Status

Recent Statuses

2 mos ago
Current Hero; the other side's villain. Villain; the other side's hero. Matter of perspective.
1 like
2 mos ago
So...Poo became a pirate of the caribbean. Yo-ho!
3 likes
2 mos ago
To be fair, Mr. Cash didn't write it, so if you wanna blame someone...
1 like
6 mos ago
I haven't tried in forever, is Wendy the saltiest of the fast food fries?
8 mos ago
Calle gone mad with power.
2 likes

Bio

You were saying all the words I'm dreaming.

Arena Stats

1 Wins / 0 Losses / 0 Draws
1100 points

Most Recent Posts

I shall be in, choomba.
Character sheet is finished! Behold, my 7'1 Romanian sunovamage. There may be a few changes here and there to better suit the campaign, but the gist of the sheet will remain the same.





Let me dust off my stamp. Oof, that dust.

Approved!


“Sorry for being you?” That Eva’s face could ignite from faux shock and bright smiles from the placid surface of the mystery woman floating before and behind the counter of the bar was in no small part a clue as to why Hollywood was, in fact, Hollywood. Eva could no more hold Santa Barbara against Nicole than she could hold a bad attitude against Yanci, or San Diego’s messiness against Dre.
Eva could only control what she could control, and she knew it.
“We all tend to disappear from time to time,” Maty shrugged even as he delicately helped clean up the clean mess, careful not to let it spoil the purple velvet vest. To say nothing of effortlessly sliding himself into the conversation between Nicole and Eva. “Granted we aren’t all you.” Words spoken so gently as Maty ensured the granite was left clean when mortal bartenders were allowed back in. Not that they minded, Maty knew; they were relaxing in their crew lounge or their own state rooms. Comfy beds there, he had passed out in one once.
“That’s true. The expense to keep Nicole safe and secret far exceeds what the Camarilla had to spend on me, for example.”
Rachel did the math, but it wasn’t what Maty meant. They knew it, even Rachel KNEW it, she just preoccupied herself with other details. Yanci had no such distraction, although even her voice was warmer tones on the subject, “It’s not the cost. They have something…intense, special. Intimate.”
Eva’s back was turned to the scene, already asking Henry how he was feeling as she handed his drink to him after the gaggle behind the bar produced it throughout the mess cleaning and other dramas. If the subject at hand affected her in any way, it simply wasn’t visible. The woman who gave Carmen San Diego a run for her money just didn’t give much away. Except, of course: “The one part was wrong,” she said with a pause, a pause to steal a sip of Henry’s drink and a wince that followed. “The part about Henry.”
“What??” came from most of the room.
Yanci knew. “Oh, that part was telepathic.”
Maty perked, “Nicole had a telepathic thing about Henry?”
“No offense who the fuck hasn’t had a—”
Eva had to laugh, much as she quickly reigned it in. “Nice drink.” A simple smile to Henry, her face actually almost red before she turned away from Henry and towards the bar and most the others. “She smells the lupines on him, but she gets something else. Something that puts hairs on end.”
“Uh,” Dre began, sounding part dumbfounded, “try he’s the literal Devil.”
Rachel found Grace’s suddenly intense gaze, and slowly nodded. Her tone was much more sober than Dre’s on the topic. “As far as we can tell, Henry Locke is some aspect of Lucifer Morningstar. When you bleed starlight and can make ancient Kindred and magic users shift uncomfortably when you get angry and slashy…”
Eva finished the thought, “You tend to stand out. Cheers to you, by the way,” the last bit quietly said as an aside to the man just beside her, Henry, as she tried to raise his own drink to him—until he stole it away from her. Undaunted she stood to her feet in the black leggings and sleeveless white tee, hair in a ponytail that looked far better than any effort that went into it. A ponytail Eva found her left fingertips absently running through as she looked around the bar of the yacht, and took a breath only anxiety dictated she take.
The gentle tug that reclaimed his drink had little in the way of hostility, as playful as the gaze which wandered up and down her as she stood and moved away, an unashamed look hidden from no one in the room, before he grinned more generally, raising his glass to Eva’s soft words before taking a long gulp. “Sometimes even I don’t believe it, then I get stabbed and bleed a little starlight on the pavement. Try not to get any of that on you.”
“Henry, Nicole, Grace: the Inquisition is going to ruin my timing. I can’t do what I feel like I need to do without them providing at least some kind of assistance, or at the very least non-interference,” she took only the slightest break, her eyes watching Rachel sneak Dre a live phone. Whispers between them, whispers between Dre and the phone as Dre hunched forward and kept his head and voice low. “That means we have to deal with them. If they were stupid and this was easy, cool. It’s not, it turns out. According to Maty…well, Maty.”
Eva sat, and the slender overdressed eternal youth with delicate features and waist length long, impossibly straight, dark hair put his hands on the bar’s inside edge, eyes mostly between Yanci, Grace, and Nicole. “The Inquisition is the governments of men finally leveraging their power in smart, targeted, ways that make our secret lives and positions of power…actually threatened. Their specialty is using signal, digital intelligence. It’s everywhere. It finally gets them intelligence capabilities not too far from the supernatural. This gets them very far in both Camarilla and Sabbat territory in the United States, Canada too. In California, outside of San Francisco, it gets them nowhere. Eva was literally part of the first wave of Europeans to make it here. She stayed and built California’s major hubs with a few other Kindred. As Rachel will tell you, there is nowhere in the state government they can go that they won’t find Eva’s influence. Rachel has ensured that influence remains heavy and fast reacting.”
“It leaves them few options,” Rachel picked it up, her own stoic exterior wearing concern like it simply did not often do. Both tone and the expression of her face; this was dangerous, this was serious, this was very possibly the end. Of them all. “They’re meeting to decide what to do about California. They know about Eva now. They realize what Hollywood is. They think they realize what Eva is, organization and the woman herself. They do not. She wants to walk into this meeting and simply tell them, persuade them. Granted if anyone can…”
“It’s a risk we shouldn’t take, but Eva do like her some grand dramatic gestures.” Dre ignored the look his tone would elicit from Eva, herself, not that a look was likely to move Dre one way or another. “San Diego was taken and its controlled, but the Sabbat War Packs along the border are in a frenzy. We’re not trying to hold the southern half of San Diego. It’s a no man’s land, at the moment. San Francisco teams report something very bad happened, probably Lubbock, we haven’t found the Prince. We don’t know where he is. Not sure about the Chantry there, Maty hasn’t heard anything definitive and our rovers report the same. Nothing along state borders. For now.” He shrugged, it was the best that could be asked for, all things considered, he thought.
“I can put in a word, considering who I am, and you might find the Inquisition oddly willing to listen to Henry Locke, as there are some old circles I can still move in.” Henry offered from his seat, his feet resting up for the moment on the back of another chair. “Just maybe don’t mention the full name, they might not be burning as many people at the stake as they used to, but this is still God-fearing America.”
“The fires are still being fought. We’ll be spared critical damage. Lot of our money ‘bout to go into relief and rebuilding. The wolves are still out there. We THOUGHT maybe the Inquisition had gotten a hold of a Sabbat Cardinal, but our people are saying he’s in Los Angeles on his own.”
Yanci blinked. “Alone? Like…no one else with him at all?”
“Alone.” Dre finished the word, Yanci and Eva were already staring at each other from across the crowded space. “Cicatriz the dude’s name. Any y’all fancy a fucking chat with the dude? Our people say he keeps requesting Eva, only Eva, and because Gehenna.”
Eva sat down next to Henry just in time to take a long drink of her very own drink, instead of the ones she kept stealing from Henry’s glass. It was good timing, as ass hit cushion about the time Dre said the word Gehenna. “Alright. As far as I know the world is about to suck. The Third Generation rises, and everyone will lose their minds. I can help Kindred, I can try to help everyone else. I don’t know. Helena has told me I have to find Lubbock, or he’ll find me, and…that will work itself out, she says. Either I die, or he dies. There is no other outcome. She doesn’t seem to have a preferred outcome.”
“How?” Was the only time, throughout the entire gathering, Rachel’s temper snapped. A quick whip sharp demand of how Helena could have such a stance, all things considered. Yanci seemed less angered, more apathetic. More expecting about as much from the Toreador Antediluvian.
Dre was less shy. “That kinda fucking sucks, Eva. You telling me this woman can pick between you, or Lubbock, and she gonna say…fuck it I’m okay with either option?”
“Yeah.” Eva’s tone was flat, void. Those who knew her would hear the sharpness just off camera. “Yeah, Dre, that’s what I’m telling you. The woman can blood control us like we’re toys, and this is what I’m dealing with right now. If it helps I THINK she’s secretly rooting for us. Does that help, Dre? Does that make you feel better?”
“If I could land a hit, I’d fucking…smack you, bitch.”
Eva drank through the very serious threat, and found her eyes on Grace. “You need to be with me when I walk into the Inquisition council meeting at the LA Federal Building. Anyone else want to go?”
“That meeting doesn’t even happen until a few hours. The entry has been taken care of. You’ll just walk in, the rest is up to you. No more than three people with you. Two, outside of Grace. Oh, don’t look at me. No way I’m walking into that room with those people.” Rachel was having none of that look from Eva.
Dre was leaned forward, eyes locked on Locke’s, shaved bald black head nodding upward, “What up, Henry? What’s the plan for these wolves?”
“Should we worry about Lubbock?” Yanci asked it, but Eva just shrugged at it.
“Helena said he’d find me.”
Yanci didn’t seem satisfied, but what part of any of this had satisfied Yanci? All she wanted was to go back to life for the coterie like it had been in the 80s or 70s. Now she’d have to concern herself with running San Diego. “Nicole, where are you going? Wolves?”
“Of course she’s going after wolves,” Dre chuckled, as if it were elementary. “Rachel where yo sexy ass going girl?”
“Someone will have to meet Cicatriz.”
“Eva has to do that,” Dre’s words didn’t leave much room for disagreement.
“Oh, then…uh.”
“Take her, Henry. Show this girl the way, Devil. Ooo SATAN, I CALL UPON THEE, SHOW THIS STUCK UP WHITE BITCH HOW TO GUT A WEREWOLF.”
Dre’s exaggerated and acted out call to Lucifer, tongue in cheek as was, hinted deeper at the coterie drama behind the scenes. Eva didn’t say anything, Yanci didn’t even look. Rachel was a big girl, she and Dre had been awfully close lately, despite opposing personalities. That Dre put a spotlight on her…at least, Eva found herself thinking, it was done with Henry. Henry was already part of their coterie, whether he liked it or not. And judging from below decks, he loved it.
Doing it in front of Nicole? Or Grace? It wasn’t insignificant, though it was unlikely Grace and Nicole would make nearly enough of it. Not that Eva wouldn’t explain it to Nicole later. Naturally. The only thing Eva did say to Dre as she passed by him to get next to Nicole? “Don’t scare the hew-mans, please, Andre. I don’t want to hire more yacht staff.”
To that…Dre shrugged. “Fair nuff.”
The interactions between the coterie mates made Grace think about what it must be like to have an actual social life. She had one once, but that was before she learned just how many threats lurked in the shadows. From then on, it was a simple expected value calculation; the hours it took just weren’t worth it in her present situation. That was what the psych eval people told her, anyway. Just a standard piece of advice they gave, like tell her not to dwell on the past.
Whatever Henry was, it was cause for concern, but firmly in the department of the Void Engineers. Grace was thankful that for once it was not hers to worry about. All she had to do was give him a wide berth, unclassifiable entities like that made her feel like an insect staring down a main battle tank. The Inquisition meeting was easier to process. She knew that building well, one of her cover identities had an office there, and the unlisted sub-basements came in handy for many operations. Trust was a difficult thing for Grace, almost none of the information was possible to verify independently. When she doubted she heard the voice of Claude, her avatar. He said a familiar quote:
“"Information is the resolution of uncertainty."
Asking and acting was one way to do that.
She said
“Given the circumstances, I am willing to assist your plan. I have two requests at present.”
“Tell me what you need arranged walking into that inquisition meeting. Personnel, equipment, intel; a few hours is limited but enough to make a plan.”
“And…”
“Tell me who Lubbock is. “
“I think Grace means: what is a Lubbock?” Rachel was already back on her smartphone, her fingers a blur of texts and screen taps and selections, even as she took in, processed what was going on in the bar and decided to make the one comment about Lubbock. But Grace hadn’t asked Rachel.
As for Eva, there was no mystery to be had here. As unnatural as it was for Eva, she would have to just tell it. Maybe Grace would see that hesitation, that half a heartbeat’s pause in the Kindred leader that highlighted her own anxieties. “Sir Matthew Lubbock. We actually don’t know much about him. British, awakened from torpor in the 17th century. Probably more Roman than British but became the Toreador face of British Colonialism and the cruelty therein once he awoke from torpor. If you’re a Toreador you generally fall into two groups: posers, or artists. Lubbock is decidedly a poser and he’s always been grumpy about it. He became obsessed with, and sired, a young boy who seemed to have artistic potential for days. That young boy became my sire, and my partner as we created Los Angeles together, and later Hollywood. The boy had the potential Lubbock thought. Lubbock wasn’t patient enough or gifted enough to unlock it.”
Eva paused after that, a pause that grew long enough to be awkward. To hint at hidden depths to the story, or fresh wounds...or both. In the end it wasn’t Eva who finished it, but Rachel who stepped in again. “Then the boy grew mad, and had to be put down. It led to a Los Angeles battle royale, which led to Eva going public to the Kindred of the Free State, which led to us joining forces with Henry. That’s about the time you met us.”
Finally Eva recovered her voice. “Now Lubbock wants revenge on me for what had to be done to a childe he had long ago discarded and gave up on. He wants a confrontation with me, he wants it to be personal and violent. And after he just lit my city on fire tonight...can’t wait for him to find me. He may even find me at the Federal building, Grace, so if you see a 4th Generation, a Kindred godling, appear on the field...you get your ass out of there as fast and as safely as you can and call Dre. You’d need an orbital solar cannon to put him down, and very soon your organization will be busy using the ones they have elsewhere in the world.”
Eva felt the Ravnos Antediluvian. She knew what was already happening in India. She could hear it, deep in the back of her mind where it crashed against her subconscious like waves against an ancient breakwater. Blood. Feed. Hunger.
“As far as the actual building and meeting, I can get in that room on my own. My discipline of Presence alone would let me walk in while everyone in the building just ignored me. It will help me appeal to your boss if you’re there with me, hopefully he will assume you wouldn’t be standing there without good reason. I fear the mages more than the Inquisition, truth be told, and you aren’t a vampire. If the others in the room want to ask a question, they’d like to ask you more than they’d want to ask me, odd as humans are. My plan is to allow them similar visions I showed you, along with events unfolding in India right this very moment they can get field reports from their own people…”
“India? Now?” Dre stopped his conversation with Henry and stared. His face said it best: fuck, even if Dre simply shook his head softly and returned his attention to Henry.
Eva eyed Dre, then returned her attention to Grace, never actually stopping just pausing long enough for Dre to react to bad news. “...they’ll know I’m not full of shit. But when they wake up, Grace, I have no idea what to expect and I don’t want to influence them more than I already do just by being in the room. Bring anything you’ll need to ensure your safety and your escape. I don’t see myself leaving the building when you do. If anything, I see them trying to detain me. That’s fine. That puts me in deep isolation when Lubbock comes for me, which would actually mean less collateral damage...and Lubbock’s dumb ass loves collateral damage. See: The East India Trading Company for reference. I’m not wild about the government getting a first row view of a fight between two Kindred of Lubbock and I’s status...but it can’t be avoided, and they’ll be seeing a lot more very soon. Expect the Masquerade to come crashing down within...what do you think, Rachel?”
The brunette briefly brought down her smartphone, considered the question with a hard gaze into the air in front of her for a few seconds, before some small nodding, “About 48 hours, yeah, if the founder of the Ravnos line is awakened and active.”
Eva nodded along with Rachel towards Grace, “So yeah, a few days before society starts doing weird shit.”
“When do we see the first humans publicly worshipping an ancient Kindred? Kindred Governor of a US State in a day?” Yanci had to ask, as casually as she was inquiring about a prop bet.
“End of the first day, no later, right?”
Rachel looked to Eva, who shrugged, “Probably. As soon as they figure out local governments and law enforcements can do very little to nothing to help them, not that most ancient Kindred won’t be victims of the Beckoning by them, but a fair amount have contingency plans to stay put and hold out as long as they can. So I’m told.” Another shrug. What happened, at that point, was secondary for Eva. Primary? Find a way to stop it.
Just when things couldn’t get any stranger, the conversations took off at lightning speed, and Nicole felt as though she was learning how to do life all over again from a group of immortals and otherwise. Her mind was spinning. Information overload? The potency of the drink she nursed in her hands? Perhaps both, but one thing was for sure, she was way in over her head. Already too deep to crawl out of the hole she landed in. And yet, what good would running away do in these end times? The law enforcement officer in her wanted to fight to the bloody end, but the fragile, insignificant mortal side pulled as well, wanting to simply disappear from it all.
The “wolf” comments unhinged the girl even further.
Nicole didn’t like Andre. His expression. His attitude. The crass comments without any thought. But her own opinions about any of the coterie members were inconsequential because she knew who they were down to the core. Perhaps not so much their exploits over the many years of their individual existence, but their character. Who they were now mattered more than who they were before. The connection between her and Eva offered a lot, so much so even, that the Gangrel’s mind couldn’t possibly wrap itself around every wisp of thought or flash of memory that hammered through her psyche like a freight train at times. But, those few remnants she held onto long enough gave ample insight about Eva’s band of misfits, to at least safely assume they could all be trusted without question.

The woman finished her drink and placed the glass down on the bar top. “Wolves?” She cocked her head at the comments as though confused, knowing what they meant, but moreso why they would even suggest it. “I-uh, I don’t know.” Her shoulders shrugged. Nicole didn’t know. Only hearing the stories of the Lupines from Eva, Henry and the coterie, but nothing beyond that other than they were a force not to be fucked with.

“I wish the Gangrel could get their shit together enough to join the fight, but even that I’m not sure of honestly.” She looked away from the others, almost ashamed of the clan she had been forced into. She so desperately wanted to feel the surge of power from the Beast within, enough so to blot out the fear that encompassed her better judgement currently. But, like her clan, even the Beast seemed to be in hiding.

The later remarks about Henry had her curious though, but none of it made much sense. Even the bursts of visions and whispers that were not even her own, but from Eva’s psyche, were a puzzle whose pieces had been scattered to the winds. She only hoped that Henry Locke was on their side to the bitter end.

“Lubbock”, however. That was a name she had heard thrown around quite often since her time with the coterie, but as Grace asked the question that had been on the Gangrel’s mind as well, the drawn-out answers didn’t help to ease her already weary mind. Eva and Rachel went into details about the “madman” himself, and while Nicole’s own fears began to rise, she barely noticed a hint of anxiety from the mortal woman. There was certainly something different about her, something that steeled her nerves to a supernatural point. Had it been her association with magic that shielded her aura, making Grace seem more at ease than she really was?

Nicole sighed. For the first time in a long while, her hands trembled, and she placed the glass down with a thud atop the bar. Thankfully she didn’t have to go far to sit, as she slid onto the nearby stool; her legs almost feeling like jello at that point.

“Forty-eight hours?” She whispered to herself, although the concern and obvious anxiety within her tone no doubt heard by the other supernaturals in the room. “The fuck…”

Everything she had heard, and the thoughts and voices racing through her head -courtesy of the blood bond with the Elder Toreador- weighed heaviest in that moment. Time appeared to stand still, and while her eyes surveyed around the room at the others during the back and forth conversations, they inevitably landed on the dark-haired beauty standing next to her.

Nicole’s trembling hand slid across the smooth glass-like surface of the counter reaching for the other’s arm as her pale fingers curled around tightly. A single thought rose to the surface of her mind:

I don’t want to die.

"Greek." Henry sipped his drink as he spoke, the lingering scent and taste of Eva upon the glass mixing with the liquor to his heightened senses. For a dead thing, she tasted intoxicatingly alive. "Lubbock was Greek, we've met, in prior lives. You're not the first descendent of his I've worked alongside." While his words were spoken generally, the clarification was obviously meant for Eva. "They really didn't exaggerate anything about Helen of Sparta." He mused as if it was meaningless gossip, his eyes settling on the glass before back to Andre.

"Easy there lad, that's a name few get away with calling me." Henry stone faced, although the glint in his eye suggested the hidden mischief, before his concentration settled on the woman drawn into her smartphone. "Take me home, country roads. Not sure what the phone signal will be out in wolf country." He was momentarily serious as he spoke next, "The Garou underestimated me before, if they know we're coming it might not be so easy." The fact he appeared but a few hours ago seemingly on the brink of death didn't seem to phase the man much, even as he drank another heavy gulp. "But I'll take them over having to deal with the Inquisition, never did much like them since Vienna."

“What’s up with her?”

Eva shrugged at Andre’s direct question. “She’s scared, what do you think?”

Rachel tried to hide her smile, Yanci looked bored, and Maty traced the edge of his glass idly, his mind elsewhere while the coterie chattered. Andre smiled, and leaned his large full figure back into the chair. “We all scared. We got literal Lucifer, literal end of the world shit. I’m a god damned slave turned soldier. The fuck can I do about it?”

“Lead one of the larger private security companies in the world,” the tone with which Rachel interjected was, at best, described as indifferent.

“What about you?”

“Me?” The buttoned-up Ventrue blinked. “I’m just trying to spin all the plates. If I stop it’ll all come tumbling down.”

“Also you direct one of the larger money-laundering operations in the world.” This time it was Yanci, not Rachel, with a tone that sounded as bored as she looked.

“We gonna pay off an Antediluvian?” Andre’s tone was serious, gone was the caricature of the loud black man, the thoughtful warrior Brujah having settled into the new change of tone like an old favorite pair of trousers. “What about you, Yanci?”

“Oh, I’ll make a movie about it. No worries.”

As the one who ran Hollywood now, the remark made Andre snicker gently. “Maty?”

“Cheers, mate.” Maty raised his glass in the air, though he never did turn in their direction from behind the bar, leaned into the bar, his upper body supported by elbows. As if he were drinking troubles away. Hiding the dagger sharp smile under perfectly straight and shining black hair that went half down his back. “I’ll, uh...throw some blood magic? No clue, really. I’ll do my part. Whatever that becomes. I’m nothing big or scary.”

“Eva?”
“This only ends one way for her,” Henry’s hands were folded before him neatly, his tilted down and off to the side, his eyes staring holes in the table he said it. His words rang with sadness and truth, and a seriousness so somber that it twisted his meaning into a lie that told the truth of the situation.

Eva stared at Nicole. “You’re already dead, love.” A response, an aside, sourced from a place that belonged to just the two of them: the space between their thoughts, interconnected. “So am I,” she said, with a faint smile. It wasn’t the same kind of dead they were headed for, but to Eva, it was best she not think about that too deeply.

Finally it was Andre who finished it, talking now directly to Nicole. “The ancient Kindred who started all this are monsters. Not the kind that go bump in the night, the kind Lovecraft daydreamed about. All I have are the people in this room, and the warriors I put on those streets. None of us want Final Death. None of us want the world to end. I don’t want to trade Eva for a new world, either. I’ll do what I can, you do what you can. We’ll see what happens.” In a supernatural style of ease the large black skinned Kindred was up and out of his seat, moving for the exit. “I’m going after wolves. Rachel, Henry, see you at the boat. Yanci, Maty, stay in touch. Eva...sorry, girl.”

That Eva frowned, even for a beat of Grace’s heart, turned the night darker. “Where are you two headed?”

“We’ll see the fires stay out,” Yanci answered, and Maty chuckled, as if it were an inside joke. It was, Nicole would hear it: Both the literal and the figurative.

“So, “Eva started to say to Nicole, “..wanna meet a Sabbat Cardinal?”
After business was concluded, Grace walked up next to an open window and ran a quick calculation to confirm the trajectory posed no additional risks. She said
“I will meet you in person before the meeting at the FBI building. During this meeting I’ve been connected over an astral link to a shell body, my actual body is elsewhere. It’s safer this way and saves what little time we have. Do not be alarmed by what I’m about to do, it is a rapid but officially approved way of terminating the connection.”

She reached into her pocket and retrieved a pistol, moving it slowly and pointing it at no one except herself. Eva, Andre, one of the others could disarm her with incredible speed if they thought she was a threat, so it was important not to alarm anyone. When it was directly against her temple and her finger was on the trigger, she said
“The body will decay into a puddle of hydrogel shortly after I initiate the disconnect procedure. It can be removed from the floor with any standard household cleaner. Pine Sol is my preferred choice. I apologize about the abrupt nature of my departure.”

She pulled the trigger and her body lurched forward as the shot echoed through the cabin. Miles away, Grace felt her connection go dark, grateful that the protocol spared her the full pain of getting shot in the head. Her hand, her legs, every part of her body was shaking as her quivering recovered from the interference and the paradox effect after the session. It was only after they stopped that she realized she was drenched in sweat, nothing about the meeting had made her feel better about the situation. She brushed a matted mass of hair out her face and got up, knowing the long night had only just begun.

@Ruby Hey Ruby. this is one of those bucket list RP ideas I've been sitting on for more than a decade. I love the Klingons because they are constantly at war. If they aren't fighting the Federation, Romulans or the Dominion, they are fighting amongst themselves. A crewman can fight the Captain in order to take over the ship and the rest of the crew will recognize his leadership.


Oh, yes, I know. I'm a giant Trekkie with a sizeable collection of old LUG Star Trek sourcebooks still in bookshelves around my house. lol
Half a mind to come back just to do this.
Love.
I just found out. (I don't keep up with online stuff much these days.)

Had to come back and say I'm so sorry for her loved ones.

Cat/Poly will be severely missed on this site. I can't tell you how many times I had long chats with her in my role as site staff. She even once sent me a long list of ideas so I could pass it along to a friend who was still active duty and intelligence. I sent it, Cat. You were right he giggled a bit, but only at the ambition of the ideas. They were quite impressed with the document and the effort and intellect behind it.

How many times Cat scolded me for something staff or Mahz did, or did not do. I wish we could have lived up to her standards, but we were just a bunch of jerks and tryhards. We never could have lived up to her standards. I could never be the "Ruby" she wanted, but when I left she was one of the only people who refused to let me go without a very long and sweet chat.

I hope she found peace and rest. I adored her greatly and am eternally happy I put her on site staff despite other's concerns. She was a good one.
Of the five staterooms on the 1st Deck Henry was given the fourth down from the door to the weatherdeck and the stairs. Desks and accents and doors were a dark stained cherry wood, fixtures and switches all the same simple copper finish. The carpet was light and sandy and short fibered yet plush all the same, bathrooms were attached though they were little more than toilet and shower closets with an awkward sink.

Eva was the fifth stateroom from the stairs, the last one, though the stateroom was otherwise no different than the others--save for a slightly larger bathroom for Nicole to shower the funk of the LA Port off and slip into fresh clothes. She never caught Henry emerge, she watched the second helicopter of the evening briefly land. Two women emerged, to her eye’s obvious Kindred just from the surreal ease in which they all but slipped and shrugged out of the helicopter, never once worrying about the blades...a real concern at sea despite the calm state of the waters just outside the Port of Los Angeles waterways. The buoys marking the western edge of the maritime corridor were no more than fifty feet away.

Where Eva sat it was all right in front of her, minus Tina, the bartender tending the yacht’s bar on the 1st Level--the area of the boat arrived at from taking the stairs up, instead of down for the staterooms of the 1st Deck. The 1st Level interior was entirely the bar, and a large lounge with various screens and parallel white sectional sofas, the walls lined with shelves filled with a hodgepodge of books read and shared by small crew and coterie, blue-rays and DVDs, and scripts.

The Captain was no fan of the ship being so close to the wake of larger vessels. They had simply been waiting. As Yanci and Rachel walked around the 1st Level of the exterior to the back of the boat, through the door to the lower level and deck, up the stairs, through the lounge, and into the bar surrounded on most sides by rounded glass. Los Angeles glared in the distance, smoldering with the orange and red glow of fire. Southern California residents knew that particular sky far too well. Tina walked out just before the two arrived.

“Are we sure?”, was how it started. The words were spoken sharply by Yanci, dark eyed and dark featured, her hair in long waves and overflowing her shoulders by a few inches, wearing acid wash jeans near baggy legged and a dark blue wool sweater that stopped at her midriff.

Rachel wore a Prada charcoal pants suit, the pants fitted and finished with a gold plated hollow centered buckle,the blouse black silk and hanging off her shoulders just far enough to hint at curves underneath instead of outright show them; her straight cut bob a dirty blonde and undyed.

The style differences only hinted at deeper differences. And made Eva feel oddly appropriate after a change to black tights with a fine black mesh along the sides shaped like smoke rising up to the thinnest smoke tendril at her knee and a simple white sleeveless shirt simple white Reebok classics on the feet that were resting on the bar. Eva didn’t turn until she shrugged. “As sure as I can be.”

“We’ll be ready if it goes badly,” the tone bordered on cocky as Dre just breezed past the two ladies for a seat at one of the cherrywood tables with matching chairs just off the bar and next to the glass. His clothes were as simple as dark loose jeans, brown boots, and a black teeshirt.

“Which it could. Very badly.” Rachel didn’t look up from the phone, but even she had to admit it.

Mateo was the dandy; purple velvet vest, black dress shirt unbuttoned a few buttons down from the top, dress slacks, calf high boots of polished leather and gold buckles. “We know who they are. We know they don’t know much about Eva.” The exchange of glances between Maty behind the bar and Dre and Yanci, in particular, was fun for Eva. Even if it just kinda meant Maty squirmed for a moment.

Eva had to rescue him. “It could all go very badly. Big gambles are big gambles for a reason. If it works out...we have a chance. If it doesn’t...I don’t see a path.”

“And they may know enough to actually make life suck for a bit,” Matty shrugged, thinking it over, the shrug making his waist length black hair dance for just a second.

“Tell me this isn’t just the next thing, Eve,” Yanci’s gaze wasn’t kind, it wasn’t cold, it was just anxious and darting and scared. “I get the chosen bit, it’s one of our favorite cliches. Those scripts on those shelves are filled with them. We both know how that normally turns out. So what if this goes beyond the pale?”

Eva smiled, if only because what else was left to her? “No clue, Yance. I don’t see a path without their help. So many of them will die if we don’t try. I can’t not try. If you can’t…” Eva’s hands went instantly up near her shoulders, palms out, innocence proclaimed by gesture. “Not to say you’d ever bail. But--”

“--yeah, I get it. I just don’t think it’s good enough. Dre is always superman, until he’s not and he breaks and our security forces break. It’s happened. We survived on luck during the King riots. LUCK. WE WILL NOT GET THAT LUCKY AGAIN. Rachel is afraid we’re the only thing she’ll ever have left in a life she gets to pick, and Matty believes in you. Like I believe in you. But right now I can’t tell if this is really the crazy gambit we want to make or if you’re just being Eva, the first of the Hollywood divas.”

The cocktail table Dre sat at almost did not survive the thunderclap slam his palm struck upon it’s surface as his temper snapped. “WE SURVIVED. Sometimes that’s a matter of luck. That’s the way it works, girl. I’m sorry, but this ain’t helping shit. You been pissed off for months. Life’s never going back to the way it was. That’s not always such a bad thing.”

“The end of the world doesn’t sound fun,” Matty’s voice was a gentle and measured thing after silence hung in the air for long moments, tipping off the curious and problem solving mind behind it, “You’re right, Yanci. I believe she’s right. I believe she’s picked, and why she was is a question we need to ask and answer. I get why she hides from the greater Kindred society. I know what it feels like to not belong to it. Whatever we can salvage...for us, for them...certainly I’m the newest of us yet I cannot help but feel confident in saying this is who and what this coterie is. Just trying is what we would do. Help. Keep ours as safe and normal as possible in the process. We’ve worked for a while to outfox the Inquisition digitally. I’m confident in our work.”

“There’s no stopping them. I have to try to manage it and take care of them.”

Rachel’s pained amusement made Yanci shake her head, and sit down at the other cocktail table. “Okay.”

For now, Eva thought, it would have to be enough. Henry and Nicole were stirring. “We’ll see what Henry has to say.”

“And Nicole?”

Every pair of eyes in the bar went to Eva. If she could have blushed…”I guess so.”


One habit Grace had acquired was a tendency to judge people by where they liked to discuss business. The fact she was willing to meet with someone who chose the lounge of a yacht showed how far things had diverged from normal circumstances. Julie and the helicopter had returned home, Grace had gotten to the yacht by other means. A quick cost-benefit analysis was what guided that decision, the stakes demanded that someone go to the meeting, but the risks involved meant that exposure should be minimized. Julie’s inexperience wouldn’t add enough value to justify the added risk. Even Grace, with her many layers of precautions, felt uneasy standing in the doorway of the lounge. She wore one of the outfits she always did, selected to be as generic and unmemorable as possible, unbranded and composed entirely of shades of black and grey.
As she scanned the room the roster of Eva’s friends looked different from how Grace remembered them from their first meeting, back a sunset, but the intelligence files she had offered no explanation. The one with the most detailed file was Rachel, but it was almost entirely about her mortal life, from the days when she had been seen as a potential recruit to the cause. Old information, but not without value. It would be easier talking to her than trying to understand the network of social interactions unfolded before her; Eva was the center of everything but to understand all of centuries worth of accumulated details and norms was not practical. Grace only had time for what could be measured, not ill-defined social ties. When there was a pause, she walked near Rachel and said:
“Miss Fields, it is nice to see you again. It’s a shame that our interests don’t allow us to work together more often, if certain events had been different we may have been part of the same organization, in the same cohort even. If we had met twenty years ago I’m sure we’d be discussing Harvard’s infamous Math 55 course and comparing our scores on the Putnam Exam, but I do not know if you are the same person those old files depict. I have other concerns these days, and I believe you do also.”
Rachel could internally debate the likelihood of a 'chosen one', but she had maxed out her allotment of eye rolling for the day already--and if Mateo was to be believed being 'chosen' was unlikely to end well; just look at Caine, the logic went. So when the human magic user walked over and began speaking, Rachel actually smiled at the distraction.

Distraction was welcome, interest piqued was quite another thing when Grace brought up old files. "Old files on me? How flattering." Unlike Eva and Yanci, Rachel's tone was nearly void of the emotions the two Toreadors rode upon the unlife with.

But the line of 'I do not know if you are the same person those old files depict'...actually made the Ventrue laugh. A full, hard, if short lived, bark of laughter before quickly returning to her former composure. "Wow. Um...yeah, I'm mostly the same. Except for not being alive, I suppose, and a taste for blood."

"And fangs," Dre chimed into the chat he wasn't part of, but was overhearing all the same, as he stared a hole into the table at which he was seated.

"Ah, right, and fangs. I'm not that old. Eva tells me about the Anasazi people of early North America, Yanci recalls California before it was ever part of the US. Andre is a former slave and soldier of the Civil War. I'm a child relative to that, and too young to have begun to lose who I am to the 'monster' yet. The older you live as one of us, the further away from the human you were you find yourself. There are very rare exceptions; such as Eva. But me? I'm still me. Just less naive."

Grace was happy that the conversation was smoother than she thought it would be. Although they were close to the same age, neither spent much time with the typical concerns of someone approaching middle age in terms of human years. Grace continued with the formal pattern, if things got slow she could always fall back on the few jokes about Harvard and Stanford she knew.
“After this, if things are more relaxed and any of your friends wish to use some their experiences to correct errors with current historical studies regarding those time periods, they are welcome to contact me. I can nudge the scholarly consensus in the correct direction.”
“As for changes, I’m always wary about how reliable anyone can be when analyzing themselves. Memory is troublesome, it’s not as though people can store them in a Merkle tree so they can guarantee their integrity.” Silently, Grace corrected herself. Most people can’t. “Anyway, if you still have your taste for philosophy, this all reminds me of a famous hypothetical.
Are you familiar with Donald Davidson’s Swampman thought experiment? If you take a human and create an exact replica down to the last particle of matter, is it the same person as the original? If the copy remains and the original dies, is that person still alive? And would that copy, holding all of the memories and personality of the original but having experienced none of their actual life, even know anything was amiss? It’s an interesting idea that crops up in all sorts of places, including the works of a particularly irritating British comic book author and self-styled anarchist wizard who has so far managed to avoid our attempts to eliminate him. I’ve yet to see if any of that makes it into the TV adaptation of Swamp Thing.“

"Ask Yanci. At the moment she's managing Hollywood. I do know she's no fan of Mr. Moore; you can't be in this coterie and avoid comic books. For example if you think Kevin Feige is a mere mortal and not a conduit of greater artistic expressions and media minds...well."

Rachel shrugged, preferring to say no more on that subject lest she violate the privacy of Hollywood's creative circles. Especially the more hidden circles.

"I remember first getting exposed to the idea in Star Trek. Now Eva and Yanci have it popping up in modern classics like Rick & Morty." The word 'classics' had a certain exaggeration when spoken; though Rachel was cautious not to go further.

Yanci was quite fond of the adult oriented cartoon.

"As for after this...I don't know. That was the heated discussion we just let go: how suicidal is this? What if the Inquisition knows more about us than we think? What if they care more about studying Eva than helping her save the world? She wants to walk right into an Inquisition higher-up meeting. Lay the situation out to them. Not unlike what she did with you. I think we're waiting on Henry and Nicole to chime in."

"And her."

The addition came out of Eva’s mouth, even as her attention appeared as if it stayed on her quiet chat with Mateo at the bar the whole time. "Yes, obviously, yourself included."

The quiet lapping of waves and the gentle roll of the boat from time to time the only other sounds besides the low dull hum of the yacht’s engines.

Scientific literature was the only media Grace consumed for fun. Not that she’d had much fun lately. The best ones were too classified to share anyway. Grace avoided looking at Nicole, not quite apologizing about the ejection ; that was just a way to make sure that the helicopter and her subordinate were secure while allowing their passenger to get to her destination. She said
“Your chance of success rests on how persuasive you can be. I have reason to believe you are quite effective at that, even if I don’t know the specifics of your methods.” Grace’s belief in that was why she always took such precautions when meeting with vampires. Finding out how powerful they could had only increased this drive to be prepared.
She continued.

“Aside from that, you can try and plan, hedge your efforts to lessen the impact of a failure, but never assume you have a deeper bag of tricks than your adversary. That kind of hubris kills operations. So, what exactly do you want from the Inquisition? Just for them to stay out of your way, or do you see a role for them? I might be able to help but I admit I don’t spend much time thinking about them, they’re kind of like our mentally unstable cousin.”

Eva wore a gray short sleeved button up, slim fitted gray slacks, and black matte heels with a gray bottom. There was a smart watch on her left wrist provided by the Digital boys and girls. Her hair was straight, pulled back and pinned by a bright red clip. She stood flat against the sand colored back wall of the Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center in light that was dimmed more than it's usual fluorescent glare. She was little more than a gray ghost on a field of sand as far as the almost fifty people in the room were aware. Jeff Berger had been talking to the CEO of Los Angeles County and one of the County Supervisors among a Board of five when he mentioned it was strange there was such an outbreak when the air in the county wasn't all that dry, more humid from an El Nina airflow.

It wasn't natural.

Screens large and larger still covered most the walls. Between Eva and the biggest of the screens was a giant bullpen of neatly rowed desks filled with computers and screens upon screens. The action was fevered but not out of control. This was not a frenetic moment, this was a hive of ants going into a controlled frenzy with a focused outcome in mind. They weren't going to let the fire hit Los Angeles, if they could help it. They called John Ketterman, owner of the largest private fire brigade on the West Coast. The moment county and city officials hung up with him, the phone rang again to tell him every private fire brigade in the state was moving towards LA County.

Rachel reappeared next to her, leaning in with a hint of Tom Ford perfume and excitement, "The Governor hasn't issued any orders to the National Guard in the area but the fire departments are none-the-less moving. This will be the most expensive fire prevention action in history based on the bonus you're providing the private fire companies alone. I wish I knew why we were spending that kind of money."

Eva couldn't help the little smile. "Because something needs to happen in this city."

"What needs to happen?"

The smile only crept larger. "I don't know." The following shrug dismissed the amusement of the smile, "Lubbock. Let Andre know." There were a number contingencies that would be put into effect.

"You're going to have to move up the timeline regarding the Inquisition." Rachel stole a long look at Eva's face as she said it, looking for the reaction that never came. At least, it never showed. Eva's internal grimace may have remained internal but odds were the old coterie mate felt it all the same.

No use in hiding the sigh, "Yeah. I'll have to warn Grace."

"Have to?" Rachel's brows slanted in concern. "I know they haven't been hostile, and maybe you showed them some things, but...it seems unnecessary. It seems like a risk."

Eva's eyes sank in every screen and display in the Emergency Operations Center. "There's nothing left to us but risk now, Rach." She might have reached out to comfort the girl had the earpiece not blinked with cold blue light to indicate a new call. There was a certain amount of fun, and if she was behing honest, pride, as she stood back and watched Rachel appear behind the Fire Coordinators along the third row of desks and monitors in the bullpen of the command center. It was just a few whispers into the ear of a human, and then the Fire Coordinators spread among the room with new information and new plans. With so many private assets bring brought to bear so quickly the actual State and Federal fire fighters could focus on the main fire line and not the pockets of homes inside the hills.

It was no sure thing, but the odds were at least closer to their favor now. Rachel caught up with her in the parking lot, as she sweet talked a guard about why she didn't have a security pass on her windshield and why that was okay. Very quickly they started talking about the vintage midnight black Corvette with the back fin spoiler instead of the missing security pass stickered to it's windshield like everyone else's. Rachel smiled and wished the guard a goodnight as the two climbed into the car and the car started in silence. They talked a little about some weird signals from various Sabbat in the area, Eva tried to explain what exactly Yanci was dealing with in Palm Springs on a movie set. By the time they reached Rachel's car, the girl was no closer to understanding why the actors and the editor didn't just do what the director was going for, although she had to agree trashing a hotel room in a coked up rage was probably a bad impression on your crew.

Eva always knew where she was headed, it was the same place she went on the first Thursday of every other month and right now Lakewood sounded like the place to live if you weren't fond of the threat of fire. In a small one bedroom apartment a dozen or so blocks from the Port of Los Angeles. The apartment complex wasn't very large; the small size and dependency on cement and facade as part of the design a large hint as to the decade of when it was initially constructed. She had owned it for a few years, apparently it was useful of money laundering purposes. Dusty had lived there for a little over threes years.

There were a few Dusty's. Not Dusty, exactly, but kine with which Eva had a lasting friendship. Dusty was from Nacogdoches, Texas, and had grown up helping his father and uncle harvest and replant pine trees. A tour in the Navy, some civilian cargo sailing, and now Dusty helped to manage the unload of cargo from ships into the Port of Los Angeles. In terms of boots on the working floor, Dusty was a bit of a boss. He made around sixty thousand a year, give or take, and worked longer hours than any office 9 to 5 gig. The sun had been hotter than expected today, so she'd heard, and Dusty looked it. In an old black teeshirt that was nearing dark grey around the underarms with a few little holes towards the bottom of the shirt where it had snagged on this crane or that forklift or that shipping crate during the movement of the work day.

He was tall, a goofy kind of handsome, and spoke with an East Texas accent as thick as the sap of Texas pine. He knew a rough Mexican Spanish, though he'd learned it from a girlfriend back home in Texas. Or was it the first wife? Eva had lost count. Usually they talked about Los Angeles, and California beyond, culture and society. It blew his mind, and Eva admitted a real joy in seeing the world through Dusty's eyes. She had never fed on him, he wasn't her type. She had never really thought about it. Next Wednesday she was supposed to see Sarah, the waitress turned restaurant assistant manager and occasional actress, if acting classes and mostly open auditions on the weekends counted as occasional actress.

Eva thought it did. Eva thought it was the heartbeat of acting as an artform. Before the Kid forced everything to change forever Eva would sit in on auditions, and sometimes audition herself. It was a more organic, naturally flowing thing then the 60s and 70s when she and a handful of young actors and actresses got deep into method acting. Those were desert nights, and hallucinations that Eva was certain she'd never match. Now it seems innocent, looking back, given the visions Eva had these days. And they had nothing to do with acting or art anymore.

Eva always brought her own beer. Yancy knew a kindred and ghoul brewing partnership in the Valley that had an especially high degree of knowledge in what worked and what didn't work for Kindred. The glass was dark brown, the bottles unremarkable. Dusty had tried one once, said it gave him a weird headache.

Most nights they talked, but tonight was different. Tonight instead of his back porch they sat on small patch of concrete outside his front door in folding yard chairs. He nursed a bottled beer and alternated between drags on his cigarette and drags of pot on his one-hitter. She had asked him as he finished his cheeseburger when she walked in if he was okay if she handled some business out front. Dusty didn't know what she did. He told her, once, he figured she was some kind of high powered Hollywood exec. When she told him the truth of it all, he didn't say anything until she was completely done talking. Then, after a long moment, he had smiled with bloodshot eyes and politely thanked her for never eating him.

Tonight there were no details, only vague warnings. That was unlike Eva. As unlike Eva as her asking to conduct business outside his apartment. "Just take the vacation. Yellowstone sounds nice. It's away from most major population centers." There were other things in Yellowstone, but Eva hoped the best for the werewolves and the mages and the ghosts and every other bump in the night. He was shaking his head, deep in thought, when the two black Cadillac SUVs came slowly into the parking lot and stopping just feet away from there. Andre slipped out of the first SUV's front passenger side door, his jeans dark, his LeBron's loud, broad shoulders covered in a dark Nike tee with windbreaker on over it. His head motioned to the driver side back door as he came around the SUV, and opened the door he had motioned to.

"Hello Tara."

She was bloody, bruised. Restrained. Eva was soft spoken, sweetly toned and smiling. Whether it was genuine or genuine condescension was anyone's best guess. Andre's voice rumbled quietly as he spoke to Tara and Eva in his low pitch. Tara's voice was too quiet to escape beyond Andre and Eva to Dusty, but Dusty got a decent look at just who the two Kindred were speaking to. The bruises, the bindings.

"I should kill you," Eva's delivery was so plain and matter-of-fact, there was no subtlety, there was no mystery, there was no playful anything. Just black and white, I should kill you. "To not kill you would risk sending the wrong message to others who might be having similar grand ideas such as your ideas of your role in San Diego." Tara had built San Diego into what it was, in the every-day running of a thing. Yancy had spent decades of time in San Diego in the last century, but it wasn't the same as the person who was there and at ground level.

"I'd say you're lucky, because I'm just going to let you go, but I have a feeling I'm not doing you any favors by just cutting you loose." Not after what Andre had done to her places of power and allies. The very Kindred she crossed the Southwest of what was then not even all the United States, making it to San Diego, surviving, leading, eventually working with Yanci and Eva and the Kid. "Drop her downtown."

Andre closed the door quickly, but his head followed Eva as she walked away. Then his eyes fell on Dusty, and suddenly Dusty stopped taking a drag off his cigarette and stopped loading his one hitter with another hit of weed. That was what Eva saw. What she felt within was even more intense, but even if there was no supernatural sense Dusty's sudden freeze alone would have told Eva what she needed to know.

Black matte heeled feet turned on a dime, bringing her eyes directly in line with his. "It's about to get bad. Rachel called you about Lubbock?"

He was irritated. "We didn't do what we did down in San Diego for nothing."

"Dre, you know you didn't. Things are changing. We're out of time. Focus on the Indian Subcontinent."

"I'll focus on Lubbock."

Eva didn't argue, instead just blinking long lashes as he walked back around the running SUV and got in, both black Cadillacs disappearing into the night. She stared as they passed old Toyotas and Fords with mismatched paint near the exit 'gate' (that was always open) of the apartment complex. It wasn't until she heard Dusty's voice that she processed much of anything. And even then, she had lost anything besides the simple sound of his voice. "What?"

"I said, should I focus on India too?"

Eva smiled. "Take the damn vacation."
I voted. Bitches.
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