Otters aka Roadkill
Tabasco aka Cholula
While the crew is running errands for Biyu, Cholula organizes the new gang coop to strike/eliminate the 696 Slayers, who everyone has some degree of beef with, and who seem to be a growing threat to Motor City with their nihilistic embrace of violence, cannibalism, and a growing cult-like adoration of Gorechuk Bloodripper, who also problematically is still magically in a twisted sort of love with Chew Gum. Luckily Cholula is better at strategizing than talking, and comes up with a plan good enough that all members of the coop throw is some means of support, and the mission is mostly successful. The 696’s are wiped out, their current captives freed, their turf reclaimed. BUT- Bloodrippers escapes, screaming out a vow of vengeance on all who oppose him, and Cholula specifically.
With that problem dealt with, for now, Cholula returns the safehouse for a well-earned rest and links up with the rest of the crew before they head back down to the Old Dominion bank Downtown to talk their way in on behalf of Peregrine. They spend some time planning, and decide their best move is to invite the Cutters to join the gang coop, and spend some time getting couriers from the Keepers to deliver a dossier The Detective compiles on the proposal to all the members.
They have a radio call, and find that the different factions all have some different ideas of how voting, decision making etc should work. Some of the more classic gangs have sent a higher up to make the decisions for them, while other newer cooperative orgs have sent elected delegates with pre-approved limits etc. The team gets everyone to agree to assign Ronnie’s Raiders the task of coming up with some proposals for internal governance, which the group (primarily college students and teachers) eagerly agrees to.
For now, they get everyone on board with inviting the Cutters, though it also raises the question of what will become of the coop once the Blackout ends (if the world outside survived), as the Cutters will be the dominant faction locally, and have better international connections than any other member group outside of the Ancients. This is tabled for the time, as a “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” problem. The team compiles their proposal for the Cutters knowing what little they know about their local situation leadership, mostly based on an interaction Cholula had during Latvian Gambit.
Once Downtown, they talk their way into the well-fortified bank, finding that even though ARES cut the Cutters loose, they managed to hang onto a lot of heavy armament. After a comically bureaucratic process, they finally get through to Ripper, the local leader. She remembers Cholula, though seems surprised at his updated appearance and change of moniker. Using this friendly lead-in, The Detective makes the deal, though Ripper proves a canny negotiator and TD has to contact Peregrine to confirm a few changes to the proposal.
After all that’s done, they chat a bit and head out, and then get very stressed out when Dig suggests that Peregrine could be a Null Sect member, especially since he’s suspiciously new to town and they haven’t interacted in person. However, they quickly find a friendly dwarf walking in and introducing himself, still using the unidentifiable pan-Euro accent that made Dig initially suspicious. He pulls a power move of getting patted down and then passing over a wicked looking concealed blade that the security missed.
He converses briefly with the team, and then says he has to get to work taking a local census, addressing needs, and taking a look at the vault downstairs that he’s so eager to get to. Ripper had said they hadn’t had any luck gaining access yet. Almost as an afterthought, Peregrine manually lock picks his way into the 7 Sisters message drop, and Otters leaves a note for Astrid Case with their radio code. Taking a look at the astral situation around the bank once they leave, they notice that it seems likely some old leylines converge underneath it, though they can’t get a good feel for their initial aspect or for what might be at their crossing, as earth and/or other magical barriers prevent it.
Following up on a tip from Ripper, they go examine the nearby site of a blood magic sacrifice one of her scouts found. They ID the victim as likely being one of the Jaguar Guards in town with the AZT mage Cehaulli, and get some intel on the crime itself- a prolonged and painful ritual bleeding resulting in sacrifice to power the caster. CG also gets an image of his face using the Mortis Optigram- an Aztlaner man with a face repeatedly tattooed over and over such that none of the individual designs are decipherable. They call it in to Cehualli on the van radio.
He and The Detective chat a bit, and he reveals he had already found and investigated the site, and confirms that it is the work of the serial killer they are hunting, who he says is a Path of the Sun extremist heretic. TD still doesn’t like Cehualli overall, but he seems to appreciate them reaching out and views it as an expansion of their relationship, so he shares some further info, in case the team can track down the killer. They decide not to pursue it for now, but to keep their eyes open.
Back in the van, they get a call from Astrid Case, responding to Otters’ note. After she strongarms them a bit, she gives into their threat to reveal her involvement in the planning runup to the Blackouts, as she says whoever was paying her retainer before missed the most recent payment. In agreement to keep her name out of it, she tells them she was paid a lot of money for about 6 months of prep work, via a shell company she didn’t bother to try to track beyond the Carib League. She did pick ups and drop offs from an office Downtown, near the Senator hotel, but only ever directly interacted with drones or Camden Espinoze.
She gives them the address, but tells them the property was rented by the same shell company that paid her so they likely won’t get much from that. They head over to investigate, and find the office burned out in an intentional arson. Examining the setup, it was obviously rigged to burn professionally, and probably had been set up to go up at a moment’s notice while it was operational. It looks like the office was run exclusively by drones (which are totally slagged), and it seems like office sounds were broadcast over speakers while standees and cardboard furniture would give the impression of a bustling space behind the privacy frosted windows and doors.
Based on their investigation, they determine that this must have been the work of the Null Sect- who else could run this level of scheme, with this result, using only drones, with this kind of funding? It feels like solid inference, even though they lack direct proof. They head back to Biyu’s, and get paid for their investigation, as well as for the assassination. She also cooks them up a nice dinner as usual. She seems at least semi-aware of the Null Sect, and warns them against saying too much about them over comms, even in the Blackout, but compliments them on a job well-done.
They rest up again at the safehouse, and wake to some distressing news: Neverland Candy Shoppe has been torched, with no known survivors. They head down there to see if they can help, and find Lunatech and Smoach looking pissed, but unable to even search for survivors given the ongoing extreme heat of the shell of the collapsed building. Dig summons a water spirit, and Creep uses it to get inside, where they find a torched and melted body pile near the center of the blaze, bearing marks of archaic weaponry. They deduce that this was the work of the Order of St. George, and decide to put an end to them.
They say they will track them to their base, while Smoach and Lunatech round up their crew to support the assault. Dig, as a wolf, starts tracking, and then CG uses one of his spirit powers to make him considerably faster so that wolf Dig can easily pace the van. Cholula also tracks on foot but falls far behind. They find the OOSG fortress, a barricaded riverfront warehouse, with ease, but come under bombardment while parked outside discussing what to do.
Otters manages to dodge the flaming ballista bolts, and they retreat, finding a rendezvous point with the Windsor/Belle Isle crew. With roughly even numbers contributed by both groups, they plan an assault using bounding overwatch, with about an even split between the close quarters and ranged teams. Otters parks her body in the van, to use the HMG for covering fire while sneaking a cloaked Mule in alongside the CQC team.
Cholula gets shot at again while doing some recon, and thus confirms that the OOSG has at least some members who can see and target astrally, which also explains how they made the van so easily. This complicates things a bit, but just furthers the argument to hit them fast and hard. Everyone loads up, tightens the straps on their armor, and gets ready to charge…..