to meet Randy. But you won’t want to get him upset. He’ll sting you if you do...”

Skills: Physically, he’s nothing special. He’s got essentially a “dad bod” He’s trying to get in a bit of running because he already knows he needs to be in better physical condition if he’s going to hunt cops. He’s learned to use a taser, and he’s actually getting pretty damn good with the blow gun and the dart pistol.  
Socially, he’s a bit of a chameleon. Strong on Manipulation. He always has been this way.  He has a good ear for the way people express themselves and can slide into social interactions with little preamble. He tends to set animals off though. They can sense something of the hunter in him.  He is, of course, active in about a dozen different places online and reads about 100 RSS feeds.
On the mental side. He’s ridiculous. 4 in everything, 4 dots in academics(Specs in English, Research,)  some dots in medicine (With specialties in psychology and toxicology)  Dots in Occult, normally reserved for his horror writing, but there are options which I’ll discuss below. and dots in Investigation. He’s also got some dots in Science with specs in forensics and in improvised explosives. He’s also picked up some Larceny.

Gear: In the toolbox of TJ’s truck there is a large tool bag which has necessary materials. His stun gun, taser, Blow guns, and his dart pistol is there along with a few ampoules of useful toxins and hallucinogens. He’s bought a number of lock picking tools. (Mail order, all through a remailing service, of varying levels of usefulness.) Also, there’s a tarp, shovels, Bungie cords bought in bulk from Costco. Latex gloves from rite aid and all the usually forensic defeating chemicals.
His phone is pretty gee whizzy, but he still carries his Kindle because he never wants to be without a book at any point, and he can size up the text easier than the phone.

Home: Technically, He owns the family home. But he holds it in trust for his mother and her roommates. Every once in a while, he’ll go around there to fix something.  Unless it’s something big and he can’t glean the basics from a youtube video. In which case he’ll hire out. He covers the house insurance.
   After his dad was killed and he went into a bad place, he went out and purchased a mobile home. He’s never exactly needed a lot of space. It’s a single wide. He has his bedroom with the blacked out windows (“I work odd hours. I’m not cooking meth or anything weird in there.”) The other bedroom is essentially where he goes to relax and read.  He keeps his office in the “Living room” and has a TV which is normally tuned to a news station or just music of some sort as wallpaper.  He also maintains a studio apartment which has another computer that syncs all his devices once per day. The studio apartment is where he keeps gear for his hunting, he calls it the “Workshop”.   The Workshop and his single wide are each armed with motion detectors that fit over the doorknobs and will go off if the knob is tried. These are connected to his phone. The landlord at the studio apartment has FINALLY gotten the goddamn message about calling him prior to sending in the guy in to spray for pests. TJ keeps the place clean.

Circle: TJ has a few friends around town and he’s gone out of his way to become professionally friendly with a number of people. Cops and criminals alike. He buzzes the occult scene every once in a while especially if he’s writing about some aspect of it that he’s only read about. But he’s not really a known name. He’s discovered that if you tell someone that you’re a writer, The people who don’t know dick will talk your ear off, and the people who DO know dick, will clam up.
It probably bears mentioning even though it has exactly no bearing on his activities, TJ is Asexual. After high school, he bumped into the concept of asexuality in one of his psychology courses and was utterly relieved that there was a name for what he was and that he wasn’t alone.  This precipitated a long talk with his current “girlfriend” (They are still friends) and an even longer one with his parents. (Mama is still sad about no grandchildren.)  In any case, TJ is relieved at least that he doesn’t really have anyone in his life that he has to explain anything to except his literary agent.

Story Uses:  “Are you aware that if you get capsaicin in your eye, you can die from shock?” 
I think I need to tackle this section on story uses a bit differently than normal. Thomas is, as written, a dangerous, but ultimately human killer of cops. While your attitude towards law enforcement professionals may go all over the map, the one thing that can’t be elided is that he hasn’t stopped at revenge of the original 5 and that he seems to take an inordinate amount of delight in terrifying them horribly before dispatching them.
This might seem to take TJ in a couple of different directions.  For those thinking to keep him essentially human, The addition of a hedge magus template might be useful.  You might also use him as a spirit urged or claimed individual which will give him a little more juice.  He might find common cause with a seductive murder spirit or maybe a twisted “justice” spirit.
If you are in proud possession of a copy of Beast: the Primordial, You could posit that TJ is a beast or even that one of the cops of the original five was one and that he’s some twisted form of Hero. Either is possible.  Last, but certainly not least, is the idea that Thomas has become a Slasher of some sort.

*He actually knows and thinks well of Officer Karl Richter. That relationship will get real complicated real quick if you make TJ into a Beast, or give Karl the slightest inkling of what's going on.
* Has met Charlotte Wilson and talked writer stuff with her. Charlotte, for her part, is confused that he doesn't seem gay, and yet does not even look at her tits. Not even once.
* Thomas keeps a fifth of decent whiskey in the truck at all times in case he sees Tim Deacon or Charlie out on the street. Tim normally passes it off to someone else, but in both cases, Thomas is just paying for interesting stories.
Chris Murphy Depending on how supernatural you make TJ, Chris might make a ready ally. In any event, Chris has twigged and might be helping behind the scenes.
* Has struck up an acquaintance with Rosalie Prescott. It's sensible, He's up at weird hours. He's seen some of her art. He likes her and her kid. He's even asked his agent about the particulars of commissions for cover art just to see if he can kick some business in her direction. She, of course, knows none of this.
* Went to high school with Jack Marston and still keeps in touch via Facebook. He recommends music and Thomas recommends books. Jack is always good for interesting stories about the bondsman business. Thomas is actually thinking about basing a character on Jack.
Officer Wesley Ullman "I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to have to do something about this guy at some point."
Special Agent Owen Maccready "Love this guy. Great to talk to. understands a LOT about how the mind works.Interviewed him a couple of times for various books.   I have to be extra careful about M.O. so that none of my killings get classed as serial killings. I mean, some of the occult trappings alone would put him in the field. Looking for me. I don't think he'd understand."
*T.C. Mitnick "Asked around online about computer crime and ended up paying this guy to tell me some of the things he'd done. Interesting character. Later, I ended up making another approach for some actual "Work". Thankfully. He was willing."
Rory O'Halloran "Rory's my boy He read some of my junior high books. Good guy. GREAT cook.
Clavo Hernandez  TJ got referred to Clavo by a mutual friend. TJ told Clavo a mostly true story about needing documents for multiple pseudonyms. He said he was trying to maintain a sense of mystery about himself for his horror and detective fiction reader. Of course, he also told Clavo that he works in about three more genres than he actually does. Those identification papers are all safe as houses in his "workshop" should a need to skip the country arises.
Norman Cayce "Talk to this guy pretty regularly. Have to keep notes, so I don't accidentally do something to a cop that we've talked about. Norman's sharp.
The Borland Farm "Yeah. I may have heard about that place."
Dr. Ronnette Franklin "Yeah. Ronnie and I dated in college... Our relationship is complicated. But there's nothing I wouldn't do for her. Still.
Officer Honus Brightwater "Let's just say he's on a list."