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Eskola (Summer 2009)

Piscina "Pisces" Nadya; August 4, 2009

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Piscina "Pisces" Nadya; August 4, 2009

STREET x5:

WATCH x5

Pisces investigates and monitors the eskola drug. She keeps track of where and how it's distributed. She watches to see if any more of it comes in, and if it does, tries to trace it back to its source. She tries to discern if there is any rhyme or reason to its distribution.

She buys a sample of it and transports it to Daria so that the Anarch can tell her more about its composition. (I will send this to Danya.)

Pisces coordinates her findings with Brian Wu, exchanging information with him, trying to get a better sense of how he is related to what's starting to seem, to Pisces at least, to be a Kuei-jin plot orchestrated by a mysterious Doctor Chang to poison the Kindred of New York City. She keeps an open mind and sees what information he gives her to confirm or dispel her suspicions.

During the last month, possibly earlier if Pisces thinks she has done all the investigating she can into the eskola situation, Pisces completely dedicates her street network to WATCH x5 to monitor the streets of the city for interesting developments.

Influence Response:

It's not difficult, with your large Street network, to round up the most popular eskola dealers. A good fraction of them are street thugs and underworld lackeys with fingers in the various gangs, and while you can't be entirely sure about the true identities of these dealers without checking them out yourself, you're pretty sure that people like Jimmy Carducci and Gerad Kashkalov are mob-gang liaisons. Other people like Mason Freeman and Lawrence Rickard are rather difficult to pin down without additional research.

As the summer progresses it seems that eskola is being more and more marketed as a classy party-drug by organized crime figures. Part of this is due to the similarities between the effects of eskola and other party drugs, but the other reason is due to the current rarity of eskola. The initial eskola shipment occurred last spring during March or April; however the police were able to get their hands on subsequent shipments due to an anonymous tipster. Since then, any eskola shipments have been coming by car delivery from outside of the city.

Something that your contacts note is that the initial shipment was quite large. It seems like everyone got a slice of the pie - and the pie is quite large, indeed. There's no telling as to how much of it is still sitting around waiting to be sold off, and how much is still coming into the city.

From what they can glean, however, the newer shipments seem to be biweekly, although not necessarily regular (the dates are often changed to avoid detection) and the delivery is different every week. Whoever's in charge of this is doing things very carefully.

Gang involvement in dealing eskola seems to be dropping. A few of the smaller gangs, like the Boyle Avenue Runners, are still involved, but only because the Moretti family seems to be sponsoring them as their local attack-dogs. It seems that the O'Quinns are doing something similar with the Gerrards. Interesting thing to note is that the Runners and the Gerrards have had issues in the past, and it seems that the Morettis and the O'Quinns aren't on the best of terms either.

Fortunately for you, this is the only surrogate conflict that seems to be active, and it's only mildly simmering at this point. The majority of crime organizations seem to prefer to play with their own toys... and while crime is nothing but unharmonious, things seem to be held in an uneasy peace at the moment.

Your coordination efforts with Brian Wu are infrequent and reminiscent of talking to a wall. Your first exchange was a series of documents he left for you with one of your helpers - hospital reports on eskola-related deaths, a detailed technical report on eskola (can't be understood without either Science: Chemistry x2 or Medicine x3), and the odd police report on possible dealers.

As time passes, it becomes increasingly clear that whatever Brian Wu's objectives are, they a) aren't the same as yours, and b) he's unwilling to divulge the details. Many a voicemail you leave him goes unanswered, and the times you do reach him and drop some tidbit of information he reacts to by muttering furiously under his breath about "how it all fits together."

You acquire a small sample of eskola, in a prescription pill bottle for a "Frank Muir" for his heart issues. It comes in a number of forms, although it appears that the most popular is sold in tablet form.

As far as your WATCH results go, you have the names of several drug dealers, gang members, and mob contacts that you can TRACE (including the names mentioned above).

For more information, see your Underworld response.

ST Notes: The O'Quinn/Moretti Underworld war is a very local one. I haven't decided what borough it would be in yet, but rest assured that this is not the "next big gang war" - although Pisces may feel compelled to meddle, as she usually does. Frank Muir is the name of the fake CEO of the fake company that Brian Wu "contracted" sempreverde research to - in reality it was going to be a private lab for Wu, but his enemy stole it before he could do anything with it.

I've taken a few liberties with the old WATCH/TRACE/FOLLOW system, in that the PINGs given are actually represented by the people responsible for dealing the drugs instead of a generic "you found a PING!" If you guys feel uncomfortable with this, let me know and we can work out a better solution.

Incidentally, the person that has an ear to the ground for the Thunderous Fists (aka the temp-name for the Eskola Bloc) and the proper PING trace would be Mr. Lawrence Rickard. I hope you guys liked that one.

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Piscina "Pisces" Nadya; August 4, 2009

UNDERWORLD x1:

WATCH x5 (Underworld x1 + Contacts x4)

Underworld x1 + Contacts x4 are used to complete the following action.

Last influence cycle, Pisces discovered that the Italian and Irish mafia were involved in transporting eskola into New York City. Pisces is going to follow up on this and try to trace the path of the drug back through the mob to its source. She is interested in who paid the mob so much money to get this drug off their hands, and will carefully investigate and keep her ears and contacts open for leads about this.

Influence Response:

Your Contacts are able to confirm for you - the Chinese mob has some pretty deep fingers in this, although it's still somewhat unclear as to how far down the rabbit hole goes. According to some, it's the Hip Sing Tong that are responsible for the manufacture and production; others just claim they arrange for the transportation of the stuff.

Curiously, from your Street contacts, there isn't anything mentioned at all about the Flying Dragons, the Tong's street-gang. Either they aren't involved at all or someone's been covering things up to the point where even YOU don't know about it.

At any rate, the word is that the Tong - more specifically, a Tong associate - has been arranging for other mobs to take this eskola off their hands. Apparently there's been some talk of Interpol tracking down this missing shipment, although further investigation of this rumor reveals that it's only that - a rumor.

An unusual figure stands out to you here. The figure in question is a Mr. Lee, who seems to run a local rent-a-car and bus service that caters to the Tri-State area. Mr. Lee is vehemently opposed to eskola and drug trafficking in general, defending the Tong as a legitimate organization that helps local Chinese businesses.

Rumor has it that the Tong is still sitting on at least another crate of the stuff, and that the first shipment was from overseas, in Cambodia. The current shipments of eskola are actually small in comparison (about a car's trunk worth every two weeks), and it seems that the shipments are now being routed through New Jersey to avoid any large-scale police busts. A new shipment by car/bus/taxi/limo arrives every two weeks, and is picked up by local Tong associates at the designated drop location.

ST Notes: The Flying Dragons have no involvement in this, and that bit was merely to freak Pisces out. However, Mr. Li of New Jersey (restauranteur and crime-lord) has a very strong hand in this, and persuaded some of his friends in the Tong to provide temporary storage. Outside of that, however, the current operation is run entirely from New Jersey.

His younger cousin, Mr. Lee of New York (transportation small-business owner), is the Transportation influence contact, but has no idea what his older cousin is doing - he merely arranges the cars, free of charge. To him, the Hip Sing "Association" is a completely legal organization, albeit with a shady history.

If Pisces decides to press things via Transportation influence (simulated or otherwise) she'll find that the cars themselves are from the Tong's most outspoken opponent of drug trafficking, and if she goes a further step she'll find Li Xiao Hong of New Jersey.

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Piscina "Pisces" Nadya; August 4, 2009

HEALTH x4:

WATCH x4

Pisces WATCHES all summer for developments in this area.

In particular, Pisces keeps an eye on and does what she can to encourage the government-associated agency that is investigating the eskola drug. If its appropriate, she drops the issue on the desks of doctors with experience in drugwork who would be interested in the investigation. Through individuals who trust her, she quietly encourages hospitals to support and assist in this investigation.

Influence Response:

(I'm not sure what kind of health rumors Pisces will be picking up, so you may want to ask the STs at a later date.)

After discussion with your associates, you try to grease the wheels as much as possible for the government-contracted response team - providing access to autopsy

reports and samples of the drug. In a few instances, some of the bodies were taken for further testing - with consent, of course.

While you can't be sure of what the agency is up to, you're assured by your contacts that they're at the very least good people. One of your contacts has actually met the lead researcher - they had a fairly interesting discussion, and he seemed very intelligent, and very empathetic.

Comments: (Not seen by Player)

ST Notes: This is absolutely brilliant. Pisces is unwittingly allowing the Health team to remove clues.

The lead researcher is Dr. Kenny Zhao being the magnificent bastard that he is and donning the mask of "compassionate doctor." The interesting conversation will be about how his father was taken from him by drug abuse - which, of course, is entirely true. Of course, there's more to it than just that, but I'll leave things here for now.

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