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Harvey Fitzpatrick
The Hanging Gardens
Callisto, Jupiter System


The Hanging Gardens of Callisto were not the single most arrogant thing mankind had created since barreling into space—that honor belonged to the twin casinos in the Mars system, Phobos and Deimos—but Mr. Fitzpatrick considered it within the top five. Leaving Earth behind meant that mankind had the chance to revise its history. Never mind that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were destroyed and had their legacy embedded into an immaculate image. No, no…I guess to them, we’ve left Earth behind. History is clearly irrelevant.

Harvey marveled at the floating zero-gravity planters, containing palm trees, grape vines, pear trees, olive bushes…all the stuff they’d predicted had been grown in Babylon. They had been immaculately orchestrated on a giant roof terrace of the Callisto City Hall, three hundred stories above the ground. It was one of the single most beautiful sights in the New World, but so few had been able to see it. To preserve its tranquility and “dignity”, only a select upper crust were permitted to enter the grounds.

Breathing in the pungent air of the miraculous floating plants, the gentle hum of ethereal cosmic jazz singing through the night, Harvey sighed happily, but with restraint. He savored the time he spent up here, even if he was living a bit of a lie by doing so. He lit a cigarette, took a drag, and let loose a huff of red smoke. The colorful night-lighting of the garden glinted against his sweaty black hands.

Harvey heard a set of footsteps approaching behind him. He let loose a faint sigh. “Already?”

“Mr. Fitzpatrick…” The voice was not the one he’d expected.

“Hmm?” Harvey turned around, and to his surprise, before him stood John Crowley, the tall silver-haired treasurer of Galileus. For most, this would be a cataclysmic arrival, but it should be mentioned that Mr. Fitzpatrick came into his wealth via his ownership of the Callisto Opera House, rendering him a bit of an accidental magnate of the New World.

“I might need your help.”

“…Again? Have people forgotten that I’ve sold my company?”

“Well, that’s just it. Phobos Casino & Resort is about to be vacant at the top,” muttered Mr. Crowley.

“Huh. Old Robert Devlin kicked the bucket?”

“He’s in ‘hospice’, as they’re calling it,” said John.

“Interesting, except, I’m not sure why you’re telling me this,” said Harvey.

“Word has it that they’re going to ask you to throw your name in the ring.”

Mr. Fitzpatrick’s eyes widened, and he laughed. “Me? Hah. Don’t they know that I’m a washed-up playwright? There’s legitimately thousands in the solar system more qualified.”

Mr. Criwley shrugged. “No offense, but I don’t quite understand it either. I simply thought you’d like to hear it from me before they’re knocking on your office.”

“Well, thank you for that.” Harvey looked visibly disturbed.

“Aren’t you too young to stay retired?”

“No one is too young to retire out here. Make your money and get the hell out. Pops was terrible with money, but he was wise, in his way.”

“Just think about it,” said Mr. Crowley. "Galileus trusts you, and perhaps we can finally regain some semblance of control over the Mars system with your influence." He tipped his hat and returned into the foyer of the hall.

Harvey’s gaze returned to the city beneath him. They were considering him for C.E.O-ship of the single largest den of depravity in the solar system? Why? He took another drag from his cigarette and shook his head. He’d believe it when he saw it.

Otto Halstead
Dreamways Diner & Fuel Refinery
The Asteroid Belt, GFA#157


“What do you want?”

Otto lifted his face off the red-and-white checkered table and cleared his throat. “Hm?”

“Aren’t you going to order?” The hostess—a spritely red-haired woman in roller skates—had her arms folded.

“Oh.” He wiped his unkempt brown hair from his brow and leaned back into his sparkly red booth seat. “Sodapop. And a chocolate sprinkled donut. And….” Otto quickly surveyed the menu. “Chicken-fried steak. Extra gravy.” The hostess gave him a knowing half-smile and skated back toward the bar top.

Otto surveyed the retro-futuristic diner. The gentle nostalgic hum of lap steel guitars whispered through the radio to an audience of two. The rather peculiar hostess skated around aimlessly as she waited for the faceless cook behind the doors to finish Otto’s dinner. The two were alone. The diner was chillingly empty.

The window Otto now leaned on had a rather bland view of floating asteroids and wandering ships. Still, he had a quiet admiration for the asteroid belt. It was the only functioning human ecosystem in the Solar System independent of Galileus rule. So long as you were a competent enough pilot to navigate the maze of rocks, the Asteroid Belt was as good a place as any.

Otto gazed at his ship, which was parked and gassing up outside. This sleek bucket of bolts was named the “Kingfisher” and had seen wear-and-tear beyond the wildest dreams of this region’s space cowboys.

“Here you go,” said the hostess as she laid out a bountiful feast in front of the weathered space traveler. A steaming chicken-fried steak, glistening chocolate donut, and opened glass bottle of coca cola awaited.

“Thanks,” said Otto, offering a moment of polite gratitude before burying his face into his steak.

The waitress giggled as she intently watched Otto devour his food. “Long day?”

Otto chuckled, his mouth full of food. “You could say that.”

“Nice ship.”

“You must be joking.”

“You should see the kind of royal pieces of shit that fly our way. It might change your perspective.”
“She was a far finer ship when I first met eyes with her on Callisto. She’s been through a lot.”

“Like what?” asked the ginger-haired waitress.

Otto waved his hand dismissively “More than you’d care to hear.”

“You can at least tell me what brings you to our particular asteroid.”

Otto sighed. He looked around the diner again. “I guess you haven’t had much in the way of business or conversation. All right, I’ll bite…”

The waitress gazed at him expectantly.

“I’m headed to Mars in a few days.”

“Oh? Where are you from?”

“Callisto,” Otto lied.

“You and everyone else.”

“Sorry to disappoint.”

“Oh…I’m not disappointed.” The waitress sat at the booth across from Otto and crossed her legs, clearly desperate for any sort of conversation.

“This place sure beats Earth, I’ll tell you that much.”

“You were on Earth?”

“Mhm.”

“So you’re a vulture?”

“Eh. That’s not how I’d put it.”

“Well, ‘vulture’, my shift wraps up in a few hours. I can stick around and wait for you if you’d like…?”

Otto caught her drift. He gave a half-smile and chuckled under his breath. He splashed a few coins onto the table—plus a remarkably generous tip—before sliding out of the booth. “Perhaps another time.”
Calvin Lovegrove

The Apartment of Danielle Raymonde


“I’ve already questioned the girl she spoke of, Emerald. I don’t see the value in doing so again. I’d hate to bring any undue attention to her that might catch the killer’s interest. What do you suggest we do next?...I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to call it a day, pick it up where we left off tomorrow.”

Calvin took a long drag from his cigarette and a grimace washed over his face as he stared at the bustling street in front of Danielle Raymonde's apartment.

"Then meet with her somewhere. Discreetly. Short of opening a can of worms with the lovely lady we just tangled with, we don't have many options. This case might run cold if we can't get anything out of this 'Emerald'." The man spoke in half-truth; he truly had not a clue where to continue with his inquiry until another murder came knocking. Cal hated to consider this fact, but the more bodies that piled up, the larger of sample size the detectives would be able to study. Only then could they truly be able to distinguish patterns in the almost immaculate performance the florist had put on thus far.

"I'll tell you now, Ash...It might take a few more murders for us to truly begin to see patterns, and by then, this shindig might get passed down to homicide. Their imaginations are weak. Whoever it is won't be caught."

Cal dropped his cigarette onto the concrete and smothered it to death with his wing-tipped shoe. "Part of me hopes he never kills another soul and this case goes cold. I don't particularly desire to be laying on the coroner's table." He chuckled. "Anyway, see what you can find. Press or use some serious charm if you've gotta. But if you don't want this case to come up cold--and it really looks like it's headed that way--you've got to come up with something."

At that, Cal turned and peered back up at the building. "While you're at the Carousel, I'm going to tail Miss Raymonde. I have a feeling that this has little to do with her, but whoever she runs to with this information is likely connected to all of this." He reached for a dollar bill from his pocket and neatly placed it in Ashley's jacket pocket. "Cab-fare. I'll see you back at the precinct."
Calvin Lovegrove

The Apartment of Danielle Raymonde


"...I wish you great success in the future, may it not be marred by an untimely and murderous end— or worse, a toxic disposition.”

Calvin stared at the floor, a surge of embarrassment and simultaneous calm washing over him. Detective Gallagher stammered out of the room. Dani's face remained completely deadpan until the antiquated buckles on the elevator clapped into each other. He was gone.

"You fucking idiot!" screamed Danielle as she violently slid her ashtray across the table, an array of murdered cigarettes and ash raining onto Calvin's pants.

"I'm making do with what I have. I can't be of use to you if you're going to antagonize the NYPD. There are egos far worse than Gallagher's under that roof. Trust me. If you rile them up enough, they'll dig until you'll want to tell them the truth." Cal frowned at his slacks and casually brushed off the ash.

"You have to believe me when I say that I had nothing to do with any of this," said Danielle, a hint of desperation beginning to wear through her relentless frustration.

Calvin sighed put on his hat and returned his fixation to the floor, failing to meet Danielle's eye. "I don't think you killed anyone." He sighed. "But I know what you look like when you lie. There was extremely little in the way of truth in your speech."

Danielle folded her arms. "You -told- me to create a story."

Calvin stood from the couch and narrowed his eyes. "I told you to forge an alibi, not lead the detective to a complete dead end. There's something different about this case, baby doll. I can't be sure of anything anymore."

Danielle's expression sank and she sat back down. "Do you think I'm keeping the truth from you?"

Calvin straightened his hat. "Mhm. I have no doubt that this investigation will bring us back to you again... And next time, I will be walking through that door as a detective of the NYPD, not your janitor."

Danielle pointed toward the door. "I think you should leave."

Calvin strolled toward the door and tossed on his jacket before walking out the door. Dani leaned against the doorway and stared wistfully, as if she did not intend for him to return again. Calvin sighed and plopped a cigarette into his mouth before singing the end. He released a huff of smoke. "Leave town. This case has disintegrated everything it's touched."

"No."

"Then I can't protect you."

"You've done a pretty shitty job at that as it is."

Calvin said nothing more. He strolled toward the elevator and took one last glance back at Dani under his hat before entering the doors.

***

Detective Lovegrove found Ashley leaning against the wall outside. "They signed me up with you so that you could keep an eye on my behavior...but I think it's you that needs the babysitting. The fuck's gotten into you?"

Calvin Lovegrove

The Apartment of Danielle Raymonde


Danielle had the detective right where she wanted him – with his inquiry pointing his attention away from her and directly toward somebody else. She gave a half-smile. “The ones who fling themselves desperately toward my work and fail are the girls like your ‘Emerald’. No one takes up dancing on tables unless they must. My educated guess? She has nice legs and can’t act. Beyond that, your guesses are as good as mine.”

Cal stared at his partner nervously. Please tell me he’s out of questions. Please god, don’t make this a pain in the ass for me.

Dani folded her arms. “She seems like a queen bee to me. I bet that she’s a fountain of information, and if you have access to her, you are wasting time talking to me.”

Cal furrowed his brow. “Detective Gallagher here questioned ‘Emerald’ already. You have any reason to believe she’d lie to us?”

Dani chuckled under her breath. “I have -every- reason.” The devious starlet took a drag from her cigarette. “Implicating one of her own would destroy that shiny little club of her’s.”

Cal stared at Ashley nervously before his eyes returned to Dani. She had pivoted the blame toward Emerald so effectively that he began to wonder how much this enigmatic woman really knew. But this was not the time nor place for him to ask dangerous questions. He shot a glance back at Ash. “What are you thinking, partner?”
Robert House – Lucky 38 Hotel & Casino

Thomas descended the stairs down to the bottom floor of the Penthouse, and to his surprise he found yet another large monitor much like the one in the El Dorado: once again House’s picture was displayed on screen. He could only assume this meant that, far from the screen being a long-distance method of communication, it was perhaps House’s only method.

“I’d hoped to meet you face to face this time Robert….but then I assume this must mean that the method of your survival past the war was not...ideal. If there ever can be such a thing in the first place. What happened to you Robert?”

Mr. House faintly chuckled behind the monitor. “If such a thing… ‘face-to-face’… was possible, I would have preferred it. A meeting of old-world minds such as this has more bearing on the world than the middling, short-minded ones below could possibly know. But this is the best I can do.”

Jane rolled in from the hallway, holding a platter bearing two glasses of champagne. Clearly, one was meant for Dr. Milburn, and the other a forlorn symbolic gesture for a man who had not been ambulatory in two centuries. Harrowing echoes of crooning—Dean Martin, in particular—resonated from the other room from a weak speaker. Mr. House seemed to have at least temporarily dodged Thomas’ questions pertaining to his own longevity. “Step out to the windows, Thomas, and take a look.” The lights of New Vegas, from the highest precipice, were exhilarating and blinding to behold from above. “This is what happened to me. I’ve stayed breathing through the centuries to create this.”

House slightly dimmed the lights in the penthouse, giving the sense that he’d planned this meeting to be more of a quiet reunion than a summit. “You might ask – what was the use of wiping the dust off what many consider to be a relic of old-world vice…but you were a bright contemporary of mine. I am sure that you’ll come to the same conclusion as I have. For you to have gone for centuries unnoticed—and I do mean completely unnoticed—shows a difference in stroke. I will be the first to admit that I am far less subtle. This city is the greatest forge of wealth that has ever existed in this new world.”

Robert then pivoted Thomas’ question into reverse. “Your means of longevity, unless my terminal eye is mistaken, is unbelievable. I will put aside my pride for but a moment and admit that it outclasses even mine. Whatever you are building for yourself…between this, between -teleportation- of all discoveries…it is impressive. It is on coincidentally perfect time that our worlds have discovered one another.” He chuckled. “And I see that you have brought someone else to my home, as well. An -Irish- woman, from the looks of it. My curiosities aside, I do hope that she is finding everything to her liking as well. You will be in possession of the most lavish accommodations in New Vegas during your stay, I can assure you.”

This entire evening was a bit of an odd and almost out-of-character gesture; Robert House had become so comfortable and relaxed—so confident in the future of his slice of the old world—that tonight, he’d allowed himself a quiet, casual reminiscence with an old friend.

Kate Rowsell – Hawkshaw Apartments, New Vegas

“…Vegas is a paradise, and rightfully the greatest city in all the wasteland! Yet I do think, that our little church does provide a certain service this city needs, yes...craves! We do so gladly, and for those who cant afford it, free of charge. Nobody needs to feel lonely, for there is a greater community around us all, even if we cant see it!..."

The static-molested words reverberated through the apartment. Kate turned off the television and sank into the shining purple armchair next to her bed. They’d even found their way onto the only bit of public-access television that gave her any sort of amusement or relief anymore. They were everywhere. The Church of Starry Glory seemed to have closed in on her from every direction. Not because of any shortcoming or bit of malevolency. They seemed like fine people. In fact, they might have been her last chance. She finished the colorful cocktail she’d brought to her room and stirred the naked ice with her finger.

Kate seemed to have had a good run, but it was fading. She was losing. New Vegas, underneath the lights and the splendor, was a vacuum. It had taken everything special and irresistible about her and commodified it until she’d hardly recognized her own reflection. She stood, set the empty glass on her bed, and slowly walked to the balcony, dragging the bottom of her bed-wrinkled glittering party dress along the carpet with her. The Hawkshaw Tower stood on the opposite side of the Strip from the Lucky 38, a recent renovation and addition to House’s unstoppable momentum. The shining jewel of New Vegas was swelling. It coated everything in its path with shining old-world glamour until what had stood before was no more. She stared at the impossibly tall and luscious Lucky 38. This could not be her last stop. She had to find something.

Church of the Starry Glory, Westside

Westside had been greatly renovated since 2281, but it was still without a doubt the poorest sector of Vegas proper. She looked like a fish-out-of-water in her comparatively high-society attire—a long white dress and a high volume of jewelry—but nonetheless, she’d come to this place with purpose. There stood the ‘church’. It was not as gorgeous, clean, or irresistible as anything on the Strip, but she welcomed this detail. Still, the place did not look in the least place inviting. The dust-ridden steps bore no guardsman nor devoted admirers. There was only Miss Rowsell and the door.

Kate slowly ascended the steps and after almost an entire several minute of staring at the behemoth of a door, she knocked. She waited.
Calvin Lovegrove

The Apartment of Danielle Raymonde


Danielle stared at the detective in disbelief before her lips curled into a condescending smile. “Well, Detective…Gallagher, was it?...I am paid to act like a professional. Perhaps, if you knew how to do the same, you would understand.” She giggled under her breath. “If defending the honor of squandered beauty is your life’s mission, then I suppose I could understand your frustration.”

Cal grimaced and stared at the floor, declining to interject in the firestorm that had erupted around him.

After a moment of excruciating silence, Dani’s face returned to that of warm civility. “Nonetheless, I now want nothing more than for you to leave. I will answer your question.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” muttered Calvin.

“What was the question, again?”

“Was there anything out of the ordinary? Based on what you know about the Carousel?”

“I suppose there was a man.”

“A man?”

“A man. He looked completely unremarkable and I could not possibly describe you to him…but I noticed him. His table sat right next to the window below the red and purple neon sign. I remember being transfixed by the image.”

“Why was it unusual?” asked Calvin.

“Because he was there both nights. His pose, his gaze, everything. Identical.”

“His ‘gaze’?”

“Yes. His eyes were on the belle of the ball. ‘Emerald’. And I noticed that her eyes were often on his, too. It was a bit uncomfortable from the third person.”

Calvin furrowed his brows and rubbed his forehead. “Your name was the only one that appeared twice.”

“Then he was a man who did not want to be found. That does not mean he killed anyone, though. He didn’t look the part. Could have very easily been a married man dipping his toes into the underworld for an ounce of thrill.”

Calvin folded his arms and looked at Ashley. “Hmm.”
Calvin Lovegrove

The Apartment of Danielle Raymonde



Danielle sank into a plush white armchair facing the two detectives and crossed her legs, her expression falling blank. “A meeting.”

Calvin furrowed his brow. “We need more than that, miss.”

The starlet bit her lip and offered only silence. She reached onto the table for a cigarette and plopped it into her mouth. Cal quickly reached into his jacket and retrieved his lighter, scorching the end of the rollup.

Danielle took a drag from her cigarette, attacking the detectives head-on with smoke, before she finally complied. “That is none of your business, detective. Show-business stops for nothing. Not even for you two.” She offered a half-smile to Ashley. Her kind, angelic demeanor had evaporated before Ashley’s eyes. “…but I’ll be a good girl and give you my alibi, if that’s what you are here for.”

By now, irritation had started to corrode Calvin’s expression. “We aren’t here for an alibi. Unless you make us feel as if we should be asking for one. We want to know what you saw. Then we’ll be out of your hair. Have you been to this club before?”

Danielle rolled her eyes and let loose another plume of smoke before suffocating her cigarette onto the ashtray. “The Carousel, pardon my language, is a shithole. The showgirls—as they tend to be—were vile and absurd. Yet, for some reason, I find myself there regularly. Writers and producers love to pitch to me underneath the neon lights and public indecency.”

“Miss Raymonde, your name is written in the vicinity of both murders. Wouldn’t it be irregular to attend two nights in a row?”

“No. The same meeting warranted another night of parlay. One—again—which is none of your business. However, both nights, we left well before midnight.”

“Who was the man you were meeting with?”

“A writer. I do not remember his name. If you want to pester RKO Pictures to track him down, be my guest.”

Cal sighed and interlocked his hands. Danielle’s performance worried him. She’d shapeshifted into multiple different characters dramatically before their eyes. Still, her alibi—while only half-true—was perfectly constructed. By the time the detectives would be able to comb through RKO to get a statement from said ‘writer’, the case would fall cold. She’d presented herself as a dead-end.

Calvin looked at Ashley, his confidence and composure now rejuvenated. “What are you thinking, Ash?”
Calvin Lovegrove

The Apartment of Danielle Raymonde



Cal beckoned for Ashley to follow as he hasted through the courtyard, his eyes laser-focused on the path ahead of him. In the past year Cal had made this exact walk dozens of times, but now he could only hope that a smidgeon of Dani’s incredible talent had rubbed off on him… He had to look like he’d never seen this place before. The detectives found themselves in a beautiful, lavish lobby filled with sculptures and mirrors. A very faint pink hue resided in the décor and lighting of the room. It always gave Cal a degree of comfort; this lobby was the decontamination room between the grime and decay of his world and the high-life that towered above. He stared at Ashley for a moment. Cal was kidding himself; he knew very well that by bringing Ashley Gallagher here, he was smuggling a grenade into this world.

A hallway of elevators awaited the detectives in the back. Calvin took a determined step forward. He knew which to take. Second from the right. It wasn’t long, however, before the detective froze and re-assessed. He had briefly stepped out-of-character. Right, then. He sauntered over to the front desk and leaned against the edge. “NYPD. We’re looking for Danielle Raymonde.”

“Hey! I know you, you’re---” The burly, bald, bowtie-fastened man at the desk aborted his sentence. The look in Cal’s eyes seared through this man’s well-meant intentions and immediately subdued him. “Oh….uh…Sorry. Thought you were someone else. Please excuse me.” A painfully insincere chuckle parted from the man’s lips and he pointed toward the hallway. “You’ll want to take the second from the right. Apartment 752.”

“Thank you,” said Cal with a completely calm, monotonous tone of voice. The pair departed for Danielle’s apartment.

The hallway was masked in a nearly uncomfortable number of stripes, which lined both the walls and the floors horizontally in a myriad of different colors. This place was regal, yet uneasy. Upon arriving to 752, Cal gently knocked on the door. “I’ll take point, Ash. I’ve met many ‘Danielles’ in my life.”

After a moment, the door slowly opened, and a face emerged from the opening. She was as beautiful as Lovegrove had made her out to be; her long, perfect strands of strawberry blonde hair curled around a face that was far too fair to be wrapped up in this hurricane of a case. “C-can I help you?”

“NYPD. Detectives Lovegrove and Gallagher. May we please come in?”

“What is this regarding?”

“It is regarding two murdered women in the Carousel Club.”

A horrified grimace erupted across Danielle’s face, erasing the angelic grace and replacing it with shock. “…murders? I…I was just there!” She now looked extremely distraught. “S-sure. Come in.” She fully opened the door and beckoned the two detectives inside before shutting it behind them.

Calvin and Ashley helped themselves to a seat on Danielle’s couch, while she departed to the kitchen. She returned with a bottle of scotch and a glass for each of the detectives. She poured a generous amount of spirits before sitting down and overtly redirecting her attention to Detective Gallagher. Cal cursed under his breath. He could tell that Danielle had already grown wary of his acting performance and had probably decided to ensure he had no opportunity to fail her under pressure.

“I am so sorry to hear of this…if there’s anything I can do…please.”


Mr. House - El Dorado Substation

“…We were never in any real danger. Most likely what happened is a failure to properly disperse the intense amount of energy on this end. Overloaded the fragile pre-war system and caused the mess you see here. Would you agree with that Robert?” Thomas turned to the television monitor with a grin.

Robert’s eyes narrowed, and his gaze cut straight through the monitor. Completely disinterested with the mutilated caravan guards on the floor, he gave a half-smile toward the silhouette of Thomas Milburn. “You crazy bastard…a teleporter? If I had even begun to hypothesize molecular travel, I would not have shrouded it in this ancient facility. But I suppose that it is fortuitous that your quick journey has brought you -directly- to New Vegas.”

Upon Robert House’s command, a pair of securitrons rolled into the station, their intimidating cartoon-soldier computer screens staring intently at the arriving party from the Institute. The flickering digital image of Robert’s face slightly bowed its head. “It has been so very long, Thomas…centuries, now, since I have seen your face. I hope that you are not disappointed in return; you and I have found different means to weather these many years.”

The two securitrons motioned toward the door and House spoke again. “I hope, then, that you will accept an invitation into my home. Once you have had your fill of the giant cascade of lights, there is much at work underneath them. We have made it this far because we have visions…meticulous ones…I suspect that they are not terribly different from one another.”

Robert then stared at the remaining scientists. “I want this mess cleaned immediately. In addition, while Dr. Milburne and…” he stared at the menacing red-haired woman. “…his friend…are staying in New Vegas, I want this apparatus transported to the REPCONN facility; there is a far greater conduit of power present, one that will not overload upon use.”

Upon following the securitrons, Milburn and his party would be led to a presidential suite of their choice in any of the three casinos; House would plan so swiftly and exaggeratingly for their arrival that a room outfitted with every possible luxury would be available.

“Enjoy yourself, and pay me a visit in the Lucky 38 when you are ready, my old friend.”
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