Mic fumbled with his keys and grumbled at the front door, he was late. Surprisingly he had overslept, a rare occasion, and his mad scramble to get in was mainly because today of all days was a restocking day, all his distributors would have deliveries coming in today. Of all the days to sleep in this was one of those days he didn’t need the stress it caused. He was a bit flustered when the door suddenly opened from the inside, he jumped back and put his fists up until Tony popped his head out and blinked at the bartender and owner of the Drunk Irishman that looked like he was getting ready to start jabbing. Tony jerked and looked around and waved him in.
“You’re late” Tony commented closing the door behind him.
“How did you g-“ Mic began but Tony smirked and was already shrugging on instinct denying any wrong doings.
“Delivery guys showed up while I was waiting so I told them I was there waiting for them to show up, you were running late and it’s take me a few since you only gave me a key for the front door.” Tony explained.
“You don’t have a key to the… Did you p-“ Mic began his voice raising as Tony held up a hand.
“Lady’s restroom, window. I always tell you to close it or someone’s going to sneak in through it.” Tony explained.
Mic felt a bit flustered. It wasn’t every day you get bereted on the security of your establishment by someone who broke in. Mic jerked remembering what day it was and dug a hand into his pocket and pulled his watch out. Cursing he rushed to the back door.
“Orders already delivered and put away.” Tony explained causing the owner to slow to a stop.
Mic raised an eyebrow. He figured he’d settle with the guys on their next delivery but pulling in all that merchandise in less than two hours was more surprising since it usually took Mic a good four to five before he opened up to do the task himself. Mic wasn’t a little guy either.
Tony went back behind the bar and grabbed two glasses and looked around for something particular between the bottles of alcohol. Tony looked over his shoulder at Mic pulling a purple tinted bottle out far to the back and blow dust off it.
“We need to talk. I got a few things I need to take care of before I go and I need you to do a couple for me too.” Tony explained.
Tony began to explain but he gave Mic the short version of the story.
“You’re going to England?!? To find a dead chinese guy?!?!” Mic asked his face contorted still in disbelief and confusion.
“For a bit, yes. Would you mind looking after my place.” Tony asked finally getting the bottle open and grabbed vodka and cranberry juice as well before mixing the drink in a shaker.
“Lichido?” Mic said snorting “I think that’s the same bottle since I opened… whatever you’re making it’s on the house.”Tony just nodded and fixed the drinks. Sliding one to Mic Tony looked at the clock.
“You got an hour before you open and the delivery is put away. Got time for a listen.” Tony asked.
Mic took a sip of the drink and whinced a little from the sweet tart beverage. He was more of a scotch and whiskey man himself but it was actually pretty good. Holding up the glass and eyeing it he looked at Tony.
“Red Lotus.” Tony explained before elaborating on what else he had gotten himself into and why he was leaving the country.
After getting out of the hospital with Robert we found Constantine calling Bill and filling him in so he was up to speed. I heard the definite clink of a bottle against a glass probably from most of our ‘investigation methods’ not being legal or a bit stressful for someone who played within the limits of the law. We all agreed a night’s rest was in order and we’d meet up the next morning for breakfast at a local diner.
The thing was by the time we all got there I was the first one to ask what we all assumed. We were all being followed it seemed by the grunts working for mob bosses. A car drove by slowly and at our perched window seat I commented it’d be really easy to take us all out with a tommy gun from said car next time it passed. I figured the owner of the diner after everything was said and done would appreciate us not getting his place shot up. My suggestion of using the bathroom by way of the back door through the kitchen was quickly agreed to.
A quick slip out the back was only slightly delayed by the owner when the fourth member of our group slipped back towards the kitchen. Robert put some money in the guy’s hands commenting that he was hoping he wasn’t going to need it for damages and we were in a hurry to make sure he didn’t have to use the money for that. Realization that we wanted out of his place without getting it damaged got him a little surprised but he helped usher us through the kitchen crew and out the back.
I opened the back door gently and peered around to see no one was in wait to my our left or right. No gangsters in waiting here. I asked back which way and Constantine walked past briskly looking around as he crossed the back alley. Straight was his reply as he looked around and went to a door and started to pull tools from his jacket. As the rest of us came up behind him I patted him on the back and looked around and spent a few seconds examining the lock in front of me. Sometimes you just got to get on level with your work or it can be off enough to keep you grumbling at the results. The lock clicked and I pushed through as I swung the door open briskly.
The store owner was surprised to see people coming in the back of the store to which I apologized we saw the sign and the door was open. We were in need of some new jackets and hats I explained. We were looking for something mostly different than what we currently had and the man in the back would be paying I explained. Robert jerked a bit and before he could protest I rubbed the back of my neck and muttered about a kink in the muscles. He grumbled and agreed. Constantine finding a new trench coat in a different color and style changed quickly and check out the front of the store and said it looked clear. After I had switched out my coat and hat I ducked out into the busy sidewalk and looked around. Nothing suspicious stood out as I hailed a cab and ushered everyone in. We were out on the streets of New York without a tale but needed a place to lay low for a bit. I commented on the great breakfast while we tried to figure out where the taxi driver needed to take us.
We decided we needed a smart person to figure out about the device what it really was doing. Technically we were wishing Doc hadn’t been called away but he had his own life to live and his own problems to deal with. We eventually agreed on the university to the delight of the cabbie since it meant he’d have a destination to drive to. Once at the university we suddenly realized we forgot to figure out an important part in this plan. Who were we going to see? I figure if they’re taking over people’s mind that meant talking to a head guy. Once out front of the science department Bill inquired on talking to the head of the shrinks it seemed. I decided to stay outside his office, I didn’t think it was cramped but I also didn’t really look like the knowledge seeking type. No sense making him nervous.
Talking to the man didn’t leave us much in the ways of who our mystery guy might have been in the lab coat. Bill explained a bit about the machine, which was vague but we really didn’t know that much anyway. Mentioning the machine was still working had the professor pretty excited I could tell even from outside. He agreed to swing by a place we chose so it wasn’t at the university. Bill let me know where the location was and I decided to tail the professor and the associate he was bringing just in case they weren’t on the up and up. It’d be rough if our eggheads up and got killed by gangsters before we could figure out what the doo dad was also but more so for them since they’d be dead which they probably wouldn’t like that much.
Following them seemed to not take a lot of effort and I found a place to hide once we got into the warehouse where I could still listen in. The other guest was a professor in engineering who quickly dismissed the mind control theory for the device pointing out the differences in the two masks having measurement tools for the face and the other tools it seemed to almost ‘remold’ the face. The head doctor seemed depressed and suddenly remembered something; he explained he thought he was being followed. I stumbled from my hiding spot forgetting to be stealthy and asked if he got a good look at the guy. This got a stifled yelp out of him and he pointed at me. Constantine explained I was with them and I was making sure no one else was following them, the thought of keeping myself hidden from them in the process seemed to escape me. I asked the professor about the guy in the labcoat from when we were in the warehouse where I got shot and gave the general description Bill had given him before, it didn’t fight a head doctor but what about a medical doctor or a surgeon. This connection sparked a glimmer on his formally depressed face as he made the connection and pounded a fist into a hand and exclaimed he thought he knew who it might be.
Supposedly right before WWI there was a Russian doctor who had been experimenting around with this sort of thing but he had been disbarred for his methods which were deemed cruel and unusual. Nothing really was heard about him for some time so most figured he turned into a drunk or committed suicide. Jevenavich or something like that but with a name we had a lead again. We explained to the professors after thanking them that talking about this with anyone had a good chance of gangster showing up and killing them. Bill added matters of national security since this would put the nation in jeopardy possibly if this ‘face snatching’ machine was used on high ranking government officials or politicians. Although a bit paled with the realization of the knowledge they now had could get them killed they agreed. I offered the number to the Drunk Irishman if they were in a jam and to ask for me but Bill figured giving them his card with his number on it would work a little better.
We split up with Constantine and Robert going to Little Moscow while Bill went back to see what he could find on file about this guy, I tagged along with Bill. Constantine and Robert found a few people that had the last name but they had never heard of the guy we were looking for. While Bill put in requests for research I got myself situated with a map of the area close to the warehouse and a phone book and began asking people about the man with a general description with the con of having his wallet and wanting to return it. Bill and I were a bust on our leads as well. Bill sighing asked if I wanted a cup of Joe and I nodded looking at the percolator.
I stood up and grinned ear to ear. I exclaimed that that was it and I knew how to track down the guy possibly. Bill raised an eyebrow wondering how we’d find the guy using coffee. I shook my head no and pointing at the machine. If you have a machine, you have parts, and those parts are made by people considering the size of some of those parts to the broken face snatching machine only a few places could make them in a hurry so I started calling around talking to unionized machine workers to see if anyone placed a rush order for some big parts. Knowing a guy who knows a guy who did the job got me an address to where it was delivered. Slapping the piece of paper and smiling at Bill I explained that I had just found their new secret evil hideout. I asked if we could go blow it up which did get a smirk but a quick no afterwards. At least he thought about it. Bill went to see if he could get backup while I checked in with the other two to let them know what we were up to. Bill was through yelling and ranting it seemed having gotten into an argument with someone in the private office they were in they had been yelling back as well but now the uproar had died down. It’s when Bill quieted down and went over to the guy whispering something I couldn’t hear from outside the office that made the man turn bright red next thing I knew Bill had gotten four junior agents assigned to assist him in his investigation.
With the four of us in one car, the other agents in their own car we drove out to the warehouse and drove by the place just after dusk to check it out. A small one story warehouse nudged into the gap between a few 2 story warehouses meant there was only one way out onto the street, granted it also meant they needed less guards on the two doors it seemed. Bill gave the agents orders to approach from the front if they heard gunfire and to block the exit for the two cars in the parking lot. With that he turned around to find me opening a door to the building next to the warehouse we were going to investigate. In a harsh whisper he asked if the door had been locked to which I replied ‘sortof’. In an exhausted whisper he explained we were commandeering the roof not the whole warehouse. We ended up taking the fire escape up to the roof but not before I looked to make sure the warehouse didn’t store beer like Constantine suggested it might. No such luck.
I scouted ahead and crawled across the roof in the pitch black and noticed there wasn’t much to the roof below. There was a skylight and that was about it really. We could see two guards from the street front on the doors still and I explained that I needed some rope to get closer. Bill supplied the rope and I scuttled down and crawled across the roof to the skylight and looked in. I was happy I found them but at the same time it put a sour taste in my mouth. The Russian guy was there too and I shimmied backwards away from the window and rolled over from being on my belly to being on my back. I motioned that the lady and the Russian with the eye piece was here and after a while I gave up. I came back up to the 2nd story roof and motioned everything out as I talked just in case they didn’t understand me. We tried to figure out a plan I knew time was not with us since the Scorpion Lady was leaving and the Russian was ‘putting the plan into action’ as she put it. I suggested we just split into two groups, one to take down the scorpion lady as she left and the other to grab the Russian. Everyone shimmied down the rope and I unhooked it so they could use it to get down through the skylight. Robert moved to the west side of the roof and waited eyeing the guard. I waited three stories up aiming at the guard out front. I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to what and how Constantine and Bill were doing at their entrance until I heard a shotgun go off and the sound of glass shattering. Things definitely weren’t going smoothly and I took a shot at the guy out front as soon as I could from the roof. Shaken he watched as a car pulled up and several guys toting Tommy guns told him they were federal agents and to freeze. Obviously he took off running away.
From what the others told me Bill ended up killing the Russian and a Chinese worker who tried to kill him with a hatchet. Robert had taken down two of the workers as well and had gone after the Scorpion Lady until one of the FBI agents shot him from behind. Constantine ended up having to take out the agent so he could get a shot at the Scorpion Lady before she killed Robert. The ambulance came soon afterwards and took Robert to the Hospital.
Bill got into a bit more of an argument back at the office but for the most part he thought his actions were justified. I suggested a night sleep and meeting up at a news stand before heading to the university. He had gotten some notes in Chinese and since we really didn’t know the language we figured a professor in the language might be the person to talk to. We touched base with the engineering professor to see if he could make heads or tails of the parts we found and how the whole process worked. He’d have to go inspect the parts under FBI supervision but I figure he didn’t mind considering how excited he was to see what might be there. While the translating and investigation into the part was scheduled we looked into who owned all the vehicles that were at the warehouse. They were all owned by the same person and by the area of town that was the home address we figured the late Ms. Scorpion Lady wouldn’t mind that much if we checked out her apartment. It was ransacked it seemed and talking to her neighbor didn’t really get me anything else I didn’t know. I had need of a Chinese translator and having him talk to the professor got me a little on the notes and a slight lecture on not to hold a gun on a Chinese immigrant to get information out of him. When we got back I donated the shrine we had found to the professor information on the Fo Sun Dynasty Emperor he had found mostly seemed fairtalish or just folklore by most of the mystical things in it. We did our own investigation into the mystical side of things since taking someone’s face off and copying it was possible there seemed like there might be a chance. We found it, a link in the form of an explorer who might be going to the tomb of the Red Emperor as some referred to him, such as mobsters in New York, others would call him the Fo Sun Dynasty Emperor who has lived for several thousands of years. We made arrangements to go meet the man and possible get hired on as part of his expedition.
Mic leaned back, during the story he hadn’t notice how many of the drinks Tony had had and he sighed a bit and nodded since the bar around Tony was littered with them. He was not drunk but he realized Tony had some things on his mind and he stood up and extended a hand to Mic. Tony shook his hand and left silently.
Mic looked back and noticed a letter under Tony’s key’s that was left behind as well. It was addressed to Lowrance and Erita DuBois, Tony’s late wife’s parents. As the door closed Mic whistled. When Tony meant he had to took care of things before he left the country Mic figured he meant just in case he didn’t come back.
XP Awarded 2 & 2