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Do Not Open!

Helen Rogerson; November 12-17, 2007

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Helen Rogerson; November 12, 2007

PERSONAL ACTION:

Helen's going to go check out the safety deposit box that McCoy left for her for when he died.

Influence Response:

You go to the First Bank of Money and check out Box #3087 Opening it, you find a single plain and very full manila envelope - the sort that can only contain important things and/or secrets.

Within lies the following:

  • A paper-clipped together social security card, copy of a birth certificate and sundry identifying information for one Bryan Fox. A sticky note reads: "Created this one on Jan 3, 07 - was originally supposed to be a stealth ID for West, I later used it myself to deal with his leftover funds."

  • A paper-clipped together social security card, copy of a birth certificate and sundry identifying information for one Darren West. All photos have been replaced with McCoy's face. A sticky note reads: "Created this one on Feb 20, 07 - Everything's accurate 'cept the photos."

  • A paper-clipped together social security card, copy of a birth certificate and sundry identifying information for one Hyman Jinx. A sticky note reads: "Created this one on Oct 10, 06 - Used for the ghost address in Brooklyn."

  • A paper-clipped together social security card, copy of a birth certificate and sundry identifying information for one Jerry Springsteen. A sticky note reads: "Created this one on Oct 25, 06 - Used for the ghost address in Soho."

  • A paper-clipped together social security card, copy of a birth certificate and sundry identifying information for one Thomas R. Foolery. A sticky note reads: "Created this one on April 26, 06 - Used to be my 'buying' things ID, later reverted to Bryan Fox."

  • A lease for six feet of office space in a building in Soho, rented to one Jerry Springsteen for $864 a year. A sticky note reads: "Ghost address, this is where my mail tended to go."

  • A lease for eight square feet of office space in a building in Brooklyn, rented to one Hyman Jinx for $1,260 a year. A sticky note reads: "Ghost address #2 - Just in Case."

  • Information/PIN numbers for a bank account in the name of Bryan Fox. The latest statement claims that it currently holds $27,010.16.

  • Information/PIN numbers for a bank account in the name of Thomas R. Foolery. The latest statement claims that it currently holds $174,680.17.

  • Information for a New Mexico Limited Liability company called Cleveland Basketball, Ltd, incorporated on Feb 28, 2007. The names on the operating agreement are blank. A sticky note reads: "Has ownership over Neo Hong-Kong."

  • Information for a New Mexico Limited Liability company called FireFox, Ltd, incorporated on Jan 3, 2007. The names on the operating agreement are blank. A sticky note reads: "Has ownership over the Elysium building."

  • Information for a New Mexico Limited Liability company called Fun Park Amusements, Ltd, incorporated on Feb 28, 2007. The names on the operating agreement are blank. A sticky note reads: "Has ownership over 40 Diamond - The Camarilla 'Secret' Warehouse."

  • Information for a New Mexico Limited Liability company called Giovanni Real Estate, Ltd, incorporated on Feb 28, 2007. The names on the operating agreement are blank. A sticky note reads: "Has ownership over the building for 2303 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd - where Reese's old Club was."

  • Information for a New Mexico Limited Liability company called Optimus Security Solutions, Ltd, incorporated on Jan 3, 2007 by Bryan Fox. A sticky note reads: "West's remaining funds are 'invested' here - should come to about $800,000."

  • Information for a New Mexico Limited Liability company called Star Fox Enterprises, Ltd, incorporated on Nov 19, 2006. The names on the operating agreement are blank.

  • A packet of information on one Adam Jones, based on cell phone records. Included is information regarding a small checking account in Jones' name.

  • A packet of information on one Darren West (SS#: 118-429-620, DOB: 01/18/1953, Mother's Maiden Name: Brown). Included is a credit report, assorted phone records, and information on a Black Audi registered to Mr. West (plate #W0721KG, VIN #TRU8GDI9AXKP049781)

  • A packet of information on one Edwin Ferenton (SS #117-567-1003), based on cell phone records. Included is information regarding a small checking account in Ferenton's name, and a PO Box address allegedly used by him.

  • A packet of information on one Emanuel James Richardson IV, DOB: 06/04/1963, Mother's Maiden Name: Benison). Included is a credit report, assorted phone records, papers relating to properties owned in NYC and St. Louis, information and combos for Safe Deposit boxes in NYC and St. Louis containing about $35,000 total in bonds, and information on a Black Volante (Plate #8H2L1PS, VIN #SCFAA4121VK201198) and a Porsche Cayman S (Plate #J9K781, VIN #WP0AB29856U783059) registered to Mr. Richardson. Also attached is information on a building in University City, St. Louis owned by one Emanuel James Richardson III and a list of legal aides, lawyers and financiers that he was apparently in close contact with.

  • A packet of information on one Johnathan Fitzgerald (SS#: 201-853-5276, DOB: 02/14/1977, Mother's Maiden Name: Day). Included is a information on an Indiana-registered motorcycle (VIN #1HD1HCZ486K804241) in his name, phone records connecting him to a cell phone known to belong to Layla Reese, a PO Box and a home address in Indianapolis connected to him, and information on a bank account in his name with $211 in cash. A small sticky note attached bears the word "IMPULSE."

  • A packet of information on one Layla Reese (SS#: 123-666-8246, DOB: xx/xx/xxxx, Mother's Maiden Name: Covey). Included is a very sad looking credit report and assorted phone records.

  • A packet of information on one Natalie Hemming (SS #214-732-0833), based on cell phone records. Included is information regarding a small checking account in Hemming's name, and a PO Box address allegedly used by her.

  • A packet of information on one Sasha Koslov (SS #243-877-6606), based on cell phone records. Included is information regarding a small checking account in Koslov's name, and a PO Box address allegedly used by him. A small sticky note attached bears the word "ROSKE."

  • Papers with the New York department of motor vehicles and other various zoning administrations allowing Thomas R. Foolery to ride a horse on New York City streets.

  • Personality tests, donation records and paperwork in the name of one Jim Hawthorne, all relating to his membership in the Church of Scientology. There's a note reading "Elmo Peterson (my auditor) slept with an underage Thai Hooker once, and he's been trying to keep it quiet. I was trying to use this as leverage to get into the Guardian's Office (see Barbara Stone on that one), but I didn't get very far. It was worth a shot."

  • An extensive and detailed list of people and phone numbers associated with the NYPD, a small cab company and various governmental agencies. You're pretty certain this might allow you to TRACE an influence network if you put your mind to it.

  • A single key taped to an address for a Manhattan building. Attached is a sticky note reading "Here's the key to my *other* office. Jamal provided it for me a while back."

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Helen Rogerson; November 16, 2007

PERSONAL ACTION:

Helen's going to go through McCoy's office to see if there isn't anything that can and ought be recovered.

Influence Response:

Rifling through his office at the Elysium site, you find that there isn't all that much to salvage. For the most part the place is fairly clean, filled with filing cabinets that seemingly served no purpose save for decoration (being empty), and a few boring framed art pieces that's you're fairly certain came with the building. Opening the top drawer of his desk, you find a series of carbon paper copies. They all read thus:

"xx/xx/xxxx Consultation Fee: $7,000

Please submit itemized expense reports when they are completed.

Signature: ___________"

Each form is dated for the first of the month, and copies are present for May, June, July, August and September of 2007. They are all signed by somebody who has atrociously hard-to-read handwriting, although you think you can make out a letter "A", "O" or "Q" at the beginning.

ST Notes: These were invoiced for paying Ash Gently.

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Helen Rogerson; November 17, 2007

PERSONAL ACTION:

Helen is going to go to McCoy's *other* office in Manhattan, and she will see if there isn't anything there she ought to know about.

Influence Response:

You go to the Manhattan address listed in the manila envelope, and unlock the door to the room number listed. Inside you see a small spartan room, containing only a desk, a chair and this painting hanging on the North wall. Laid out on the desk is a series of small charms, talismans, lacquered bowls and offerings, most definitely Chinese in origin. You recognize several strips of paper as having Buddhist prayers on them, and note the character for kuei (ghost or spirit) painted on one of the bowls. You can hazard a guess that the artifacts are somehow Kuei-jin related.

Discarded to one side on the floor, you find a now familiar wooden box decorated with an intricate pattern of thorns and flowers. You (having Common Sense) are quite careful in handling it, and don a pair of gloves before touching it. Looking inside, you see a tiny little square marked in the center of the box's bottom with the words "Mors Instigata" (Latin, you're guessing) embossed around it.

You also find a small label reading "Do not Open!" torn and set to the side, where nearby sits a small card just barely big enough to cover the bottom of the box. You can read the following at the top:

"My dearest Aurelius,

"It will behoove you to read the instructions on this placard carefully before proceeding in anyway with the contents of this box. I can't well be responsible for what will happen otherwise."

The rest of the card is a blur of detail writing in several languages, not all of which you can understand or decode. They spiral around in a maze-like fashion, vaguely reminiscent of part of the pattern in the bottom of the box, with a central passage in something indecipherable in the place where the crystal once occupied.

Being the cunning linguist you, are however, you can make out the following:

  • In French [Forming part of the pattern around the central passage]: "Don't meddle with a man who is near the edge of reason. The solution is entirely unreasonable - so is much that's worthwhile."

  • In French [around the border of the card]: "It is not what is within but without; just as what is above is below. Only a fool would run such an errand as to neglect the true path, but passion makes us all fools."

  • In German [Appearing both above and below the central passage]: "If the bonds are not to burst - you must try to cut them first."

  • In German [Appearing off to the left side]: "That which is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil."

  • In Italian [Appearing somewhere in the midst of the writing]: "Still desiring, we live without hope."

  • In Italian [Appearing somewhere in the midst of the writing]: "I love to doubt as well as know.”

  • In Japanese [Forming part of the pattern around the central passage]: "When love is deep, much can be accomplished."

  • In Japanese [Appearing somewhere in the midst of the writing]: "The key is fit for dogs. Sick dogs."

  • In Russian [Appearing somewhere in the midst of the writing]: "All men of one law stand indicted: if you can't love with love that's unrequited, you cannot love - no matter what you do."

  • In Serbo-Croatian [Appearing somewhat larger than other pieces of writing near the top]: "Remember me kindly to him." [The word najlepše ("with best wishes", translated as "kindly") is underlined]

  • In Spanish [around the border of the card]: "Take care not to love the man that strikes his animal."

Overall, you really can't make heads nor tails of it. Even with your expert ability with languages, you've only read about 30% or so of what's written. You think it's some sort of bizarre puzzle, and you expect that the central writing (It's in Gaelic, you think) is somehow important.

You can only assume that these were somehow supposed to be instructions for opening the box safely (or at least more safely than grabbing the artifact and tossing it into a river), and as such they are largely useless now.

You proceed to search around the rest of the office, and find nothing of note except a dead moth, a few notebooks and (in the top desk drawer), the following letter:

Childe of mine,

Forgive my lack of attention to you, boy. I am remiss in not having contacted you earlier.

Congratulations on your post within New York. It is pleasing to know that the line of Fergus has become gifted enough to participate in civic affairs, and while I think little of such politics, it is good to see that you have at last found something to which you might apply yourself.

In any event, it has come to our attention that you and the childe of Aurelius have sought to bury the feud of your fathers. I cannot help but express admiration toward the goal, and as such, surprising as it may be, I shall seek now to emulate your example. The scars of the past have certainly had enough centuries to scab over.

To this end, I am sending you (and to some extent Auberon) a gift - which I would like forwarded to my former rival with all due speed. I felt that the gesture of having the younger generation offer it up would be most appropriate to the circumstances, seeing as how you two are to lead us to peace by the example you have set forth.

If you are curious as to the contents of the box, I will allay your curiosity - for I must emphasize that at all costs the artifact within must not be tampered with. You see, some months ago, your own Regent Jones came to Vienna and told a strange tell regarding one of the former denizens of your Domain, spreading fantastic rumors that a flesh and blood Cainite had been left in the form of an airy spirit after her death, and that the planes which it now traversed placed it in the realm of the astral. It was hard to swallow, of course, but the community of magi naturally took interest in such a phenomenon. Aurelius himself backed an expedition to have it caught earlier, although it met with little success.

I, however, am more experienced in such matters than poor old Aurelius, whose domain was always one of alchemy rather than ether - and through my expertise, have managed to capture this self-same sprite, and bind it. It's a remarkably potent one, all things considered, and while I can't comment definitively as to it's origins, the thing in question has a quaint almost human quality to some of it's thoughts. It is exceedingly dangerous when treated improperly, although I must confess that I've much enjoyed the challenge of breaking such an high-spirited ephemera.

I send it unto House Xerices that Aurelius might have such a bauble as he sought back in February, although I worry he'll be quite bitter if he receives it once I've already published anything on the matter of it's capture (as I intend to do shortly). You should not delay in sending it, therefore, lest you cause my gesture to be mistaken for one of spite. It is my hope that we shall soon find a place for truce between the long crossed houses of Fergus and Xerices, presuming that Aurelius remains a reasonable man.

My injunction that you do this is not a request. I thank you in advance.

Your maker and master,
Ferguson

ST Notes: Ferguson's convoluted linguistic puzzle could have been solved with sufficiently high Linguistics/Enigmas and enough time (which was not an asset the PCs had). It would have been particularly helpful to the process if somebody (such as Kaya or Jay) put forth their knowledge of the central riddle that was written in Gaelic and that connected a great deal of the quotes: Q. What is the name of the word known to all men? A. Love

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