New Wave Requiem

Bring me the head of the preacher man
Katherine Wick

New York is full of all types, addicts, victims, fanatics, sycophants, beasts, and monarchs. Each have their own little special place. Some float down the gutters into irrelevance while others rise to the top to lord over the others from their dark towers. The first estate, with all its gleaming, choses to write edicts, but cares nothing for what actually stirs beneath the floor boards of their great house. The second estate on the other hand, pretends to care while all the time seeming to overlook the obvious creaking in the floor boards. The spear has some explaining to do and I’m sure that the brass upstairs won’t be happy to hear that one of their very own tried to destroy the Gomorrah they claimed Manhattan island has turned into. Again, we are faced with a dying crop, the doctor says that most of the infected have about six months before the end and if the virus keeps spreading unchecked, we are going to be nose deep in rotten fruit.
At least we have the satisfaction of seeing the blood spilled from the plague-dogs that have been troubling our city, but I’m afraid the damage is done. If not too our stock, more so to the ones we love. I never thought of loss in almost six years now. I was forced to turn my back on my mortal life, but some of us encompass ourselves with it to anchor our memory in what we once were. Dorian Masters will have to face what I will probably never have to know, and thats the loss of several of his closest. With only six months, he has decisions to make and realities to face in the upcoming days. I can only assume that the humane thing to do would be to ghoul or turn his herd, but with such numbers, it would be difficult.
There is sickness all around, even some of our own are spiraling down into chaos, with the preacher showing more and more signs of madness he may be a liability too. With the last little outburst I see now that if things get worse, I may have to face the same realities as Dorian; stop the spread of a disease that may eventually effect us all.

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(Don't Fear) The Reaper

When Alphonse embraced me and explained the basics of this new world, I was certain that I had descended into a very clever and insidious corner of Hell. My sins ruined what should have been a wonderful life, helping people live happier and longer lives, while earning a lifestyle worth sharing with as many beautiful children as God would grant me. If only a comfortable lifestyle were all I shared with the children in my care. But then that first victim came forward, I lost my licence and my family—well—my wife and kids anyway. Then I lost my freedom. Then the other inmates found out why I was there, and I was only able to prolong the inevitable for so long. I felt the first few stabs before I went into psychological shock.

If there is any medical proof for God’s mercy at work in our world, it is the ways the brain anesthetizes his children from extreme stress. My victims forgot much of what I did to them, and in my final moments I was spared the pain of my final cuts. And then I passed on to a new and more horrifying prison, a world of Damned, playing cruel and horrid games while we watch gleefully as our world crumbles, our hapless victims spared the terrible truth.

But, and maybe this is the genius of it all, Damnation isn’t so bad so far. Actually, things are going really exceptionally well. I’m an immortal doctor in a land of disease that needs treating: a pig in shit. And it’s a really scary disease too, let me tell you; 100% mortality rate, unknown vectors, the best doctors in the world scratching their heads! It really couldn’t be worse, and more and more, the Damned are realizing that they need my skills. Already I’m racking up so much political capital by meeting the needs of the rightfully frightened Damned, that I need to be careful not to get carried away. Once this all dies down, I could be the weak kid who somehow wound up with fistfuls of lunch money, and this time there will be no psychological shock to save me; I’m far from God’s mercy.

I know this thing’s all going to end badly. But as long as I’ve got an eternity of tooth-gnashing and wailing ahead of me, I might as well make the most of this blink of an eye. I just need to make sure I don’t do anything to bring that whole tooth-gnashing part crashing down any sooner. And oh, the many ways that could happen! I’ve seen how quickly and silently a Strix kills as many as it likes. I’ve seen what happens when two more powerful versions of me get between Dorian Masters and his food. And I can only imagine the bedlam if 4H takes a big chunk out of the kine. But I’ve gotta say, it’s pretty thrilling to walk hand in hand with the reaper, and it pays well.

Dr. Vitale

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Operational Assessment #6: A Social Disease

Started to leverage the Organization and Family angles. The family has been beneficial, a few pieces of information have found their way to me that could be beneficial in the effort to improve standing in the city. One such piece allowed the Unit to propagate information about cleansing our kind of diseases to protect the civilians. Pursuing the piece of information led us to a Director-level Operator. This Operator was experiencing problems with finding sustenance. In the course of a few nights, the Unit was able to confirm that he had good reason to be concerned. We screened every Operator within the Director’s AoR and identified a number of infections, many serious. Over the course of this operation the Doctor also identified evidence of food tampering on part of an unknown agent. We suspect the agent to be another Operator, one with a vested interest in crippling the capabilities of the Director. There is the potential that this agent is a member of the direct competition of my own Organization. Of potentially related interest, our domain was violated by an especially obese Operator. His method of feeding is conspicuous, vicious and left us with a particularly disturbing mess to clean up. He, or a fellow Operator, also possesses a unique talent that clears an area of all trace, even those that the Doctor could pick up on. I have continued to expand my power with the Ricans and with other elements of the illicit sort.

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Shake the disease
Katherine Wick

The gutters will run red soon and the worms down below will gorge themselves with the run off. Someone has shit right on a regent’s plate and he’s sworn murder on whoever has done it. Within a days time someone or something has infected Dorian Masters’ entire herd with the 4H virus. This smells like the first volley of an all out war from the looks of it. The other vassals and I think this may be the work of a Carthian cell bent on destabilizing the Invictus by cutting off their food supply. Whatever it is, its not right and I hope the fuckers get the stake for it. We’ve worked out a deal to purge the virus from Masters and his subordinates but if this is spreading by someone’s forceful hand then none of us should consider ourselves safe.

More weird shit is afoot; a recent body dump has risen questions about some of the local scum working in the Kitchen. A young girl, early twenties, drained of all bodily fluids by a certain Mr. G who runs a local gambling den frequented by the westies. Our decree which forbid other kindred to hunt within our domain means that corpulent asshole and I have some words to share. Too bad the next gambling night is in a month and we’ve got no leads on where he moves to on the off nights when Hell’s Kitchen is not on his list. I’ve never seen a vampire feed like this, since when do we need more than just blood? Even the acolyte witch doesn’t seem to have any answers, all she was able to dig up was that this has been happening for at least three years now.

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Is There Something I Should Know

I’m pleased to report that my 4H test and removal procedure is catching on among the Damned. The Regent over the neighborhoods with the highest-risk Kine has enlisted my services to test him, his herd, and all of his Vassals. This is a great step toward mitigating the danger of what could very well grow into a horrid plague of biblical proportions. While the virus itself is harmless to us, our Kiss serves as one of its unknown number of vectors, and its mortality rate in humans approaches 100%. Most victims die within six months. I have no evidence to support this theory, by my instinct suggests we may eventually find a supernatural origin for this disease, especially given that it tends to target victims of low moral fiber.

As an added bonus, having just used Cattiveria on every known Damned in Dorian’s Regency, I now also know their real names and embrace dates. It tickles me how pretentious some of us are. Dorian Masters, really? Who’d be haughty enough to call himself that? Ryan Dobbs, as it turns out. The one that really gets under my skin is “Rabies”. Gag me! I guess “Tony McGowan” just didn’t sound hard-core enough for him. Maybe I should make up some super excellent comic book name for myself, like Dr. Swiftblade. Ha!

But it does occur to me as I gather all of this personal information, that I need to be more careful about with whom I share these tidbits. If the other Vassals know what information Cattiveria is telling me about them when I do my “4H test”, they might feel threatened by what I’ve learned about them. Eventually, I’ll be able to disappear and read people’s minds. I’ll know Haven locations, what people do when they think they’re alone, and any other skeletons they’ve got stuffed away. We Shadows can’t help but know a lot of dangerous information. And I need to think more about which of my own secrets I’m casually handing out. I joke about changing my name, but now that I think of it, there is a certain value in not using the name of a guy who looks exactly like me, who recently died in prison. Especially when he’s survived by a mortal mother, ex-wife, daughter, and son. At least the wife and kids are now using mom’s maiden name, so that helps a little. Oh well; too late now. Maybe if I take an extended nap or relocate.

Dr. Vitale

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Maneater

Now we know what killed the previous Vassals, and given what it was, we will likely never know what prompted it to kill them, and we’re largely helpless if it decides to come for us. So, we’re little more secure than had we just shrugged our shoulders and said “whatever, free turf is free turf.”

Our mysterious killer turns out to be a Strix, some ancient vampire-like entity whose bloodline dates back to Rome, and the reason Rome eventually had no Damned, and many ashes. It seems to have little need for a physical form, but is thought to manifest as an owl when it’s not possessing Damned, Drinkers or Kine. The one useful fact we learned is that the victim’s eyes take on the appearance of owl eyes while possessed, so that’s something to look for. But how useful is it for a field mouse to know be able to identify an owl? Once it sees one, it’s far too late. Yet another reason I need to learn how to disappear.

On the optimistic side, the investigation was an opportunity for me to showcase my talents and prove my usefulness to my fellow Vassals. Not that I have much of a reason not to trust them, but we are what we are. As it stands, I don’t bring much to a fight. They are four more very good reasons I need to shift my focus away from the Hidden Arts and toward actual hiding.

But all things considered, we’re in a pretty good situation. We Vassals get along well enough, and we’ve proven our ability to overcome challenges as a group. We’ve had some minor incidents of toe-stepping with out private activities, but nothing we couldn’t talk through and resolve peaceably. So, as long as the Strix doesn’t decide to ash us all, we should have a prosperous future.

Dr. Vitale

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Operational Assessment #3: Emerging Threats

There is more activity going on within our operational area than my initial assessment indicated. We have been following leads on the elimination of the previous Operators within our OA. Current indications are inconclusive. There is the potential that the target of the investigation is an Operator with abilities uncommon to our kind. There is also the disturbing possibility that it is not. Operating during the day, through multiple vessels and despite the destruction of a number of these vessels, is a point of concern. We are seeking additional information in regard to the abilities and historical references. The doctor was able to find one or two mentions of precedents, potentially related, at two points in history. An emerging threat that the rest of the Unit is underestimating, except D, is a pack of highly intelligent enhanced cats. These entities, functioning collectively, are as great a threat as any moderately experienced Operator. I am preparing to deal with this threat, though I’ll have to enlist the help of D and potentially additional resources.

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Operational Assessment #5: Going Native

I made contact with the Puerto Ricans. The night spent observing from a distance combined with the timing paid off. I engaged in conversation with a number of patrons and, by the third night, gang members. The familiarity of the patrons I’d spoken to on the first and second nights combined with social camouflage (clothes, jewelry, restyled hair) bought me conversation with at least one unsuspecting lieutenant. Additional nights spent at their base of operations have allowed me to differentiate at least six organizations that are currently collaborating against the Westies. I also discovered that O had a hand in escalating the violence between the two factions. He has become part of the narrative of the increasingly volatile situation. This is a liability, specifics of his appearance have been relayed in more than one retelling. He lacks the abilities of concealment that so many of his kind possess. If it weren’t for his distinct appearance, he could easily be mistaken for any number of the rambling indigents here. After the better part of a week spent observing and interacting with the Puerto Ricans I identified an ideal asset, considering the constant and unpredictable competition going on between the six organizations. While Hernando is currently the effective alpha in their operation, Ricardo is behaving increasingly like Addullah al-Mohaddeh. A repeat of the Temmiz scenario will destabilize the entire situation. Evalisse is a more stable, controllable asset. She’s already proven useful, and she’s more than willing to cater to my needs. A carefully timed exchange between Kat and I saved the restaurant from being burned to the ground. The Westies were arrested, Kat escaped, and my assets were preserved. The best possible solution. Kat is proving to be a more manageable Operator than I’d initially calculated.

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Operational Assessment #4: Deprioritization

The Unit has uncovered a number of important pieces of information regarding the investigation. The doctor’s talent for perceptive touch is proving very useful in the search for information. Previous incidents resulted in the destruction of large amounts of Operators under specific circumstances. In one case, an entire extended family was eradicated. In another, all Operators in London were destroyed. Both of these events happened in a very limited timeframe,the historical records noting a matter of days. Some of this information was acquired from an Operator in a nearby territory, to whom we now owe a favor. Other information was gleaned from the doctor and his connections. I am less concerned about the Unit now that the records indicate that, in all likelihood, the incident has come to a close. I am continuing to seek information but this has become a secondary objective. I will debrief the Regent and maintain a passive watch for additional data. Of greater immediate importance is the increased tensions among the native criminal elements. The Irish and the Puerto Ricans are escalating quickly. I observed the Puerto Ricans for a number of nights, starting with a full night of distance observation. Tomorrow night I start my active observation and initiate contact.

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The Reflex

I am born anew and I shall bathe in the blood of those who have transgressed against me. I have freed myself from the doubts and anguish and worry – I shall fulfill my path. I was unfortunately a bit sloppy and I may have to go into hiding for some time.

I feel that I am slipping towards further damnation. My crime is to great for the community to ignore and I may have to run. I do not know if I shall make Vincent my own or ask another but I must do at least one thing of worth with this eternity before I become little better than a hunted animal.

There will be blood and the wicked shall meet their judgement at my hands.

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