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Calvin Lovegrove

Club Carousel

“What’d I miss, Cal?”

Detective Lovegrove looked up at Ashley and murdered his cigarette, crushing its life against an ashtray. He folded his arms and leaned back. “This one is a long shot, Ash. There’s almost nothing to go on.” He stared at the stage and took a deep breath. “Fuck, this place is depressing. There’s no tits and no scotch. Only…despair.” He grunted and pursed his lips.

Cal gestured to the chair next to him and waited for Ashley to sit. He folded his legs and wiped a bit of grime off his cheek. “I am here because a serial killer in the neon jungle is bad for business. It’s bad for everyone – the department looks bad, and the characters who rely on the loopholes in the NYPD suddenly become cynical. Everything falls apart.”

After a moment, Cal frowned and tapped his fingers against the table. “I am sorry to hear about Detective Smith’s passing, but this is larger than him. You cannot take this case on an emotional joyride. If someone is truly cutting up the ladies of the Carousel, then they’re doing it deliberately. They’re trying to destroy the fabric of business that allows the underworld and the NYPD to coexist. That’s the only reason I’m here. If this was a grimy neighborhood in Brooklyn, I’d have walked away.”

Cal then offered a smile. “Well, the only way to walk is forward. Let’s assess what we have…This ‘florist’ is murdering young ladies in the neon jungle, which is about as bold as it gets. By doing so, you risk offing the darling of a crime lord or affluent businessman. It’s either a deliberate scheme or he wants to be caught. However, you can immediately eliminate the latter. Smith comes too close to the truth, and he winds up dead. It’s about as clear of track covering as I’ve ever seen.”

Cal continued. “Even though we would have come to this conclusion by proximity, the killer wants us to know that they’re connected. This is again an impasse – he is either stroking his ego or wants to create a frightening caricature to scare the masses into chaos. Perhaps both. These are not emotional killings – each murder has been silent perfection, carried out with immaculate technique. From what we have to go on, this is about as close to a motive as we can find.”

Cal looked over to the bar. “They’ll listen to you before they listen to the guy on suspension. I want you to walk up to that lovely hostess and ask to see their books. Get a list of all tenants on the nights of the two murders and let’s cross-reference them.”
Lorelei Jones - Lexington

“…Being nostalgic for a world that's gone and living in a world that's ashes and rubble is what is. We build a new world over the devastation of the old."

Deciding he'd had enough downer talk, he went back around the counter and picked up the coffee cup. “Ma'am, you look like you need a pick me up. $5 and a hot cup of coffee is yours. Adam turned to the metal coffee maker and hit the pour switch and, much to his surprise, liquid came out. Instead of hot coffee, a cool mixture of disgusting coffee sludge and rust came out. Adam tried to keep a straight face until he took it to the counter. "Here you are, our special blend. A house secret and it's all yours for only $5. I'd call that a steal!" His lips curled inward until he finally snorted and broke out into laughter.

Lorelei spun around on her bar stool. She took the coffee mug with phony glee and looked down at the disgusting contents. “My apologies sir, I am but a poor girl. I don’t even have a penny to my name.” She set down the mug and bit her lip. “Lorelei Jones, -Grave Robber-. I like it.” She shrugged and wiped a bit of dust off the counter.

At that, she knocked the coffee mug off the counter, spilling its contents onto the rubble-encrusted floor and breaking the ceramic. “I can’t help but be sentimental as I pick apart all these sad bones.” She sighed. “I’ve been a scavenger for almost decade, and I can’t level with your vision. Perhaps my upbringing has simply poisoned my perception.” She shrugged. “Although perhaps it’s a poison I’ve become addicted to. If not to marvel over what was left behind, what’s the point of moving forward? I don’t, strictly speaking, desire a family or a stable source of income. Only the fleeting happiness one can find in this world.”

Lorelei stood up from her seat and trudged over toward the door, looking out upon the dusty boulevard. “If it isn’t locked up tight, this place will be a treasure trove of all things nostalgic and scavenge-worthy.” She pointed out the door. “Lead the way.”
Lorelei Jones – Lexington

“There it is... Looks like you lead from here, chief. You seem to know this city better than I do.”

Lorelei narrowed her eyes as the gargantuan structures of Lexington loomed ever closer. She gulped. The idea of returning to this place was far more attractive than the present reality; who knows what had become of this place in the year since she’d wandered its streets. Her merciless grip on her sidearm tightened and she trudged ahead of Adam, leading him to the front entrance of the town.

Something became immediately and unfortunately clear – the place reeked like a forgotten corpse. Lorelei pursed her lips and pressed on, leading Adam into the confines of the town. From here, the town forked into two roads – one leading to a ruined residential mess and another that shot directly into the sprawling urban sculpture that made up the industrial sector of the town. Between the fork was a quaint donut shop with a wistfully jolly sign on the top, although any joy to be found in the personified donut had been eroded by rust.

Lorelei shuffled inside and stood in the half-collapsed donut store. She sighed. “The old packaging plants and factories always stand the test of time, but these cute little places?” She frowned and lightly kicked at a piece of rubble. “…never stood a chance.” She looked at Adam. “If you’re a nostalgic type, this sort of town gnaws at you a little bit…it’s sad, really – these forgotten bits of the old world. If I’d been brought up in the olden days, I would have been addicted to places like this.”

Lorelei folded her arms and sat down on one of the withered barstools. “I suppose I have my father to thank for that. I didn’t have to think about the reality of things until I was older. He wanted me to have my own little world.”
Lorelei Jones - Commonwealth Countryside

“You see that whirlybird up in the sky over Salem earlier? Thing was labelled Brotherhood and so were the troops. I don't know why they were dropping off that thingy they were leaving behind, but I'm skeptical. Those bastards don't do things out of the kindness of their hearts. Hope this ain't a sign of changing leadership." Adam frowned as he walked along the road. "Sorry. I don't mean to wax on politics, I just don't exactly like or trust those Cram can wearing SOBs is all."

Lorelei stayed silent for a while as her eyes remained fixed on the terrain ahead, her intuition and memory creating an invisible path before the three of them. She had an almost scowling expression stretched across her face. “I didn’t see the vertibird.” She paused. “But if the Brotherhood is weaving their influence into this town, then I’ll be kissing Salem goodbye.” Lorelei sighed and pointed her rifle ahead, using her scope to gauge the horizon. “The Brotherhood of Steel only carries out something like this if there’s a distinct motive. We either have something they want, or they have something to gain by interfering with the town.”

Adam halted Bessie and opened the truck's passenger side door. He sighed a hopeless sigh as he dug around and found nothing but worthless ownership papers, an unspent 9mm round and a tire pressure gauge. Adam shut the door, but it just ended up falling off into the dirt. He could only sigh, "Nothing. Unless maybe you're hungry enough to eat a bullet."

Lorelei shook her head and pursed her lips. “There isn’t going to be much of anything out here. But…that’s the cost of admission when you veer off the road. It’s quieter out here.” She swung her rifle around her back and retrieved her revolver. “Back when I lived in a grimy fifth-floor apartment in Goodneighbor, I dreamed of making it work out here…living off the land, finding a cottage in the middle of nowhere…” Lorelei sighed and shrugged. “I guess I’m still holding out for it, however fantastical it might be.”

At that, they continued down the road and Lorelei kept her eyes fixed on the horizon, waiting for the industrial towers of Lexington to finally protrude past the background.
Lorelei Jones – Jones Residence

Lorelei awoke on the floor—desperately clutching the end of her comforter—having rolled off the bed. She stood up and massaged her forehead. What she’d gained from relieving her mind to sleep with the bottle, she lost every single subsequent morning. She stood in front of the mirror and folded her arms. Her hair had dissolved into an amorphic, rat-nest-looking mess and she had clearly cradled one of the drinks to sleep, evident from beer stains on her underwear.

Pursing her lips and running her fingers vigorously through her hair, Lorelei smiled at her reflection. Classy. If father were still about, he would be disappointed to see that his little girl had disintegrated into an alcoholic blob of satirical (and yet slightly genuine) self-loathing. She then carried a change of clothes to her restroom and bathed before eventually returning to her room with damp hair and serenely clean skin. She tied her hair into a relatively pathetic bun and rubbed her eyes.

At that, Lorelei threw on her overcoat, swung her bag around her shoulder, strapped her rifle onto her back, took a swig of water from her canteen, and bolted downstairs. She slammed her door shut and briskly strolled toward Adam’s place.

Lorelei narrowed her eyes, gave a slight smile in greeting, and nodded her head. “Sorry I’m late. Overslept.” She looked up at the sky. “Good day for traveling. If we don’t run into any hiccups, we’ll make it to Lexington before dark…” Her eyes darted to the road above. She was aching to hit the road and get the hell out of this town. She could hardly wait any longer.
Lorelei Jones - Jones Residence

"Hey. I uh...I'm getting a little stiff sitting around town like this. Heard from a buddy of mine that came through earlier that there's someplace called 'Lexington' nearby that might have some good stuff to pick through. You seem like an action kinda girl and I could use a second with me. I know that might sound a little much to ask, but if you're interested, I'll be heading out tomorrow morning with Bessie. Sleep on it, you feel like partnering up, I live down on the waterfront.”

Lorelei shook her head vigorously in an attempt to stay awake. “Lexington? Hmm. I’ve been there. It’s a spectacular cluster of the old world, if I can say so, myself. You won’t want to take the main roads…it’s a sure way to attract unwanted attention. I’ve travelled these parts extensively – I can help you navigate your way through the woods. It’s faster and infinitely more scenic.”

Lorelei folded her arms and narrowed her eyes. “I accept. Don’t leave without me.” She gave a light smile and departed to her house. Upon making a beeline for her room, she finished the two bottles left on her end table and set aside some supplies – water, canned food, bullets, and a few stimpaks before undressing and slipping under the covers.

Finally. She was finally going to be able to get off her ass and do something.
Robert Edwin House - President, C.E.O, and Sole Proprietor of the FZM
Lucky 38

Robert listened with intrigue as the table disintegrated into a vat of political lava, each faction quarreling with the next as to the validity of Crassus’ speech. As the floor fell into silence, House finally took the opportunity to speak.

“You’ve all come a very long way. It doesn’t take a P.H.D. from C.I.T. to realize that the many eyes upon this table see the road to the future from an entirely different perspective. There is no disputing that we’ll never be able to agree on a particular vision.”

Robert sighed. “But for the New California Republic…they are the exception to my patience. I shamelessly used their infrastructure as a conduit to the prosperous wealth of New Vegas, but now I find myself in a troubling position. They have become so devastatingly arrogant and shortsighted that I can no longer even trust the influx of their customers.”

Mr. House focused his vision upon Titus Crassus. “For those who are unacquainted with the current climate of the west, let me enlighten you. The New California Republic was born from an idea not terribly unfamiliar from mine – a vision of the old world plastered over the new. A vision of the future. But, along the way, it has fallen into the mistakes that led us to the Great War and distorted into an aimless romp over new territory, damaging the identity of all lands it crosses. I invited President Kimball to this meeting on good faith that he would be reasonable; that he would try to create a future with the rest of us.”

“Instead, he has proven that he is salivating for blood and political gratification in an even more primal, destructive, and backward way than Edward Sallow’s Legion before him. ‘How could Mr. House possibly compare the dissolution of 86 tribes and the crucifixion of thousands to a strategic invasion?’, you might ask…The answer is simple. Lucius’ direction as the new Caesar has proven that even a civilization based off a rudimentary and ancient lifestyle can change. However, the NCR is the same as it’s ever been…Kimball abused his invitation and has propped it up as a smokescreen for his invasion.”

“…Mark my words – Kimball and his regime will not survive this road. I have seen dozens of President Kimballs in my years, and they all disintegrate in remarkably similar ways. The new world demands that you have the sense not to bet on the losing horse…And unless the rest of the NCR finds its feet and uproots its ridiculous administration, said ‘horse’ will collapse before the race has even begun…”

House then moved on to his more specific message. “Hear me, New California Republic – if you so much as send a second squadron into the Mojave Desert or try to cross into Legion territory again, then California will be no more. I have formally declared an alliance with Lord-Paladin Barnaky of the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel, and I assure you that our partnership will serve as a conduit for the return of a technological future and we shall safeguard its path. The NCR – or anyone who worships the earth they walk on – will be hard-pressed to even cause a dent into our combined prowess.”

“Let this be a challenge to the NCR to return home and reevaluate its very DNA. If it fails to do so, it won’t survive this war. As for the citizens of this failed regime – if you are disillusioned with the direction of your destructive government, I am allowing the exodus of NCR citizens into my borders, where you may find work, peace, and prosperity.”

Robert looked out across the others. “The rest of you can hide behind beautiful ideologies as much as you’d like, but Titus Crassius is right. Lucius will stay upright for longer than most of you because he has made the decisions that have kept he and his people alive…If you’d like to witness the fate of democracy, I implore you to look out the windows.”
Lorelei Jones - Jones Residence

“May I sit up on the porch with you?"

Lorelei looked down upon Adam and shrugged. “Don’t see why not.” She continued her work on her rifle and idly kicked her legs back and forth against the supports of the railing.

“Hey, you're the kid from the gate, right? Uhhhh, Lorelei I think you'd said?” muttered Adam.

Lorelei scoffed. Even at 25, she couldn’t escape the eternal role of the crazy little kid on the block. Perhaps, by now, she’d painted herself into that corner with her juvenile wonderment and general eccentricity. Such a remark reminded her of her own father, who’d referred to her as ‘honey pie’ or ‘little Lora’ until the end of his life. She granted a warm smile. “That’s me.” She squinted at Adam, trying to deduce his features through the gloomy moonlight. “So… you’re Adam. Right.”

Lorelei sat quietly as Adam climbed up to sit next to her. Her eyes returned to her rifle and remained fixed there. “Being a sole homeowner—especially pertaining to a gargantuan piece of real estate like this—it feels…odd. I haven’t lived in a house like this since my childhood. Feels too good to be true. Just like this town.”

After a while, Lorelei gazed out at the moonlit structures of Salem. She took a deep breath and leaned to her right, pressing her torso against the tall wooden support beam of the porch steps.
Calvin Lovegrove
Smith Residence

"I've got nothing, Cal. The Club is our best shot. I gotta make a stop if you don't mind, forgot some papers at home. You finish up here with the Coroner, I'll meetcha'."

Calvin nodded and straightened his tie. “Do what you need to do. I’ll see you at the Carousel.” He sighed and trudged through the living room, being careful not to disturb any of the objects lying around. He stared down the coroner and pursed his lips. He then grimaced at the body and took a deep breath. “Take him to central. Gallagher and I are headed to Club Carousel.”

Once Cal made it to his car, he leaned against the glossy black fender flare and lit a cigarette. He’d made it this long in this business by looking out for himself, and everything about this soon-to-be-serial-killer sent shivers down his spine. This was the sort of case that would eat an idealistic cop alive. Perhaps it would have been wise to walk away.

Still, even if Lovegrove were to leave this acidic mess behind, the least he could do was open an avenue of investigation for Detective Gallagher. He hopped into his convertible and made a bee-line for Manhattan.

Club Carousel

Cal street-parked his car in front of the club and perused the road from the panorama of his convertible. He’d been to this avenue before, for very different reasons. It was the only place in Manhattan where a woman as limelight-smothered as Danielle could hide in plain sight. People were here for gratification, one way or another. They didn’t have a care in the world who was partaking. He’d taken her out to dinner down the street, and he’d always wondered what was behind the neon glow of the “Carousel” sign.

That was all gone. The street was desolate – mummified in caution tape. The expected press and beat patrol officers, however, were nowhere to be found. He was alone. He strolled inside and lit another cigarette. He sat at one of the empty tables alone with his smoking apparatus dangling from his mouth, waiting for Gallagher to catch up or an employee to meet with him
Lorelei Jones – Ace’s Diner

Rick looked at Lorelei quizzically, not fully grasping what she meant, not understanding that she was joking. “Well astronomy has never been my forte, but if I had to say home, we share the same home don’t we. If I remember correctly, we are in Salem, located in the commonwealth, located on Earth. Which in turn is in the Solar system, located in the Orion arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Which is in the Virgo cluster, within the Virgo Supercluster within the observable universe.”

Lorelei gave a half-smile and narrowed her eyes. “That’s precious.” She relaxed her arms off the edge of the booth and folded them. “There was jest laced into my interrogation, but I’m going to take a guess and say ‘scholar’. It sounds like you really know your shit.” This man was peculiar, yet fascinating. He oozed intelligence, and she was drawn to it. However, as usual, she’d masked her lapse in pragmatism with dry humor.

Rick borrowed his brow, almost mimicking Lorelei, “What do you mean that I took my glasses from a dead guy? Wearing prescription glasses that were made for another will harm your eyes. I would advise against it. As for my deal, I have no deal, I am who I am. Just because the world went to hell in a hand basket, doesn’t mean everyone gave up on society…sure, a vast majority chose anarchy and pursuit of self-pleasures. Some of us decided that we should continue living as humans always have. There’s no species no more capable of adaptability than humans; which is why we survived a devastating war. So, excuse me, for wishing to be educated in a world where strength and cunning are revered as the main evolutionary traits all perceive as greatest. So to answer your question, I’m just a person living life as we truly should, rather than waste it on nothingness.”

Lorelei pursed her lips. “Prescription, huh? Sounds like you come from a far more civilized place than I.” She took a deep breath. “It’s a pretty sentiment, though. Most can’t afford to think that way, but we have no future if we accept the state we are in – this is true. I apologize for trying to affix a label to your persona, Mr. Noel. Most folks in the wasteland are simple… easy to read. They’re only motivated by one thing – survival, and if they manage to achieve it, that notion dissolves into aimless greed and glutton…they always have a ‘deal’. But I’m stumped on yours…or a lack thereof.”

After taking a break from her counterattack and being met with silence, Lorelei turned her head slightly to the side and smiled. “I did not mean to insult you or your vision, if this is what you feel. My curiosity only brings out the worst in my humor.” Despite her confidence, she felt slight regret, having likely squandered her first impression by showering Rick in sappy, impenetrable comedy. She nodded her head. “Regardless…Welcome to Salem. I’ll leave you to your solitude…nice to meet you.” She stood up and waited for a second to see if he had anything else to say before slightly raising a hand in farewell. She left the diner, slapping a few caps onto the counter as payment for her milkshake.

At that, Lorelei hurried home and sat on her porch, sitting on the rotted-wood railing and cleaning the bolt-chamber on her rifle while arbitrarily gazing up at the stars on her lonesome.
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