The Booming Business
September 14, 25 – It was a slow lazy two weeks since The All-Star Troubleshooters’s last big job. In between then and now, they might have found where some cuckold’s wife had disappeared for the past fortnight, or maybe not. All that they could remember was it was hot for September. It made the lack of business all the more tiring.
The waiting made Hans restless. He spent most of the time disrupting a small-time child labor ring. The Monarch outlawed child labor a decade ago, but the practice still stands, particularly since the population grows at a much faster pace than law enforcement can be trained to police them all. It seems that the leader of the labor ring got away and promised to come back and show Hans who was boss.
Tim couldn’t take being defeated by Dr. Jackal lying down and initiated a smear campaign on the Murderous Doctor’s name.
Delic followed up on their first client, the inventor Pol Dostovoy. Having delivered his most recent invention, it seems spies have laid low for now. Delic saw Dostovoy pacing in his living room and eavesdropped on the muttering inside the man’s head. The thoughts of a man left by himself are a jumbled mess of everything that concerns him, some of which he may himself not be aware. One thought caught Delic’s attention, a name, the “True Seekers.” It seemed out of place among the cacophony of scientific jargon.
Meanwhile, Damien spent the last fortnight digging into Mr. Vladimir (what Damien uncovered is reported there). As if invoking his name acted as a summons, Mr. Vladimir paid a visit to the office.
When the front door to The All-Star Troubleshooters opened up, the dance commenced. The brass bell above the door clattered and the receptionist, Josephine, arose, stepped forward, then greeted Mr. Vladimir with her enchanting voice, which retained a slight hint of a foreign accent. In response, Mr. Vladimir paused and returned the greeting, waiting for Josephine to twirl and show him to the back. The opening of the dance gave Delic, plenty of time to disappear from view to initiate a watch for any signs of misdirection coming from the smooth lips of the fey blooded human.
Mr. Vladimir removed his black fedora, but kept on his black winter gloves. He smiled, sapphire eyes gleaming, at Hans and Tim, saying, “Business is booming I see.”
Job 002: The Case of Pastor Edgar Strange
Mr. Vladimir briefed them on their next client, Pastor Edgar Strange:
“The Pastor Edgar Strange has gained notoriety as a brilliant philosopher. His theories about The Self’s position in a Post- Arrival world as written in “Being and Dimensionality” are a popular topic among the literate class. Pastor Strange mentioned to me that he had breakthroughs in thought on a somewhat regular basis. Unfortunately, a few days before he receives these flashes of insight, lacerations appear on his body. The wounds have begun to appear more frequently. He fears that eventually the wounds will surpass his ability to heal and he believes a powerful being is trying to destroy him.
This condition is known to very few individuals and Pastor Strange wishes to keep it that way. If word of this got out, it would negatively influence the perception of his writings.
The Pastor’s home is near Pegasus Station."
Investigation: The Strange Residence Near Pegasus Station
Pegasus Station is on the north side of Render Hill. It is an above ground station which has a great view of The Flats of Exelica’s north side. Underneath Pegasus Station, between the street and the platform, is The Paper Bound, a book store. Many unique tomes can be found there.
Pastor Strange lives a few blocks from the station, which is a section of Render Hill known for having a concentration of academic luminaries and the avant-garde of literature and the musical arts among its residents. The architecture and the landscaping of the small yards at the front of the brownstones, tend to buck the traditional garden arrangements. If one is on a different wavelength from the neighborhood’s, these arrangements may seem odd.
The home of Pastor Edgar Strange looks to be a week or so behind in its maintenance. The Pastor answers the door himself and as he leads you to the sitting room, it appears that he is the only person home.
While Damien and Stavian occupy Pastor Strange’s attention with questions regarding the nature of the injuries he finds on himself, Hans creeps upstairs to bugger around. It was definitely once a place where two people lived, but in the absence of that other person a collection of curiosities now fills the void. A lot of old farm tools, old watches, knick-knacks and a collection of animal figurines bears, dragons, tigers and lions made of various materials. After the rest of them came up to investigate, Stavian determined that the Tiger bore the most evidence of arcane energy. This prompted Delic to tap into the psychic energy of the room to see that the Tiger would grow at night and attack the Pastor in his sleep. Stavian removed the tiger from the residence and brought it to his guild hall to do some further research.
The Pastor mentioned that he had received the figurine as a gift about a year and a half ago for his charitable work with the refugees living underneath Render Hill. Delic used his post-cognition abilities to see that the figurine was delivered to the Strange residence by a goblin courier.
The Hegel Lecture
Damien catches a glimpse of a news sheet and sees that Georg Hegel is giving a lecture at the Rosehip Tea Room. It was probably the best opportunity they had to meet with him face to face. He brought Tim along and they were able to interest Hegel in speaking with them further at another time. Damien enticed Hegel by mentioning that he was developing some sort of serum.
The Tiger and The Refugees
While at his arcane guild hall, Stavian came across a reference to a monastic order, the True Seekers, who came from Agathon (link to Map). The tiger featured prominently in the order’s imagery. Four years ago, when The Echogenesis Zone of Luhkr began to slowly expand, the kingdom of Arcades invaded Agathon in order to put some distance between itself and the expanding zone. Refugees from Agathon poured into Exelica. Stavian concluded that investigation into the tiger figurine pointed to Agathonian refugees and this order, the True Seekers.
Faster Pussycat, Go Tiger Go!
As Stavian poured over material late into the night, the brass figurine grew from six inches tall to the same size as a live tiger and ran out of the guildhall. Stavian knew exactly where it was going to go and hurried after it on foot.
The figurine did not grow in mass, even as it grew in size. The mass of metal simply occupied more space, a million different particles floating around like a cloud maintaining the shape and form of a tiger. It was like a ghost, but not as the mettle particles made sound as it moved across surfaces, seeping through spaces underneath doorways and out the cracks of windows. Stavian kept up as best he could on foot, running after it around blocks as the tiger particles filtered through houses along the way.
Eventually, the brass ghost of the tiger seeped back into Pastor Strange’s house. As Stavian ran toward the Strange house, he made a sweeping gesture with his arm to send a telekinetic wave ahead of him that shattered the door. To his surprise, he found the thirteen-year old Hans on the couch with a startled expression on his face from having just been awoken by the splintered door.
The two rushed up the stairway to Pastor Strange’s bedroom. The brass tiger formed ghost sat next to the sleeping Pastor Strange. It appeared to have finished a brief incantation and looked ready to pounce on its prey. The tiger did not seem to care that Hans launched himself toward it. Hans swung his fist at the tiger form and his fist connected. The tiger form paused for a moment. Something happened that it did not expect to happen.
In a flash, the statue dispersed itself filling the entire room with a metallic haze. Hans was caught breathing and inhaled a lung full of metal particles that he could feel moving in his lungs. He exhaled hard to expel the brass dust from his body and held his breath to avoid breathing in any more. There would not be enough time for him to get out of the room. The statue particles began to move in a pattern and there wasn’t anything Hans would be able to do.
Fortunately for the boy, Stavian finished his own incantation and pushed the floating particles down to the floor. Hans grabbed a breath and grabbed the pastor, throwing the slumber enduced man across his back and shoulders and ran out of the room while Stavian continued to disrupt the tiger figurine long enough for Hans to escape the house.
Hans ran down several blocks, but in moments he could hear the sound of metal particles scraping on the ground, gaining on him. There was no escaping the tiger. He lay the pastor on the cobblestone and fought the tiger, which attacked the sleeping pastor, now grievously wounded and unable to defend himself from the ghostly metal tiger. The tiger coiled again for a killing blow, while Hans righted himself against the tiger’s death strike, putting all his weight into the last shot he had to save the sleeping man.
The tiger shifted forward, ghost-like claws swinging to rend. Hans moved forward to intercept, fists clenched, speeding toward the tiger’s head, turning, rotating on the axis of his forearm through his middle knuckle. It met the metal particles which tore into his skin, but the fist connected sending a wave of force through the tiger’s form, breaking the energy imbued on the metal as the wave traveled through like a whip casting the particles out as the wave rolled through the form until breaking at the end. From above, the pile of brass dust looked like a bag of odd looking flour had burst on the floor.
Stavian sighed. He wanted that figurine and now it was gone.