New Wave Requiem

Operational Assessment #9: The Cost of Doing Business
Rai Sarosh

The dominoes are falling, and not in a way that I’d anticipated. Losing assets is part of the game, but this time there’s no one else to clean up the mess. I’m going to have to do it, and I’m dreading the idea of taking Jimmy’s life. He’s been an increasingly useful asset, and he has an almost canine sense of obedience, fascination and loyalty. Assets I’ve had to retire in the past, they were anything but these things. They often deserved what they got, they were little better than the animals they were betraying. I’m not sure where this sentimentality is coming from, but it’s impairing my operational effectiveness. I can’t help but fear that as I continue down this path I get farther and farther away from being human. From being able to even pass as human, as though I’m forgetting what it ever felt like. I don’t know what’s so damned special about it, really, I’ve seen human being commit unspeakable acts upon one another. I just can’t shake this sense of dread. Maybe it’s being stateside again, among people that I can relate to as more than just pawns to be leveraged against evil people with evil intent. Maybe it’s that I don’t feel so alien among them. There’s no away around this, not with Jimmy. If I had any faith that I could put him on a plane to Mexico and have him disappear amongst the natives, it’d be a different story. Jimmy’s slow, he’s not that resourceful, and as raptly fascinated as he is with my condition I’m sure he’d begin to seek out others. I don’t feel wholly responsible for ruining his life, as part of the Westies he’s be spending the rest of his life in prison. Evelysse, that’s an even harder decision. She’s not necessarily part of it, she may be able to escape the prosecutions since sh’e not part of the gangs. She adores me, I wish I could believe it had to do with anything more than the spell my condition puts her under and the ecstasy of the kiss. It might, but one of the horrid realities of our situation is that I’ll never know. I’ve received permission from Salvatore, it’s an option. I could hide her, or fake her death, or hope that she’s not named in any of the indictments. I can’t afford these attachments, but sometimes it seems they’re the only thing that keeps me connected to what’s left of what was human inside of me. Kat felt the same way, about her lost “property.” I can’t help but notice that the way she talked about it seemed much like a dog lamenting the loss of a subordinate mate. I suppose that’s how her kind processes things, not much of a surprise considering the clan her line’s descended from. Difficult decisions that have to be made in short order, regardless of sentimental sway.

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This is now war

The time I feared has finally come. We have become beset on all sides, and like a cornered animal, we are snarling back and lashing out.

The doctor, the kitten, and the spook all are seeing their assets go down in flames. One of the kitten’s toys ran off and squealed to the feds, bringing all their illegal houses of cards down around their little heads. I know the spook is speaking of turning one of his assets. I do not know the others. I find it interesting how cavalier they are about bringing another one into the fold. I don’t think they quite understand the gravity of that decision, or the consequences that will result. With more mouths to field, our hunting will become more…limited. I doubt the inconvenience to the rest of us even enters their calculations.

The spider monstrosity has come and gone, but I believe the time has arrived for action to be taken. This abomination must not be allowed to exist.

As for my own personal matter…I’ve found a den of Carthians. I was looking for them to evaluate their worthiness and goals. What I found was some insurrectionist propaganda and a den of slavery…things. Not quite turned, not quite sane. If this is their tactic, I cannot condone their lot.

My coterie is degenerating at a rapid rate. The amount of enemies are rising. London is sounding appealing.

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The Itsy Bitsy Spider

We finally got to meet with the Fat Man. Nice enough fellow, for a guy who liquefies people’s organs and drinks them while they’re alive and aware, and replaces people’s brains with spiders. The weird part is that he’s religious. I’m guessing it’s a South American thing. I can picture a jungle-dwellers in a hut worshiping a guy like that. Of course, I can picture the same folks worshiping a wind-up cymbal-playing money. Whatever he really is, he doesn’t seem to be a threat to us unless we attack him first. And just like with the cats, a couple of my fellow Vassals jumped straight to the “let’s blow up the building” nonsense. Seems like they get their panties all bunched up every time some new critter proves that we aren’t the only murderous predator in the room. That kind of thinking is going to cause us trouble.

So, we managed to work out a pretty sweet deal. In exchange for not attempting to destroy him, we get money, invitations to his monthly gambling den, and one live human of our choice gets turned into a fleshy husk. And I get to keep it! They’re odd, these husk-bodies, but way more interesting-looking that I would have ever thought possible. It’s fascinating how the skin reacts when you remove almost all of its contents, like a grape with the pulp sucked out. I love playing with the folds of flesh, feeling the partially dissolved dermis squishing and sliding between my fingers, and feeling that cool empty skin draped against mine. I’m up to three guests now, an older Italian man like me, and the two husks. I let the full-sized corpse sit on the couch, holding a glass, while the husks lay together next to him. He stares forward, seemingly unable to bring himself to look at his couch-mates. I talk to him. I try to be reassuring, but it brings him no comfort. He just doesn’t appreciate the husks like I do.

Dr. Vitale

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"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the Spider to the Fly
Katherine Wick
“Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy; The way into my parlor is up a winding stair, And I have many curious things to show you when you are there." “Oh no, no,” said the Fly, "to ask me is in vain; For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again."

The spider is plump and hungry, but willing to stick to his web without troubling the wolves. Seems fair, he’s not one of us after all. If I were to get bent out of shape for every death in Hell’s kitchen, I wouldn’t get a days sleep ever.

“He’s old, and strange, but willing to change, his tastes are unrefined.
The spider eats but once a month, and won’t trouble us for the time.”

The two of hearts is ours to do with what we please as long as the recipient ends up in Mr. G’s back room. I have no problems with this, and neither does the preacher and the old man. But will they be able to live with themselves knowing that they have pulled off the fly’s wings and placed is deep within the center of the web ? I guess the church has no problem with sentencing someone to death as long as they get to play judge and jury.

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Sins and Sinners

Well, we have met with Mr G, and found out some various items. First, he is not a vampire. Second, his gambling den appears to be mystically transported. Third, he may be a spider spirit. Fourth, he requires his victims to be cognizant of their situation as he devours them. Fifth, the 2 of hearts is the dinner card.

Armed with such information, a deal was struck, albeit reluctantly: for 5% of his bottom line, and us choosing the 2 of hearts, Mr G can continue to operate his den of vice. I was reluctant to give him that much, but sometimes one must bend. At least now, a proper victim can be offered instead of a random event.

This weighed heavily on my soul, but I have come to terms with it. Rai and Juan, I do not know, but would wager this would take its toll on their soul. Kat and Vitale, on the other hand, have absolutely no qualms with this arrangement. This disturbs me that they are so divorced from their humanity that they would casually stoop to this level; however, what disturbs me even more is their willingness to have another predator camp and feed in the territory. The lion does not suffer the tiger to exist in his domain. Either this territory is ours, and our rules are inviolate, or it is not. Alas, they are young. Give them another 20 years, and they will learn.

If I still cared over much about such earthly matters, I would place this domain under my thumb and run it proper as a Lord of the First Estate. Sometimes the thought crosses my mind, but I am reminded daily by looking at Kat and Vitale what the price on my soul would be. No thank you.

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Operational Assessment #8: Sleeping Dogs

It seems that a lot of the Operatives in town that had kept their ambitions private before tonight showed their hands. The Lancea Sanctum’s leadership has changed, and the linchpin that gave way was one of the Family’s own. I’ve seen many a smooth operator compromise themselves when they got a little too nervous, but I think Monica just signed off on her own death warrant. Rumor has it that the Family takes their time with traitors and that they ship them home for the long kiss goodnight. It seems that Dorian showed more ambition than he had pull, and the rest of my team is getting nervous about what his next move might be. There have even been proposals to uproot, to head towards a weaker Regent’s territory. Giving up the assets I’ve managed to acquire in favor of a fresh start in what’s sure to be a hot zone isn’t my idea of a fair trade. We’ve had a chance to check out each of Dorian’s vassals and I’m confident that if we go to war with them we can win. We just have to make sure that once the first punch is thrown we move surgically to divide and eliminate his Operatives. It will be tricky, but I’ve already started assessing scenarios that will give us the tactical advantage. That is, assuming that we aren’t swept away in a single well-planned advance.

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Career opportunities
Katherine Wick

I hear whispers of back room deals between the coterie. Two for the church, two for the Tower. All four riding the waves left behind by the political shit storm that blew through town a few nights ago. I honestly don’t think the Doctor cares, he’s shown to be a man of some principle. He’d rather deal with the real problems this city faces rather than vie for attention. I feel like I can trust him to at least keep a secret and to be ambivalent if necessary. The Preacher seems…calmer. I don’t know if I like it, a dog gets calmer right before it goes rabid. The Old Man is still sucking his thumb around his sire. I hear his daddy is the new bishop, I’m sure he had nothing to do with it.
The soldier is making a move for position within the first estate, though with all the chaos I doubt he’ll find a station beyond the one he’s got now. No one wants to pay more for less when they have grunts by the dozen throughout the Invictus.

The circle has welcomed me into their arms, I doubt this is good for my standing in the city, but I don’t give a shit. They have what I need right now, and that’s a means to keep me from listlessness. I hope the old hag shows me some sort of path to take, I’m fed up with the cities flaccid little games. I’ll drink the cool-aid for the moment, its thick, red, and salty enough to keep me excited for the time being. I will say this about the acolytes too, they certainly know how to throw a party.

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Games People Play

Apparently Dorian doesn’t know much about the Family. But after tonight, maybe I don’t either.

At the most formal “informal meeting” I’ve ever attended, Dorian presumed to enlist my support in taking Vincenzo’s domain for himself. He’d previously told me he was planning on moving from Lower Manhattan, handing his Regency to me. That’s a lot of power for someone of my age and status, and very tempting. But I won’t be party to attacks on fellow Sangiovanni, even with the Regency of Lower Manhattan dangled before me. I tried to play my hand as well as possible, attempting to deflect Dorian’s incursion away from Family domain, while dealing as little damage to my relationship with Dorian as possible.

I’m pleased that I was able to have a voice in the meeting, and that I’ve so far managed to help repel this attack on the Family’s holdings. This is exactly why I thought we should have someone in the Invictus, and it leads me to think we should move toward keeping a foot in each of the Covenants’ doors.

The Family sticks together. This is what we do. You attack one of us and you face all of us, right? Well, apparently that’s not how Monica sees it. At a Lance meeting across town, she cast her lot in with the non-family coup against Vincenzo, which cost him his bishop’s hat. Thanks in part to Monica, we no longer control the Lance. Add let’s not forget that she seems to have freed the Lance-traitor, Pope. She’s fast on her way to finding herself staked in a Venice-bound shipping crate. Depending on how we decide to deal with Monica, we might just have an open Regency for Dorian after all.

Dr. Vitale

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Opening Salvo

Tonight might be viewed as the night that the Spear and Chapel were reborn. After endless nights of pushing, Edmund finally organized a coup against the decrepit core of Sangiovanni that were dragging down the Lance. I find it humorous that Edmund thought I had no ambition, where he would have languished with the Sangiovanni Bishop until I pushed him. Ironic.

The evening with the Sangiovanni went better than anticipated. Our corp of non-Sangiovanni Kindred met with the Bishop and his extended family. Simon Enfield cut a deal with Edmund to be the forerunner, but after rounds of negotiation, both Simon and Vincenzio were beaten…and then treachery struck. Monica Sangiovanni turned on her family, striking at the Bishop and calling attention to his failings regarding Raphael Pope. It was that event that allowed Edmund to swoop in and claim the mantle. After the main item on the agenda was accomplished, the secondary goal of dealing with Raphael Pope was decided: both faction want him dead. Permanently this time. It is the Templar’s personal crusade.

The First Estate seemed to be more out of sorts than the Second Estate. It was flirting with wanton abuse of power, striping loyal subjects of their holdings out of misplaced fear…driven by greed. Dorian Masters has shown his true face. For all his power, he is weak. Unworthy of being a true regent. His land and domain gets blighted, and he attempts to run and hide and obtain a new domain…where his sins would follow. I had high regard for Dorian. I do not have it any longer.

Amongst the coterie, some things have changed. Juan seems more lucid…which terrifies me. Germany was passive until it unleashed hell not once but twice upon the world. I fear Juan’s moment of calm may just be a taste of peace before the pain. Vitale has shown family loyalty to the extreme…making him a liability. We now know how far he can be trusted, and sadly, it is not very far. I fear the depths he will plunge to attempt to “avenge” his family. Kat is, well, Kat. She’s being more mysterious than normal, not making any overt threats of castration, disembowelment, or chest thumping. She may be up to something, but as long as it does not involve me, I care not. If what she is doing brings her peace, so be it. Rai, on the other hand, seems to acknowledge the benefit of the long-standing relationship between Succubi and Lord. I am far his elder, but strangely, neither of us care to lead. I am content to remain in the spiritual realm and focus on keeping the Spear and Chapel in NYC, the city of godless pagans and sodomists. Rai seems intent on making a name for himself as a fixer and breaker, not policy maker. Together, we just might go far.

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Operational Assessment #7: Weakness Within

Recent experiences are forcing me to reexamine the Operators within my unit. I’m noting greater instability in the Haunt, in some of the most compromising situations. The rest of the unit has been able to observe the behaviors. Their conclusion is the same as my own – it’s persistent, it’s escalating and it’s dangerous. I’ll observe him carefully in the coming nights and determine whether or not he can be made operationally effective. The Beast seems to be losing ground in her own fight for sanity. Her behavior seems less controlled, more aggressive, more instinctual. It’s something difficult to put into words – there was a particular moment in which I saw it, and that moment’s lingering. The good Doctor seems to have hit a plateau. How close to rock bottom that plateau is I can’t tell. The only Operator I’m unconcerned about presently is the Lord. While distant, it seems convincingly human. I’m forced to question what kind of effect extended constant contact will have on me. Can’t have this turning out like Bagram.

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