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Calvin Lovegrove

En Route


Cal said nothing at first; he slowly stuck the key into the ignition and fired up the engine. He ran his fingers through his sweaty pompadour--dislodging a few hairs from their neat combover--and began the unholy drive to Danielle's. Goosebumps ran up his arms; her home was a place of sanctuary for him, and now he was forced to be the one to defile it. For the first few minutes, he said nothing, his eyes lingering on the scenery as if he was looking upon New York for the final time. He knew he was not, but Cal was well aware that no matter which way this case splintered, it would eviscerate him.

At the very least, it would no longer be convenient for Danielle to see him. She was a resourceful and cunning woman, but her arrangement with Calvin was predicted on the ideal that he kept the police away from her. Now here he was, bringing the most resourceful cop the precinct had seen in decades straight to her doorstep.

Finally, Cal decided to speak. "You must not be a man of cinema, Ash." He tried to lace his words with humor, but the delivery came out flat and wobbly. He couldn't even hide how distressed he had become. "...Well, most people learned of her when she was little, back on this weird fucking family values show that they aired in the 30s. Can't remember the name...Righteous Road? Terrible. But something about her drew Hitchcock's attention and she starred in The Grand Staircase as a teenager. Ever since then, she's been a household name. And she's grown up to be irresistible."

Cal bit his lip and tried to more clearly focus on the road, looking away from Ashley. "I don't have any dirt on her. From what I understand, she's a mysterious character, but as far as the NYPD can tell, she's clean as a whistle," he lied. "I have no idea why she would have been at that shitty club. Let alone for two consecutive nights. Sometimes, directors and agents go to public places to have meetings with their clients. Perhaps she was there on business." Again, Cal shifted in his chair. The more he lied, the more he continued to weave a gigantic delicate web that could be incinerated in an instant if Dani couldn't scrounge together an alibi.

After an uncomfortable half hour of driving, Cal parked on the street below a massive apartment structure that looked akin to a castle. He took a deep breath and then looked over at Ash to see if he had anything left to say. Sweat had started to deconstruct his hairdo.

"This is her place, according to the yellow pages," muttered Calvin. Come on, Dani. Do not fuck this up.
Calvin Lovegrove

Club Carousel


Calvin made his way to his convertible without Ashley, who had stayed behind with some show-broad with a deer-in-the-headlights look about her. He sighed and hopped over the driver's side door, lighting a cigarette as he landed in the almost addictingly plush seat. He had to be very careful about how he played his cards with Danielle. He looked down the sidewalk he had parked along. At the end of the block, there stood a lone payphone.

What a fucking mess. Calvin rubbed his forehead as cigarette smoke filled the interior of the car. Two different demons were gripping his arms, and he would have to choose one to elope with. On one side, bringing Ashley to Danielle's apartment unannounced would prove to be a nightmare; she was devious but there was no way she would be able to masquerade her relationship with Calvin to a detective as merciless as Gallagher. His facade would burst at the seams; all of the dirty loopholes Cal used to keep Danielle out of prison would rain into the public eye.

On the other side, if Calvin called Danielle and warned her of the impending search, she would have time to rehearse her persona and keep the ruse intact. But this would mean that she would have time to craft her own story and alibi; the truth would be long-gone by the time Gallagher made it there. It would save Calvin's skin, but it would destroy the case. She was the only thread of evidence they had. Fuck. Calvin stepped out of the car and slammed the door shut. He leaned against the car-door and tossed his cigarette on the ground, burying it with his wing-tipped shoe.

Calvin took a deep breath and hurried to the payphone. He pumped in a nickel rung Danielle's apartment. He had to live to fight another day.

"Hello?"

"It's me. Calvin."

"Ugh. I got out of bed for your sorry hide?" Calvin could hear her chuckle behind the line.

"It's a pretty picture, darling. But I've got some alarming news."

"What?"

"You were signed into the Carousel Club on the nights of both of the Florist's murders."

"Yes, but...what?! You don't think that I--"

"No. I don't. You came home long before the first murder. But that's the problem. I'm your alibi."

"Shit..."

"I'm coming to your apartment with a fuckin' gunslinger of a detective--Ashley Gallagher--and he is going to drill his procedure into your goddamn skull until your brain starts to leak through your nose. Be ready for him. Prepare a story if you have to. We're forty five minutes away. Craft an alibi if you have to. If Detective Gallagher finds out about us, he will investigate our dealings and he will find everything. He is the best they have to offer."

"Perhaps it would be better if he was out of the picture..."

"Are you fuckin' crazy, love? No. Don't dig a deeper hole. Do what you do best. Act. I've got a lot on the line, but I'm working this case, Dani. I expect the truth from you later."

"Good luck, Calvin Lovegrove," Danielle muttered, with a raspy and almost seductive tone of voice. The line fell dead. Calvin quickly hung up the phone and sprinted back to his car. Ashley had not yet arrived. He hopped into his driver's seat and waited. Fuck. He'd quite possibly sabotaged the case before it even began.
Calvin Lovegrove

Club Carousel


Cal stared at the bottom of his scotch. "I hope I'm alive once they figure out how to make 'em bottomless.." He downed the remainder of his demented health potion and stared over at Ashley. He couldn't let the boy do all the work. He'd let Detective Gallagher use his awkward charm to reel in the hostess, and then he'd strike. It wasn't long before she'd conjured the ledger.

After making an obsessive taste-test to make sure no drops of scotch were left in his glass, he sauntered over toward Ashley with his arms tucked into the pockets of his coat. He snatched the ledger from Detective Gallagher and held it out so they both could see, flipping to the two dates in question. February 5th and 6th, 1949. He traced his fingers down the two different days, on which hundreds of aliases had found their way onto the paper. Fuck. There was an entire city's worth of names here.

There was little to no chance that the murderer had signed in, and done so under their name, but perhaps if a strange detail had caught the eye of a repeat customer, it could at least be a thread to pull. He sighed as he exasperatedly ran his fingers down the list. He narrowed his eyes. The fuck? He found a name, which had been signed onto both evenings at the exact same time. 10:20 P.M. Danielle Raymonde. "What in the hell?" He muttered.

The hostess furrowed her brow. "You know her?"

Cal nervously quivered his lip. "Y---no. I don't know her personally," he lied. "But if that's the Dani Raymonde, then The Florist is tangling with the top of the tower. She's about as...thrilling...and rich...as starlets come." He narrowed his eyes. It was his job to veil her criminal dealings. This was nothing compared to some of the sinful depravity he'd masked for her. If Danielle had hidden that she'd been at Club Carousel on the nights of the murders from him, then this labyrinth of a case was far more complex than he'd predicted.

"This makes things far more complicated.' Cal plopped another cigarette into his mouth and lit the end. He took a deep breath and let loose a large puff of smoke. "Sounds like we're going to have to question this 'Danielle Raymonde', Detective Gallagher. I know, I know...Popping your Hollywood-leading-lady-chat cherry isn't so attractive when it's done in police procedure. But take what you can get."

"Shall we take my car?"

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.”
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