A Troubled Childhood

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Joined:Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm
A Troubled Childhood

Post by ChrisDDickey » Wed Jan 19, 2022 2:58 pm

Old Cusa is swapping stories with his drinking buddies. 

The Rabbit Hole is truly bizarre, and needs to be experienced to be believed. It seems to give a good jolt of magic to anything that enters it. Sometimes the jolt of magic has no apparent effects, but it was immediately after I passed through it the first time that I transformed into an Elf, and sometimes the magic has weird or seemingly random effects. An acquaintance of mine suddenly learned a language that at the time nobody else spoke (which turned out to be Trollish)!. Another suddenly had a leaf growing out of their neck! One of the weirdest effects I ever saw was the 42 year old woman who passed though the Rabbit Hole and came out apparently 12 years old. I did not know Miss Marcelin Hahnemann before she arrived in Fort Alice, but she sought out our investigatory firm shortly thereafter, and I can testify that she looked no more than 12 years old, but spoke and acted like a 42 year old.

After my time in the Spider Silk village learning from the Shamans I had returned to Ft. Alice. In the meantime my associates had done some remodeling of the Fairiday Faraway office. It was the 1st of March in 1880 when I got word that a client had made an appointment to see the investigation team. I arrived early and at the appointed hour a woman and a girl walked in and were ushered into our conference room. We were surprised to learn that it was the 12 year old girl who was our client (aged 42), and that the 30ish Elf woman (Mrs Hanna Nesbit) was her secretary of 15 years. 

Miss Hahnemann (who spoke English and German with a French accent) was a Chemist with an expertise in Metallurgy. She was a founding partner in the firm of Hahnemann, Grace, and Hutt. She had come to Fort Alice to consult with the railroad on arming and armoring of the railroads rolling stock and stations, but the railroad was unwilling to work with her in her current condition. Worse, when her partners, Grace and Hutt learned of her condition, they immediately took steps to take advantage, They started legal proceedings and had her served with papers to declare her a minor incapable of being responsible for her own affaris, incompetent and placed under guardianship, and also laying claim to patents which she had filed unto themselves during her guardianship. She had also received word from allies at her firm that they had entered her offices and labs and had gone through her notes and experiments, taking many papers, and she suspected that they intended to outright claim her recent work for their own. 

She described Hutt and Grace as competent engineers, but not up to her own level of genius. Their partnership employs about 25 people total, 8 of them engineers, in two offices. She normally works in  the St. James facility, while Grace and Hutt normally work in the main office on Guilford St in Holborn. The Holborn office has the firm's engine. 

She offered us 50 pounds sterling for 1 week with an extension possible if the job required more time. We accompanied her back to London. Searching her house, we found a sound recording device secreted behind some fake books in her home office. I summoned a powerful spirit to protect her home (as long as she provided it with a tribute every Tuesday of three radishes (of good freshness and quality) and a bowl of warm mild, and we agreed to meet up the next day before she attempted to enter her firm's premises. 

We then checked in at the Fairiday Firm and had a meeting with Mr. Fairiday himself. We reviewed everything since the death of Mr Vance, and managed to convince him that the Gruv office was still a very good idea. He said that he would consider restaffing it with a Solicitor. He obviously wanted a senior man with a good head on his shoulders, but I rather suspected that we would end up with one, or even two brand new members of the legal bar. 

After our meeting with Mr Fairiday, we had a surprise meeting with an inspector Albertha Mitchell from Scotland Yard. She told us that after our previous adventures, Bang Snuff had almost disappeared from London, but that there were rumors on the street that it was soon going to become widely available again. She informed us that Scotland Yard would pay a handsome reward for information that would allow them to shut it down again, or even to put a sizeable dent in the trade. 

(Cusa says to his friends) Did I tell you guys the Bang Snuff story? Previously Bang Snuff was being supplied by something called the  Hesperidin Society. We had captured one of their small distribution labs, and it was as much magically based as chemically. It featured a Sarid Skull surrounded by mystic sigils and symbols. But while it owed more to magic than to chemistry, it also had not looked like any form of Alchemy I had ever heard of at the time (which was practically none back then)  The organization of the flasks and beakers all seemed wholly alien (and corrupt).We had also seen the remains of a larger processing lab. It also seems to have been alchemically based, and there were the remains of a powerful summoning circle there.  

We had learned that the Bang Snuff manufacturing process involved the Pituitary glands of some creature that apparently came from the Gruv. The pituitary glands were about the same size as a horses (half to three-quarters of an inch across). We knew that they had been shipped from the Gruv in a canister cooled with Dry Ice about a foot and a half high, and could contain at least a gallon of glands (which would work out to about 1000 glands, more or less). 

So for the Bang Snuff case, We had lots of lines of potential investigation. What (probably horse sized) creature were these glands from. Who was harvesting them by the thousands (a very un-Saurid like activity), Who was handling them in Ft Alice. Who/How were they being shipped through the Rabbit Hole. Who was manufacturing the Bang Snuff (probably in London), and there was always the possibility of tracing it back from the street dealers like we did last time. 

The Miss Hahnemann  case I was less certain how to proceed. 

500 + 400 + 300 + 200 = 1400 + journal. Note: talk to PC Westly Campbell, who was investigating Bang Snuff last time. 
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Mon Mar 14, 2022 9:32 am, edited 3 times in total.

Joined:Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by supermooboo » Sun Jan 30, 2022 10:19 pm

“How much ya paying to rat now? Would it happen to be worth more than my life? Because that’s what the other guy is charging if I rat.” Alvin the Loyal Baker

Now look it comes down to this. I was approached. A favor was due. And the Ms. Fagin who approached me on this matter made it clear that discretion is the better part of valor this time around. So mums the word. You won’t hear me talking about it Nope not a peep.

So I found myself with an interesting side project this time around. I wasn’t told many of the details but basically I’m an errand boy. Should be easy, they even arranged a go to girl for me to lean on for the more difficult parts of the endeavor. Something about how the Ms. Fagin worded that “they have been made discreet and reliable” didn’t sit right with me but they were basically doing the same thing to me anyway. “Definitely not my problem. It’s not that my heart is ice, it’s just that at some point you have to focus on your own problems. And I have far too many of them right now.”

Flash forward to day one of our new job. Just as I was told we would be, we are approached by a Ms. Hahnemann and hired as “discrete problem solvers and troubleshooters.” “Long story short. She came through the tunnel and turned into a little girl and now her business partners are using her new status as a minor to claim rights to all her stuff. She has hired Lawyers with our parent company the Faraday Law Firm in London, but needs our investigative arm for the protection services. Wait, the tunnel did what to her now? As a dwarf myself I can tell she is not one, but a child? Now that’s something strange. Maybe I’m lucky that nothing like that’s ever happened to me.”

Well anyway we are being paid to go back to London and secure her stuff and her safety. Before we left I made sure to give my accomplice on my side job a heads up so we can coordinate. She did not like that. Basically told me off. “Honestly, now that’s what I get for being nice! We’re all Boojums here. Why does one group of us think they are better than the rest of us?” Anyway, we boarded the train and departed through the rabbit hole back towards London. “Then for the briefest of bits everything goes black. And it’s strange, the only sense that really is working for me is the cold shiver running down my spine. My eyes see heat. Just how it goes as a dwarf. But even I couldn’t see the heat coming off my pipe in this darkness. Tricky business this tunnel is. I’m not looking forward to what might happen when we come back through. Perhaps it’s best we charge an extra fee for travel through the hole next time.”

Arriving in London was a simple affair after the blackout. We decided to head directly to the abode of Ms.Hahnemann to ensure the premise is secure and proper before heading to check in with our parent company the Faraday Law Firm. Investigating her premise I immediately thought that if I wanted to engage in tomfoolery it would be in her office where all the work gets done. “And of course I was right as usual. You can’t fool the great Alvin Baker! Nice try though.” They used a fake bookshelf to hide a clockwork device. I couldn’t figure out what it was exactly but Ms. Hahnemann figured out it was a clockwork recording device. Rather advanced and strange for a scientist to own.

Afterwards we have a discussion with Mr. Fairiday himself who is interested in whether we will be profitable or not. He concludes we will be and promises to send new legal interests to the office (this time someone more combat oriented). “Uh but what happened after. A member of the Yard came in. Thought they might be after me. Turns out they were, but they just didn’t know it yet! I kept quiet in the conversation. My heart pratically leaped out of me when they started describing how Bang Snuff is usually transported. Feel like I learned something I should't have. Well, nothin’ good comes for dealing with the Yard. Hopefully I can manage to keep quiet this whole situation for a few more days.”

Joined:Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Jan 31, 2022 2:25 pm

Old Cusa continues his drunken ramblings.

From the Fairiday main office, we all went to the Ditchburn Boarding House where Mrs Aulakh checked us into rooms and Gatsha (big Zulu, recently promoted to Lt in the British Army, "grandfather" of the Lodge) planned a welcome back party for me in two evenings time. I spent the evening exchangine mission critical debriefs with my colleagues (also known as gossiping), exchanging knowledge on spells and spirits. I learned that some of the Spirits of London are very unhappy. During the events of "Supply and Demand" which I told you about earlier, some spirits had been mollified by a government spokesman saying the "the great stink" situation would be fixed, but other than talk, little is being done yet.

Alvin Baker and Bernhard went to "The Right Mule" in Bermondsey and struck up a conversation with a craftsman at the St James office of the HGH firm named Hal. The Hahnemann, Grace and Hutt St James (Bermondsey) office is lower status (more craftsman than engineering), The main office in Holburn has higher educated engineers. On the business side, most of the best engineering is done by Hahnemann and her teams. While Grace and Hutt are adiquate engineers as well, most of the money and connections come from Grace and Hutt. They are considerably more politically powerful than Hahnemann. HGH leverage their patents and contracts into additional business contacts. They had considered winning a contract with the British military in the Gruv as quite a feather in their cap that was meant to open up many additional doors. The incident affecting Hahnemann seems to have greatly excited Grace and Hutt. There were rumors that the prospect of losing the contract put them into a panic for some reason. Instead of working with Hahnemann to regain the contract they were trying to freeze Hahnemann out. Hal thought they were pushing some of Hahnemann's designs, without understanding exactly how they work (which is stupid if they wanted them to work safely).

The next morning we revisited miss Hahnemanns house in order to install a pistol trap behind the book-case that had previously hidden the recording device, set to go off when the false-book front is moved. While we were leaving Hahnemann's home, I saw Alvin slip something into his pocket. I wondered if Nesbit passed him something? I did not think much of it at the time, but much later on that proved to be extremely significant.

The next day we talked to PC Campbell about Bang Snuff. He said there was a bit of legacy bang snuff still in London, but not new stuff yet. But that word on the street was that lots more was coming. He gave us the names of some gangs that might be involved.

At our scheduled meeting to discuss her case, Miss Hahnemann showed us newspaper clippings that had been appearing in London papers, stating quite unequivocally that she had been witnessed playing with dolls and a hobby horse. She was livid over the baldfaced lies and understood it to be part of a determined campaign to smear her reputation and revoke her legal emancipation. She also said "They have their hands on my things, and I don't care for that." She decided that she needed to get her papers and work under her own control again. She provided us with a letter of introduction to Mr Hal, which we hid in the secret compartment of Alvins arm. She told us that he would provide us with a list of the papers and whatnot that we needed to obtain (which struck me as odd, as it seemed like she ought to have known which papers were most sensitive). She told us that she was determined to regain her papers, and to regain the contract with the Gruv Railroad.

AP: 350 + 350 + 200 + 100 = 1000 + Journal

Joined:Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by supermooboo » Sun Feb 13, 2022 6:49 pm

"There's really only two ways to gather information. Good drink or a strong hand." A Baker by some name

My memories are a bit fuzzy from the day. "Well the truth of it is that I've been drinking since the dawn hours. Lots of stress, lots of things. You know? But I'm a fairly functional drunk you see so no harm." I do remember getting invited to a party by some associate of Cusa's. Definitely can't wait for that. Today is a bit of pre-action for that is all. Yeah, let's go with that.

After that there was some chatter about some river or something when the group suggested that me and Bernhard go to a bar! "Really now pull my leg will ya. I mean I already smell like one today so why not? The name of the place we went to? Ah don't stress the details." And I mean that was a good time. Some good old fashioned London bread. The good stuff too. With only like a bit of sawdust. "I definitely remember the bread. As much as I hate this place I miss the bread. It's the one thing I get homesick over. Everything else 'bout it can go to 'ell for all I care." We talked to some guy. Can't really remember his name. Think it was Hal? Well maybe. He didn't really have much to say. "Oh yeah that's right I came up with a zinger about a dwarf and a troll and a stick... That's all I got."

I only figured out what happened the next day as I noticed my derringer was missing. Apparently I decided to show off the hidden compartment in my arm not just to The Gang but to Hannehman as well. "Now look here. You can't call something a secret compartment if everyone knows about it! That's just silly. Stupid me." But apparently I set up my small pistol in the bookcase where the associates of Hannehman had planted the listening device as a trap. Well, I'm sure that went well. I mean I am good with my hands and all.
(OOC: rolled a 5)

Towards the end of the day was when I started sobering up. "Must have been the chat about Bang Snuff honestly. Honestly I'm starting to sober up just thinking about those conversations." Although it was mostly stuff we already knew as well. We did learn more about the gangs in the area that typically deal with the stuff. Nothing too concrete but we could definitely start an investigation with this information if we desired (not that I want too). Oh yeah and then Hannehman shows us the paper where her associates have all these fake articles about her playing with dolls and what not. "Honestly these people are just stone cold. At least in my line of work people have the decency to kill you somewhat quickly (most of the time). We don't pussyfoot around with this reputation crap. We don't like someone we let them know. Cowards the lot of them." Well afterwards we got tipped that someone named Hal should be our next contact for our investigation. "Same person as the one I met in the bar? Well this might be awkward. Oh yeah and when I checked for my pistol in the morning I found the letter to Hal in there. Something about this being sensitive information and all that. Well whatever, time to get to work."

Joined:Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu Feb 17, 2022 5:46 pm

Old Cusa continues to swap stories with his drinking buddies.

We met up with Mr Wright Hal at the Right Mule pub (no connection other than that he liked to drink there). The human brassman had a small beard and ink-stained fingers. He was Hahnemann's trusted confidant and ally at the firm. He gave us the briefing on what Miss Hahnemann wanted us to do. He said that she was getting right pissed with Grace and Hutt, was done pussyfooting around, and wanted to really give them hell. However since she was going to be appearing in court soon, she could not afford to have any trouble traced back to her.
So in order of importance, our priorities were to be.
  1. Keep Hahnemann’s name clear.
  2. Hal gave us a deck of cardware for us to run through the Engine in the Guilford St office. The cardware would print out her files stored upon the engine and then clear or corrupt those files in storage so that they would become useless, but might not look useless at first glance.
  3. Keep the police out of this
  4. Get the red folio (10x14x1") that holds her blueprints from the bookshelf behind her desk in her office. The office is in the basement near the steam room and has Engine security on the door.
  5. Get the prototype recoil tension spring from her workshop in the Bermondsey office. It was about the size of a stack of a stack of 3 or 4 butchers blocks, and very heavy.
Hal also gave us a map of a way from the Bermondsey office to the Guilford office that was totally underground tunnels. It seemed that both offices had access to / from the tunnels, and that it might be easiest to only sneak into the Bermondsey office rather than both. He offered to have a word with the night guards at the Bermondsey office hinting that they ought to not patrol too vigorously on the evening we broke in, but we decided to go that very night, without the attempt at co-opting the guards. We went to a shop that sold overalls that was open late that evening and bought some overalls while Baker forged up a phony carpentry work order.

We boldly knocked on the back door of the Bermondsey office (which was a very nice two story building, plus basement) and when the door was opened I hypnotized the guard and told her that we were carpenters, there to fix the wobbly downstairs bannister. She let us in and led us downstairs. To our surprise the basement bannister really was loose and needed fixing. While Alvin and Bernhardt (very loudly - with much sawing and banging) fixed the banister, The Reverend Rowen and I snuck back upstairs to Hahnemann's workshop. It was locked of course, but there was an open Transom above the door. I turned into a winged zinger and flew through the transom, turned back into a human and opened the door. I barely got my clothes on and was following Rowen who was carrying the large piece of equipment when the 2nd guard caught us. I hypnotized him as well, but was less successful in convincing him to let us proceed with the spring. We finally put down the spring on a convenient table and told him we would leave it there while we went back downstairs to finish up the work. In his dazzled state he accepted that and went away. We then picked the spring back up and carried it downstairs.

The others had finished repairing the bannister and by this point were just sawing and banging on spare lumber we had brought, just to keep the distracting noise level up. We quickly packed up and made our way to a false wall we had been told about, and from there into a steam tunnel delivering hot steam from a neighborhood boiler to subscribers who needed power. The other office was several miles away and on the other side of the river. There was one tight spot we needed to climb though, and I dropped my writing kit, breaking a vial of ink, which ruined the whole kit. Fortunately there was only the one tight spot and we navigated the various tunnels, sewers and tubes efficiently, and it only took us 3 hours to get there.

We again arrived via a steam tunnel since this building also had equipment powered by steam the company bought from outside. They had merely blocked the tunnel off with a unit of shelving, which we were able to push aside, admitting us to an infrequently used storeroom. Alvin was able to open the poor quality lock and we found ourselves in a hallway. We had been told that in this building Miss Hahnemann's office was in the basement both because she wanted to be near the Analytical Engine, and because it pleased Hutt and Graces vanity to keep her out of sight in the basement. Picking the nearest door we started exploring. We went though two more doors with poor mechanical locks before we heard the clacking of the Analytical Engine coming from a large room in the center of the building. There was a door with engine security next to it. We swiped the card we had been given and entered Miss Hahnemann's office. Shortly after we all entered, a dart trap under the rug spat out a huge quantity of darts, hurting us all. We examined it and decided that the trap had been recently installed, probably since Hutt and Grace launched their scheme to freeze Hahnemann out of the firm.

I quickly found the red portfolio and secured it. I then opened the door that looked like it opened into the Engine room, and indeed found the room crowded with engine equipment clacking away industriously. However Barnhart was already running the cards we had been given though a card reader he had found in the office we were in. Alvin meanwhile had closed the door we had entered through and opened the third door in the office and found a hallway stuffed with junk and storage. He reported that there was another nearby door in the hallway that we assumed led to the steam room we had been told was also near the office, and the hallway led to the stairs up.

When Alvin closed that door, he heard its Engine controlled deadbolt engage, and the Rev Rowen also heard the door we had entered through lock itself as well. At about the same time Bernhardt uttered something that I assume was German obesities and announced that his program had somehow aborted and that he was being locked out of the computer. We did not hear any alarm (ether when the dart trap went off or when the doors latched, but we realized that our activities must have been detected, and that guards must be on the way. I carefully pulled a wastebasket over and firmly lodged it in the doorway so that the door to the engine room that I was holding open could not close or lock.

We quickly took stock of our situation Two of the three doors locked. The door that was open led to a room whose other door was undoubtedly locked. Our most important task (getting the engine deck to run) not yet completed. Guards undoubtedly on the way. One interesting thing we noted was that the deadly (or at least dangerous) trap in Hahnemann's office that Hahnemann obviously knew nothing about would be something that they would be anxious to not let the peelers see (it was clear evidence that they were trying to murder Hahnemann - There could be no other good explanation for her not knowing about a trap they placed in her own office). Yes unless we could somehow manage to override the security alarm on the engine and run the cards instantly, we would clearly have to deal with whatever hired killers they had here, but it looked like nether side would want the police involved in the fight or its aftermath. Or at least not until the victorious side had managed to clean up any evidence that pointed to themselves.

Note: Before we leave, rip out and take with us some of the dart trap and carpet (as evidence). Also preserve several of the bloody darts.
Query: How sturdy are these doors? Proof against Bernhardt's hammer?
My writing Kit was damaged in the underground tight spot. It cost me 1/3 to get a new one.
AP 500 + 400 + 500 + 200 = 1600 + journal.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Fri Feb 18, 2022 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

Joined:Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by Slimcreeper » Fri Feb 18, 2022 1:12 am

I am very excited to see how this plays out! :D

The allied engineer is named Wright Howe, btw.

*Edit - unless everyone likes Right Hal better - that's a pretty good nickname!

Joined:Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by supermooboo » Sun Feb 27, 2022 9:43 pm

"Sure their locks may be fancy, but that doesn't change what needs to be done. Look both ways and find a way to open it." Alvin the Resourceful Baker

With a letter of introduction from Hannehman in tow the gang goes to meet with Hal. "Yeah the same one me and Bernhard met up with at the pub. Bit awkward that was, but the letter cleared most of that up." He gave us the rundown of what he wants us to nab and how. Basically we have to steal back a tension coil from the Bermondsey office, a red folio with blueprints from her office on Guilford St., and of course the info off the engine at the same place. He gave us some cardware to help us through the engine security but honestly I wasn't too convinced. Bernhard has a bit of skill with the cards but all of us are new to this field so it's anyone's guess how this will turn out. "Guess we just gots to do it. At the end of the day it's our best bet so there's nothing else left to do but to try it."

And try we did. We started with the Bermondsey office. Hal informed us that there is an access tunnel that runs between the two offices. "Well not that it's specially made for this company. There's all kinds of paths below London. The Underground as some of us call it. Some say there is a path everywhere. Problem is no one has a complete map of the place and most have no maps. There's something there I tell ya. Take the time to get to know the below and you won't regret it." Our first problem was getting to said tunnel. It was inside the Bermondsey office. We decided to fake a work order for a shaky banister. "And then it gets weird as it typically does. Cusa brings out a pocket watch and starts to move it back and forth. Then the lady running the securities eyes glaze over. Magic. Something I've seen as a palor trick in the past at a circus but never put much stock in before then." With a combo of Cusa's magic and the work order that Alvin rigged together, we managed to find our way to the basement of this place where the tunnel access is. The tension spring is still upstairs and Rowan and Cusa go up to retrieve it. I'm not sure what happened but when they came down with the thing they told us to start moving. Guess there was more trouble. Oh and Bernhard actually fixes the Bannister.

We make our way through the tunnels to the the Guildford office. It's a bit of a tight fit for everyone, especially our trollish friend Bernhard. "There is steam and heated pipes and ledges you need climbing gear to get past. It's rough and lugging behind a large spring didn't help. Honestly what was more surprising was that our path ended into a bookshelf inside the office. Crazy stuff. This must have been a storage room for forgotten bobs and bits because there is a little bit of everything. And good thing. You see I had this idea. I've heard tell of so called skeleton keys that work as 'auto picks' in more sinister circles and I've always wanted one. Hard to find but with the stuff in this room making one is possible. So I did and where it won't last forever I have a basic skeleton of the device now to improve upon later." And it worked. We made our way through the rooms and find Hannehman's office which we unlock with the cardware. Bernhard then proceeds to start using the engine terminal in this room to print out the patents and load in dummy data. "But of course nothing goes to plan." The doors lock, the engine locks us out, and the alarms begin to go off. "Well at least we had the one door to engine open when the doors locked."

Hopefully luck is still on our side.

Joined:Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Feb 27, 2022 11:50 pm

Old Cusa continues his story

So there we were, trapped in Hahnemann's office, with only the door to the engine room open and the other two doors locked. Bernhard tried again to run his deck, but reported that there was somebody else using the engine to lock him out and keep him from doing anything. Most of us went to check out the Engine room, which was jam packed tight with whiring equipment so tight that one could hardly move though it. We had to climb and crawl through to get to the main door. Meanwhile Bernhardt took the door we entered off its hinges and checked to make sure the route we entered was still clear, which at that particular moment, it was. Alvin came into the Engine room tracing the hydraulic lines from Miss Hahnemann's terminal, hoping to find the terminal controller and to physically unplug the Lovelace from the system. He found the controller easily enough, but after multiple attempts was unable to figure out how to disable the upstairs terminals while leaving the ones down where we were active. 

Rowen and I had determined that there was certainly nobody in the engine room with us, but heard movement and voices out in the hall, undoubtedly security guards from upstairs responding to the alarm. I summoned a spirit of technology and asked it to assist Bernhardt in running our deck. Suddenly a spike was driven through the door. We thought somebody might be trying to batter their way into the room, so we decided to retreat back to the office. In order to delay people I thought were trying to batter down the door I touched the spike and cast "Disperse Metal". I was hoping that the metal would disperse violently like shrapnel. all it did was destroy the pneumatic spike barring the door and cause the door to open. At the same time we heard fighting from the office where we later learned two people had entered from the east door and attacked Bernhardt just as he had finally gotten the deck to run. Rowen and I saw Alvin racing back to the office to engage those two opponents. We stepped out the door I had accidentally opened and checking some doors found two more people trying to sneak to the office using the same route we had used to get there.  We exchanged stun bolts for bullets and gave about as good as we got, but was fighting two of them, and I was already sorely wounded from the trap we had set off earlier. I knocked both of them down with separate shots, but was knocked momentarily unconscious myself by the heavy return fire. Fortunately Rowen was right there and after I went down Rowen closed the door in front of us and healed me. In the meantime Alvin and Bernhardt had convinced the two who had entered the office to retreat. Bernhardt picked up the output from his successful deck run and attempted to perform the data corruption part of the run, but found his terminal was once again locked out. He climbed over the engine to the main control console and started our last assigned task. Meanwhile Alvin came looking for the two he had heard shooting at Rowen and me and started firing at them from the opposite side. 

Things were still pretty dicey. We had mostly prevailed so far, and were one small step from completing our last task. But it could still have gone either way. 

AP 250 + 500 +500 + 200 = 1450 + journal

Joined:Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by supermooboo » Sun Mar 13, 2022 10:53 am

“It’s time for you to meet your Baker”: ~ Trademarked Alvin Baker

We were locked out. Or at least that’s what my Troll friend told me. I don’t right understand the particulars of engine programming but I do understand engines. In order for a terminal to have access to the engine the way it does there needs to be hydraulic lines connecting to some kind of controller. If Bernhard was connected via a line, then whoever was locking out must be as well. I figured I could just trace the lines and cut whatever line the other person was using at the source. “Sure enough my thoughts were right. Problem being the person who installed the lines was a fool. Honestly, what kind of bloody idiot bothers to organize their controller all neat and then doesn’t bother to label anything! I swear if I ever see the person who did that...” Needless to say, when I was able to trace the lines to the source I was unable to disable anything for fear of outright breaking the engine with a mistake. At this point whatever security alarm that was tripped from us being locked out had gotten word to the muscle of the operation and with a thump we quickly found the doors around us thrust open and enemies surrounding us.

“Some might say we were trapped. I would say it was They who were trapped.” And honestly it certainly started to feel like that after a bit of time with the Troll security guard. “There were two of them ambushing Bernhard when I made my way back into the office. I gave ‘em the ole one-two shoot and it wasn’t long before that they were retreating.” While Bernhard and myself were handily taking care of the two guards on our end, Cusa and Rowan were having a bit of difficulty with the two that had gotten the jump on them. “Say what you will about how useful magic is and the people who use it are, but I’ve found that those lot tend to go down a bit too easily sometimes. Not exactly the hardiest of folks they are. And in situations where the group gets split or ambushed it can lead to all kinds of bad situations. Best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer (and farther away from your mages) I always say.” Figuring the magic duo might be having some issues by now I circled around the back and got the drop on the two trying to attack Cusa and Rowan. “It didn’t exactly go to plan but at least their attention was on me now instead of them. I may not be able to use magic, but I can definitely take a hit (or twelve). There’s nobody who can mess with the Great Baker!”

Or at least I would hope. My luck hasn’t run out yet at least. But the day is young and this situation is far from over. Not to mention I still had the deal to handle later tonight. “Busy, and in the worst possible way.”

Joined:Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Mar 14, 2022 2:58 pm

Old Cusa continues his story. 

In the end we were victorious. Rowen and I took cover, and Rowen cast Bless upon us both, which made us feel much more confident and capable (and harder to kill). The two guards that had been chased away from Hanneman's office  via the east door entered our corridor on their way up the stairs and one of them unloaded a few shots in our general direction, one of which hit Rowen, but they did not press their attack and quickly continued up the stairs to the ground floor. The two guards trapped between Avin Baker and us tried shooting it out with Alvin but only flesh wounds were exchanged. After I was blessed by Rowen I opened the door and stunned the person guarding that door, while at the same time Alvin caught the guard that had charged at him with a solid blast that dropped him unconscious on the floor. In the meantime, Bernhardt had moved to the main engine room and successfully ran his deck from the main operators console, which the opposing Lovelace was unable to hamper. 

We were left in undisputed possession of the basement. It took about 5 minutes for the engine program to corrupt the patent data to run, and Burnheart recommended that we wait to make sure that completed successfully before leaving. I got samples of the trap that we had set off (darts, launchers, and concealment) while the others looted the unconscious bodies. I was surprised that even the Reverend Rowen participated in robbing the unconscious guards. We came away with £6 / 11s cash and a heavy carbine (w/underbarrel double barreled derringer), a medium pistol, a very nice set of Gruv goggles with some very cool accessories, a set of mechanic's goggles, and a pneumatic spike (blackthorn mace melee weapon with power assist for extra damage)

After the engine program finally completed successfully, we decamped with all of our mission objectives and our additional loot, and reentered the steam tunnels again. We followed our entry route back only until we intercepted the tunnels of the London Underground tube system where we emerged into the public areas and used the tube to travel as close to Burnditch as we could get, arriving at our boarding house after midnight. While on the tube Rowen and I distributed Heal spells liberally, and so by morning all of us had recovered from our exertions, though several of us had to buy new shirts without blood stains. 

Due to our late night, we were very late for breakfast. Though she grumbled, Mrs Aulakh served us a late breakfast (which proved she likes us, since she would have been quite within her rights to refuse service to anybody who slept through the scheduled service). She gave us a note from the Fairiday Firm that had arrived, the note said that "there have been developments" and that we should urgently attend the firm. 

At the firm, we found a very worried Miss Nesbit, who informed us that Miss Hanneman was missing! The secretary had arrived for work at her usual early hour to find the house empty. There was no obvious sign of a struggle. 

Mr Williams also introduced us to a new team member that the firm had hired. The Elf, who went by only his last name "Hastings" had short red hair, and a somewhat old suit with silk vest. He was introduced to us as a Weird Scientist. When asked about his specialty he said that he did not have one, but studied all the myriad and wonderful ways in which the universe ordered itself. Upon further acquaintance he seemed to be primarily interested in what was back then called "Natural Philosophy" and that his art manifested itself in mechanically crafted devices (as opposed to chemical or biological devices). He quickly made himself very useful to our team. 

We hurried to Hanneman's house and Miss Nesbitt was able to run off a security log from the main house engine. It showed that a telegram had been received by the auto-receiver, and that shortly thereafter the front door had been opened from the inside, and then the garden gate. The telegraphic auto-receiver was a dedicated difference engine that monitored the telegraph line and when a message for that house was detected would decrypt it and print it out on a ticker-tape system. Normally the receiver does not store the message (except on the ticker-tape - which Hanneman had removed and taken with her), but Hastings was able to take apart the auto-receiver and, and by examining its final state conditions, was able to decrypt and deduce part of the message that had been received. The message was signed by (somebody claiming to be) Hutt, and told Hanniman that he was willing to meet with her for breakfast at the "Welsh Elephant' to discuss cutting Grace out and reorganizing the partnership with just the two of them. Apparently Hanneman unwisely fell for this ruse and left the safety of her home alone and without telling anybody where she was going. 

At the Welsh Elephant we found a sign on the door saying that the place was closed due to a death in the family and would not reopen until the next day. Inquiries of the neighbors revealed that somebody had been there earlier in the day, and all the lights had been on. The back door had been broken open, and there were clear signs of a struggle in the dining area. Evidence Analysis showed that Miss Hanniman entered what must have appeared to be a normally operating establishment by the front door (which had been opened and the sign about the place being closed removed) and she was accosted by a large snark and at least two others, while at least one person stood and watched the assault. We also found a matchbook upon which somebody had used a pencil to write the address "122 Cliffield Rd, Ealing".

The day was passing rapidly, and we had gotten a late start, and needed to be back at the boarding house by 6pm in order not to be late for my welcome party. So we rented a steam coach with a driver and a stoker (back in those days you could rent such with two operators for just two pounds for half a day! I recall that the driver was a snark called Honest Howard, and the stoker was his little sister. Fortunately he knew Ealing well, and got us to Cliffside road in record time (much faster than waiting for a train would have been). We had imagined that the kidnappers would have taken her to some squalid basement in the slums. We were surprised when we arrived to find that Ealing was by far the most beautiful place that most of us had ever seen in England. It is apparently a place where high society has their weekend homes. The nicest house was billed as "Princess someone-or-others Cottage". I don't know how big the "cottage" itself was, but it was situated on a huge estate with beautiful landscaping. 122 Cliffield Rd, on the other hand, was fairly typical for that street, consisting of a large house on about an acre of land. Clearly this was not some place that we could just muscle in with impunity. 

We stopped at the nearest market and tried asking about the ownership of the house, but while we heard that the current ownership was unclear and convoluted (something about an inheritance and a bankruptcy and that for the last 8 years or so nobody had lived there except for a caretaker), nobody was willing to mention any names. I had an idea to attack the problem from a different angle, and instead of asking who owned the house, to ask specifically about the Hutt and Grace families.  I went to a totally different establishment, and said that Mr Hutt had asked me to deliver a letter to the occupant of his family house, but that I had mislaid the address. I knew it was on clifffield road in ealing, but could not remember the house number. Could they please direct me to the Hutt family house. They immediately directed me to number 122. We had confirmed that the address written on the matchbook was associated with Mr Hutt!

680 + 700 + 500 + 100 = 1980 + journal.
bought 7  karma

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