Ill-Met in Chicago
Sam McCoy | Ash Gently; October - November, 2007
Sam McCoy; October 19, 2007
In a retconnish fashion, take some of EJR's hair while interrogating him... three weeks ago. Send it on to that secret PO box.
And now, the big fun:
The Trip to Chicago
The first thing that McCoy does is go to Erictho and introduce himself and get himself properly granted hospitality etc etc. Then he would ask Erictho's permission to talk to a few people who were witnesses or otherwise involved with the West investigation. When he inevitably asks about who McCoy wants to talk to, the answer is Claudia Caligosto, Critias, and Felix Vontak.
He'll also ask Erictho if he can have a look at tapes from the hotel's security system, and if there's anything that he can tell him about the content of the numerous conversations listed in the timeline between Nicolai and West. Then he'll ask if Erictho has a list of all the people who knew where West was staying.
He'll ask Caligosto about the circumstances of her encounter with West at the Succubus Club. Who else was there at the time? Any suspicious characters? Anything at all that seemed out of place there? You said he seemed drunk... was he loose-lipped? Was he talking to anyone? What's the Succubus Club like anyway? Then, about the hotel room... how does she think that he got tracked down there? He'll also ask about her impressions of Nicolai and the relationship between West and him.
Critias: he just wants to ask some general probing questions about West, what sorts of things he was doing while in Chicago, and whether he has an ideas about the case that might not have come out during the Conclave and earlier investigation.
Vontak: he wants to confirm his impression that Nicolai asked him to go check on West when he found him dead, and then he'll want to get as detailed a description as possible of the room as he found it.
He'll also check out the hotel itself. Scope out the outside for good escape routes and noteworthy features, and go inside to have a look at security, and the layout. He'll go up to the room West was staying in and try to retrace the killer's steps.
You are allowed to retcon your interactions with EJR as such that you obtain a sample of his hair. Once you put this in the safety deposit box, however, you mysteriously forget that you ever took a sample. Unlife is funny like that.
Erictho makes speedy arrangements to have you housed in the Chicago Chantry, where you are met by Regent DuSable, an older man impeccably dressed in a somewhat out of date suit top hat (Are these standard for Regents or something?) and who speaks little to you. He leads you through a the vaulted building of the chantry, where you once more behold any number of strange and bizarre magical artifacts that you really ought not touch. You end up in a spartan, but comfortable room in the far West wing. It's the same one they housed you in last time.
When you finally meet Erictho, you have a very hard time swallowing that she's a Primogen. She's an extraordinarily pretty young girl, looking no older than sixteen at most, and carries herself with an awkward quietness in everything she does. She shyly offers her condolences once again, and from everything you can tell, she seems quite genuine in her sentiments.
She tells you that she and Nicolai weren't moving in vaguely similar circles until after the Conclave when he "retired" to Vienna, and that she hasn't been able to do much regarding the West affair until she received your letters. She gives you more than free reign to check out the hotel and the security tapes therein. Much to your frustration, they show absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. The tapes for West hall show that he was the only one to enter his room that night.
Erictho falters a bit over the question of who knew West's whereabouts and tells you that, if anyone would have a clue it would be DuSable. She says she knows remarkably little about her predecessor's affairs, considering, and that there's been a lot of "restructuring" recently. She never actually even met West.
Going through DuSable, you find that the only people who would have definitively known about West's hotel location were himself, Nicolai, and Nicolai's two apprentices, although the location was chosen under West's instructions, and that there was no emphasis on secrecy regarding the location, aside from what common sense would dictate. He says it's probable that any number of Kindred in the city would have known about the hotel's location, if West told them. He mentions rather tersely that no Kindred is truly unfindable in any event, especially not among the Tremere. He says that given the political circumstances at the time of West's death, any number of people could also have legitimately gotten the location from Nicolai through simple application of rank.
You eventually meet up with Claudia Caligostro at a formal Elysium - an event that makes you painfully aware of the comparative scale of Kindred society here. Court is held in the atrium of an art museum, and you can estimate well over a hundred Cainites in attendance. You have more effective Status in Chicago than a little over half of them, but you're clearly a little fish here.
While Claudia's very very much farther down the totem pole, she strikes an odd contrast to Primogen Erictho - partially in that she looks to be considerably older and speaks with a fair amount of self-confidence. She apologizes quickly for not having returned your voice mail, saying that she's not quite adapted to cell phones as fast as she would have liked. She makes an offer to meet up with you later in the week, as Elysium walls have ears.
When you interview her she tells you that she served more or less as Scribe to Nicolai for the past few years, although the position was never formally given to her. She admits that she doesn't know anything terribly secret, but is willing to give you, within reason, whatever info you need regarding the whole West incident.
She says that West and her only gave each other a brief nod at the Succubus Club, and that West asked how she was doing. His speech was a little slurred at the time, and he went on to "monologue" at her for a while about how funny the world is. He said something about his friend being back from the grave just as he slid back into it - Claudia later took the friend to be Petrov. He seemed depressed, and she admits that her first thought regarding West's death was, in fact, suicide. She says that there are always suspicious characters at the Succubus Club (it wouldn't really be the Succubus Club otherwise), but that nobody seemed to be paying particularly close attention to West. She got the impression that he was there (like most Kindred) looking to pick up a Blood Doll, and saw him with a cute blonde later in the night, although they didn't leave together.
As for how she thinks he got tracked back to the hotel... she's not sure. She isn't 100% convinced, even when and if you mention the Spirit's Touch evidence, that the man didn't take his own life. While she'd only known him a few months, he seemed a goal-oriented sort who didn't take well to failing. They didn't talk much, even back before his return to New York, but she'd gotten the impression that he thought he was "finished" in some way from the brief conversation in the club. She concedes, however, that it's not her place to question the judgment of a Conclave regarding the cause of death and that if it was an assassination, she'd assume that they used some form of Auspex, or perhaps even Thaumaturgical means (which she hears have been used by Sabbat before) to ensure his location. She figures that if the operatives managed to kill him, they'd have to have known what they were doing.
As for the relationship between Nicolai and West, Claudia is a bit hesitant to comment. She admits that she (and most of the other Tremere) found his interest in the affairs of the young Brujah... peculiar to say the least, and always felt there was something smacking of infatuation to the whole affair. She's told that elders can be fickle with their favorites, and she worries that Nicolai unwittingly set West up to fail.
She emphasizes that the whole affair's been tremendously problematic for the Clan on a local level, although she knows you must know that anyway, what with Erictho's discovery and appointment, Cromwell's Lordship and that the whole fallout impacted things on the level of even the Justicariate. She says that, honestly, West wasn't worth all this, and that no Kindred really is.
She secretly wonders if things weren't specifically kept a little lax and low key after West failed to live up to Nicolai's ambitions, and if West really would have had anywhere to go if he had lived. Even before his death, West was causing trouble that was rapidly ballooning out of control. The entire prestation drama with Evans was probably going to cost Nicolai the Lordship anyway, and di Zagreb, from what she hears on the grapevine, has been ready to find an excuse to hang Monteal's warleader since the city was taken. Overall her impression of the whole mess is that it's just that... a mess. West was, for all his ambition, really a much smaller man than the powers that were pulling him around. She feels it's a sad state of things, but that's the unfortunate reality of politics.
You attempt to get an audience with Critias, and find it's not easy to do. The Primogen of Chicago (saving Erictho) are a much more substantial governing body than New York, and all are at least a few centuries older than you. Iljko Leskovar, the Brujah Whip asks you a Minor Boon to petition him, whereupon you promptly proceed to imply as subtly as you can that to do such a thing is acting selfishly against his Clan's interests (OOC: I'm basing this encounter on what you stated in your IM). Leskovar looks at you askance and tries to make it clear that Critias isn't in a position to take audiences with everyone who asks on such short notice, and that honestly he's already spoken to a great number of Tremere investigators over the whole affair.
In your stubbornness, you attempt to get inquisitive with Leskovar over what's going on. He tells you flat out that he was trying to be generous with the boon. Honestly, given what Tremere/Brujah relations are in the city, given New York's indebtedness to Chicago over the Richardson affair, and given the state in which things have been left post-Conclave, he should have asked after a Major one. He's a blunt man, and he makes it clear that he's not going to be cowed by appeals to guilt. If you actually imply that his request for a Boon indicates a lack of loyalty to Clan, he'll tell you flat out that his Clanmate is dead because the Warlocks tried to intervene in his Clan's affairs, and that if you cared about the Clan in question, it might do to pay Critias a little respect, as might be due any elder or Primogen.
Trying to sound him out otherwise, you get a great deal of bitterness. Chicago was made into a laughingstock on New York's and the Tremere's account, and all that anyone remembers about the Brujah's reaction in the whole ordeal is Petrov's maddened charge. Frankly, Leskovar is shocked that the man wasn't executed messily after what happened - either by Paschek's men or by New York - although he grudgingly admits that Critias has a befuddling respect for him.
In short, you don't get to see Critias, and you're pretty certain Leskovar trash talks you in the meantime.
As for the actual layout of the Fairview hotel, you find nothing that seems to indicate any easy entrance to West's room, outside of the window and the door. There's no short escape route from the room in question, and given the security footage, you can't really see any way that a killer would have entered and exited through the hotel proper. This pretty much leaves the window. It opens from the inside only.
You return to New York, most likely rather frustrated.
ST Notes: The retcon is approved due to outstanding Dominate commands from Nicolai that would have made Sam act in such a way.
Ash Gently; November 6, 2007
Whether for blackmailing purposes, infantile humor, or some sick fetish, Ash is sure that someone out on ShrekNET is dying to have something like a picture of Seneschal McCoy with a penis drawn on his face. As neither he (OOC: nor I, nor the STs, as far as I know) know the etiquette or method for ShreckNET data exchange, he's generally just trying to trade this for something useful.
Ash does not have a scanner. He goes to Kinko's. He goes obfuscated.
Scan complete at Kinko's. For some reason you choose to Obfuscate yourself as an extremely attractive, leggy brunette, so you get quite a few looks and catcalls when you're walking down the street.
At any rate, you're browsing ShreckNET's boards, occasionally stopping to post 'ur a faget' whenever appropriate, or to respond with a 'no u' or 'tits or gtfo'... at any rate, he happens to find Freddy Hatch of Chicago, who had an interesting idea... You find out that, actually, McCoy's been in Chicago recently and wasn't quite too well-received.
At any rate, Hatch goes to talk to his friend Ilkjo Leskovar, the Brujah Whip - apparently he was rather irritated by McCoy as well. It's arranged that the picture is worth two Minor Boons (one for you, one for Hatch). Hatch, of course, then convinces his Malkavian friend Gerad de la Pollo that it'd be hilarious to make a macro out of it (lol penis), blow it up, and hang it from Elysium somewhere. He promises to send you pics later.