Friday, April 24, 2020

VtM: Delete Your Facebook

As the sun sets on another night in pandemic-ridden Seattle, and the previous night's chaos begins to catch up with people:

We open with Jack, who awakens to his ghoulfriend Valeria handing him her phone: there's an email on it, addressed to him. It's from Nadine, at the Tremere Chantry. Nadine is not somebody that Jack knows well, but she's Tremere and she's influential; this isn't something he should ignore -- Nadine is fairly highly placed, and favored by "the Professor". The email indicates a possible breach of the First Tradition (secrecy) at a local hospital and enlists Jack to go check it out. Which... okay, that's well within his skill set.

Jack heads to the Hospital. He has to go the long way around since the bridge is inexplicably closed, but he manages just fine. Approaching the hospital (in a mask and gloves, because he's rather better prepared than I am) he gets flagged by the cop out front. Leaning a bit on the Dominate discipline, he convinces the man that he's a fellow law enforcement officer (plainclothes) here to investigate an incident from the previous evening. The officer is helpful: two guys got into some kind of scuffle in the ER waiting room last night, go on in.

So Jack proceeds inside, finds the nurse, and gives her much the same story. She was there; she remembers the three Really Big Guys who couldn't behave. One of them's still here, in fact, up on Four. Could she find me a room number? She could. Jack proceeds up to the room, then looks around for the biggest guy in it and finds Austin/The Chaos. "So, what can you tell me about your two friends?"

Austin Watts: "Who wants to know?"

Jack shrugs: "I'm looking for a couple of guys who started some incident last night. I was hoping you could help." He puts some emphasis on the last word, meeting Austin's eyes but limiting himself to that single command instead of mesmerizing him entirely.

Austin Watts, Dominated: "They are the dopest wrestlers. I can tell you some stuff! I watched Willard push a tractor. He's a big guy, but like.. an actual tractor. I had it in Park. And Mario, he's really sensitive about Chinese people, so when you meet him don't call it the China Virus."

Jack: "You have contact info for them?"

Austin: "Sure! I work out with Willard all the time."

Jack takes the info, lets Valeria know that he's fine, and then emails Nadine to say that he got names and an address, and does she want him to continue investigating or are they going to step in?

Bianca, meanwhile, is up and fully costumed when she receives another call from Evan. She's all ready for him to send over some potential staff to interview.

Evan: "I have a couple but they were curious about compensation."

Bianca: "I would pay them fifty dollars an hour. What is the minimum wage in this state?"

Evan: "I think they would find that acceptable." He carefully does not answer the question.

Bianca: "Lucien will take care of the money. You know him. My manager."

Lucien, taking the phone: "Yes, send them over." He hangs up.

Lucien: "Who is coming where, darling?"

Bianca: "Our staff is coming here. We discussed this last night."

Lucien: "I have a concern."

Bianca: "Not at all."

Lucien: "So much of this power of ours requires empathy, and I fear that may be beyond you, darling."

Bianca: "I am very convincing."

Lucien, slightly awestruck: "...When you interview them, you must use your voice the same way you just used it on me."

Bianca: "So we are roleplaying!"

Lucien: "Just so. We must play the parts of caring employers. The moment your forget--" He draws his hand across his throat.

Bianca: "Ah! I am to play Marie Antoinette!"

Lucien: "...Something like that." He begins making a Bloody Marie, which is like a Bloody Mary but made from real blood from a real Marie.

Lucien: "So shall we watch something as we wait?"

Bianca: "You could watch me perform? I can do the entire opera that WE SHOULD BE PERFORMING RIGHT NOW."

Lucien: "Every part?"

Bianca: "Of course! One cannot be an actress without knowing everyone's cues."

Willard, finally awake: "Gotta get my truck."

Mario: "I'll drive us to get your truck."

Willard: "Mario, man, you can use the Uber app to see where you last came from! Just check it and we can go straight to my truck."

Mario puts masks on both of them, and they head out. The Uber guy is... not endeared to them. Mario, meanwhile, calls Austin/the Chaos, who tells them about the "cop" that visited him earlier looking for them. They get a little bit of a description, and Mario announces that he doesn't trust anybody in boots. Gestapo wore boots. No boots, man.

Austin is at least feeling better. Mario encourages him to get an icepack for his head. He's apologetic about telling the fancy cop about them.

Willard, meanwhile is already on the phone with his agent, Wendel: "Man, I went to the hospital last night. I put IVs in everybody and shit and--"

Mario shuts off his phone. "So you remember that I'm the promoter? You need to listen to me. And SHUT UP."

The car pulls over in front of a cartoonishly oversized pickup truck. Uber Driver: "You guys stay safe, okay?"

Mario: "You too. Keep the mask on. And, um, forget everything we said." He drops a very nice tip.

Driver: "You were never here." He deletes the footage from his dashcam at Mario's request.

Willard is already texting people about this award that he's clearly going to receive for being so heroic last night.

They get back in the truck.

Willard finally catches up to the idea that someone looking for them after Mario freaked out in the ER is bad news. Willard: "We need to shelter in place!"

Mario: "I have an idea."

Willard: "That's probably better."

Mario: "You never get in trouble if you rat yourself out first. We should tell the Prince."

Willard: "Yeah! Okay! Let's go find him!"

Mario: "Great! How?"

Willard: "I will try the Facebook!"

Mario watches in horror as Willard botches and deletes his Facebook page... and his whole, carefully nurtured account.

Mario: "The fuck???"

Willard: "I'll drive, you call your mentor."

Mario hits up his mentor for information on how to get in touch with the Prince and/or the court; he calls him instead of texting, because it's been a while and also his mentor isn't so good with the texts.

Mario: "Como estas!"

Mentor: "Where are you? I hear a giant rumbling."

Mario: "Willard's truck."

Guerrero: "So, what is this?"

Mario: "Well, I need to get in touch with the prince or something 'cause something went down last night and I need people to know we had it under control."

Guerrero: "You're in trouble?"

Mario: "No, we got it. But better to head it off."

Guerrero: "I can make some calls, but... maybe you should talk to the Sheriff?"

Mario: "...Might be good."

Guerrero: "Sheriff Bart's a good guy for a Tremere."

Mario: "You doing okay? You're staying safe?"

Guerrero: "I'm fine. Head over to University district. Let me make some calls."

Mario hangs up. "We need to head to University Street."

Willard: Turns the radio back up, doesn't listen. He's got friends in low places...

Meanwhile, Jack is checking his emails:
Nadine: That's good, the Tradition has not been breached. These people are something of an unknown; go and take their measure.

Jack: Understood.

With the address in hand and the low traffic, Jack quickly shows up at Willard's place: a nice house in the suburbs. There's a truck in the driveway; it's older, a beat-up green pickup with the rounded hood and a dent on one side. The lawn hasn't been mowed in months, and there are piles of Amazon packages and notices from the HOA all over the porch. The lights are on, so Jack goes up to ring the doorbell.

There are dogs inside, and they erupt into barking when Jack rings the bell. They're Saint Bernards that have been raised entirely on chili.

Well, okay. Willard doesn't have any of the "someone rang your doorbell" apps, so he's unaware of all this. Jack goes around and checks out the house. Having established that there are two Saint Bernards (Garth and Brooks) and no vampires currently in residence, Jack emails Nadine again and settles back in his car to wait.

Bianca, meanwhile, has had a brilliant idea: "We should have a concert for other vampires! They come over, I sing, they donate money to the theater so that I don't have to!"

Lucien: "Such an event might expose us."

Bianca: "We would not be exposed. Unless you wish to have an orgy. That would mean exposing ourselves. We could have an orgy to raise the money."

Lucien: "But we would have to change the memories of the staff. We do not have that power. Perhaps just a normal performance? Your singing is so much better than an orgy."

Bianca: "Very well, a concert! I shall sing all my favorite Arias! You could accompany me, Lucien."

Lucien: "Alas, I could not." Lucien isn't much of a singer.

The doorbell buzzes. Bianca gets into character as Lucien goes to open the door.

Bianca: "Welcome, PEASANTS!" (Whispering to Lucien:) "I am trying to be empathetic!"

This goes over just exactly as well as you might expect.

Bianca: "I'm sorry, my English not very good." She manages to turn on the charm for this one, and the mortals seem mollified. None of these are particularly familiar to Bianca, but they're... interested in being paid. "We will pay you money. And you can have rooms on the second floor!"

Lucien: "They will be living here?"

Bianca: "It is fine. They will be asleep when we are awake."

Lucien: "But if they are asleep when we are awake, then the reverse is true as well." He makes the throat-slitting gesture again, passably discreetly.

Bianca: "Well of course! I don't think you have thought this through, Lucien!"

Five potential servants have shown up. "You have rooms for all of us?"

Bianca: "Lucien snores, so none of you want to be around that. I need a bartender, and a ladies' maid, and two people to clean things up, and someone to hang out with me and be my companion."

She is very persuasive. A "fantastic employer". So they're asking about the jobs, and she's describing the jobs: the bartender tends bar, the cleaners clean the house, the bartender might also cook for the staff, the lady in waiting will help her dress and do her makeup, and the companion must be able to laugh at the stupid bitches on the TV and listen to her SING.

The only issue is that nobody wants to be the maids - probably shouldn't have mentioned the toilet cleaning. Bianca: "Very well! If nobody wants to do it, it will be an extra chore and everybody will do it and I will assign it." Bianca-splaining.

The peasants understand that they can just go round-robin with this shit. "So when do we start?"

"As soon as you want to, my darling. I could use a cocktail right now. Lucien, darling, would you care to show them how to make my cocktails?"

Lucien: "Um, no."

Bianca: "Well, show them how to make the mocktails. You know, the ones with alcohol instead of..." She winks saucily. "...You know."

Lucien: "She is so funny."

The staff: "ECCENTRIC!"

Bianca returns to planning a concert, to which she intends to invite both princes. Is that going to be a good idea? We'll see.

Meanwhile in the pickup truck, Willard is playing both kinds of music at Mario: Country and Western. Loudly.

Willard manages to park right in front of the stadium. Guerrero's called back; he's putting Mario in touch with Nadine. He isn't sure of how important she is, but she's definitely connected. He sends meeting details, for a bar not too far around the corner.

Mario puts on his gimmick mask, and Willard changes out into his costume: overalls and a mask. This largely involves pulling off his shirt from under the overalls. The meeting point is seven blocks away, so after some debate they decide to drive.

Mario: "Okay, be ready."

Willard: "Like, with the axe?"

Mario: "Sure."

Willard: "But we're apologizing! I don't need my axe to apologize!"

Mario: "Wear the armor, leave the axe."

Willard decides that maybe he should check out the alley before he goes down it. He floods the alley with his headlights. There's a figure about halfway down the alley and he's blind now.

Meanwhile, Jack gets a text from Nadine.

Willard starts down the alley, and then realizes that he needs to cut the lights and does so. "Ho there, partner, my name's Willard! Glad to see you! Come on out!"

The guy moves forward a bit, confused. He looks to be early twenties, east Asian kid. Jogging pants, nice sneakers, yeah... he's Kine.

Willard: "You need to be inside with the social distancing."

Guy: "Some lady told me I had to come here and meet two guys? I guess that's you?"

Mario: "Lady?"

Guy: "Said her name was Nadine." He tugs his mask into place and wanders off.

Willard: "Hold on, partner! I have signed photos right here!" In the pictures, he's doing his patented glare, shirtless.

Guy: "So, are you like a famous cowboy?"

Willard: "I'm wrestler!"

Guy: "Oh! I thought you were like MMA or something real."

Willard: "Oh those little guys in the cage?"

Mario: "Fake! You don't win unless Dana White wants you to win!"

They head over to Elysium at the Seattle center and park again.

Jack and Nadine show up by the glass museum, and Willard spots them immediately and starts shouting for them to come over. Then he pulls two of the photos out of the glove compartment. Nadine is a gold-skinned woman, and wearing a black pantsuit. Willard hands them photos (signed).

Jack: "The wrestler?" He doesn't actually follow wrestling, but he can take a hint.

Willard: "In the flesh! So about this award ceremony..."

Jack: "Can you lay out what went down last night, first?"

Nadine: "Which one of you is Mario?"

Mario: lays out a formal Spanish courtly greeting from a good century earlier, and Nadine relaxes fractionally.

Nadine: "I understand you sought an audience."

Mario: "Yes. We hoped to explain."

Willard: immediately launches into an explanation about Austin Watts not doing so well, and taking him to the hospital, and doing the IVs... Oh, and Mario losing his shit over the "China Virus" phrasing.

Mario: "But I calmed down."

Nadine: "Fortunately, my associate's investigation showed that nothing was breached, but I would like to impress upon you--"

Willard: "I am so sorry!"

Mario: "Wasn't your fault, man."

Nadine: "No censure is forthcoming. Be aware that the Prince has decreed that no Kindred will hunt at hospitals at this time. The risk is too great."

Mario: "So us feeding...?"

Nadine: "The professor says we are safe, but he believes that we can spread the disease."

Willard: "So... we're cool."

Nadine: "So, Mister Grey: what say you? They don't seem to be Anarchs."

Jack: "No. They weren't seeking to cause trouble, they just stepped into a bad situation. But it sounds like they managed to restrain each other, and they got out without further incident."

Nadine: "Agreed."

Willard: "Again I am SO SORRY little lady."

Nadine: does not kill Willard for calling her a little lady, but it's a near thing.

Jack hangs out as Nadine leaves, still following the "check these guys out" order. We agree to meet up at Laurelhurst the following evening for Bianca's concert.

And we get two experience points.

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