Date of Session: July 23, 2017
Summary: We depart the warehouse with Marco Lombardi and Hobo Joe in tow. The gang is en route to its new headquarters for an interrogation of Lombardi as to the whereabouts of Toby's missing Family members Rachel and Gregor, the origin and nature of the white, delta-genic pills, and the process by which people can have latent delta abilities permanently activated.
Ever the studious prepper, Ana has procured the headquarters in advance from Beatrix, one of her mom's magical friends. It is an enchanted apartment in a bad side of town. A third floor one bedroom for prying eyes, but within is a bookish bungalow of sensible tastes and means. Three bedrooms, two and a half baths, and a utility closet converted into a prison cell. Curious coming from Beatrix, but perfect for our purposes.
Kith and kin to all transients, Toby converses with Hobo Joe as to his identity and what he knows. 'Joe' is Jonas. He relates his experience in Marco's capture mentioning the two others locked with him, a man and woman bearing Rachel and Gregor's descriptions. "They took away the two others in there. Didn't sound good what they were going to do to them." Jonas turns over the flask given to him by Gregor. Thanked for his info, Jonas jumps at the opportunity to clean and rest. By the binds of vagabondage, Toby asseverates his trust of Jonas.
It had been a hot minute since any of the party had had a bite to eat, and after restless battle, we had grown restless in hunger. We find mostly nibbles and old candy, which is fine. Toby teases Simon with his previous apple antics as if he still had them to eat, to which Simon responds, "I don't have apples. I don't want to be associated with jugglers." Everyone chows, and with restored spirits, remembers the bound ganglord in the trunk of Nita's SUV.
So as not to arouse suspicion, Toby commands Marco's silence and Simon walks him up to the apartment like a monopoly piece, depositing him in the cell, expecting his 'spandexed' inquisition. First, Toby and Ana search his person confiscating his weapons and two white pills. Ilya retrieves the SIM card from his phone for investigation. Contemplating the troubles with Weasel's interrogation, Toby experiments with a truth-telling command upon Ilya that is successful. Toby runs his hand through Marco's hair, and tickles out answers from his mind with a "Tell the truth." Recoiling in astonishment, Lombardi shouts, "I'm Marco Fuckin' Lombardi! Who the FUCK are you?!" Never two to possess an imposing presence, Ana and Ilya attempt to counter with intimidation, much to their embarrassment. Simon steps in, and with a combination of telekinetic force and everyday coulrophobia, intimidates Marco effortlessly. In a conflagration of hero points, Toby seeks the fate of Rachel and Gregor. Nita helps Marco clear his throat with the tip of an arrow. All Lombardi knows is that the two Family members were picked up by his business partners in a blue van, and probably for experimentation at some sort of lab or medical facility. The nature of the experiments is a mystery to him, but Marco understands his pill supplier has greater schemes than mere gang warfare. He does not mind this relationship so long as he gets paid 'fat stacks' and he gets the perks of advanced soldiers and hookups from the gig. Convinced we exhausted his usefulness, Ilya pleads with the hardened gang leader to turn from his wicked ways. "I think you will find that a life of crime does not pay," Ilya appeals over the snickering of his allies. Remorseful, Simon meets Ilya back to back, arms crossed, teens together, too cool for crime.
We drop the Jungle Lord in New Jersey, Ana promising, "If you don't say anything about us, then you have nothing to fear." The gang takes him to a lonely, debris strewn beach. Lombardi gazes out upon the gray waters, his mind lapping in the waves how he will survive being compromised, and by do-gooder teens at that. "Hey, want to hear a joke?" Simon intones. Implacably stern, Marco meets his eyes. "My grandfather has the heart of a lion, and a lifetime ban from the zoo." A man of concrete, Marco is unfazed. The gang drives away, leaving the kingpin to walk home to a mirthless life.
Delta Force returns to the apartment for more details from Jonas. A sandwich and kombucha picked up along the way for the once hapless captive. Jonas is gracious. As necessary for a ritual, Toby masterfully persuades Jonas to part with some hallucinatory mushrooms. Jonas shades his story of Rachel and Gregor. Jonas was caught while walking to get a sandwich. Extremely nervous of his fate, Gregor comforted him with drags from his flask, which Jonas held onto after Rachel and Gregor were taken away. An event that preceded his rescue earlier in the daytime. Two masked men with keycards came in a blue van and took Toby's compatriots away. Jonas then relates his past at our behest. Jonas is not part of the Family, but was once a resistance fighter many years ago. He built special communications equipment in a workshop pro bono. Cynical of making a difference against a seemingly omniscient government, he ran from that life as his confederates were rounded up. Toby's inquest reveals the workshop and equipment to be long gone. Ana offers him a contact with a potential job as a gardener, which he gratefully accepts. Thankful to the comrade, our heroes return him to his home under the Brooklyn Bridge.
The night is complete in the shadow of the bridge. Returning from Jonas' home, Ana and Simon glimpse a female silhouette in an alley, something metal in her hand, illumined by starlight. The two inform the gang, but the figure is not there when everyone looks back. Ana, Simon, and the ever-eager Ilya investigate. Foolishly leading the way, Simon's leg slips a trap and is lifted heavenward by a rope. The others rush into the alley, and across the street in the darkened rift between buildings is the Butcher of the Brooklyn Bridge, blades in outstretched hands. The gang assumes the Hangman is nearby if one Madison Street Monster is here on account of the trap. Simon flies to slacken the line and slips out. The Butcher sinks into the shadows, and none too soon, Toby pleas for a hasty evacuation. Toby is, after all, 'concerned with everyone.' Nita's ride is parked shortly away with a macabre message etched into the door, "Welcome to the Neighborhood." A tensile metal wire is also rigged to the brake lines, potentially sabotaging our escape. We disengage the trap and retrieve Jonas who agrees to come with us for his safety. The Butcher watches our departure with the patience of a predator.
With Nita's prized ride scarred and our transport compromised, we decide to disguise the car, changing the plates and paint. Ana reverses time on the etching, which merits a hearty hug of thanks from Nita. Back at the apartment, Simon is unnerved and twitches, his arms locked in front of him. He reveals his claustrophobia, and how it was triggered by being trapped in the alley. Jonas is now safe, but the gang is suspicious of his living circumstances. Toby reads his mind in the guise of comforting hand. This reading reinforces our previous understanding that he's just a regular hobo with irregular bowel movements, and loves him some kombucha.
At Toby's insistence, Ana uses the flask to perform a remote viewing of Gregor's circumstances. Gregor is in a white operating room with doctors. Somewhere underground or inside, and cool. There are big canisters about. Ana relates some of what she hears. "My chest burns. I'm gonna' scream. My veins are itching. Professor? Vitals are green." For his part in Gregor's capture, Toby wails, bemoaning his guilt. His anguish attracts the kindhearted Ilya, who hugs Toby.
Ana can track Gregor magically, but reveals it is a complicated, imperfect method. She may need to do some exploring first. Ana ingests Jonas' mushrooms and exits to the streets on a vision quest. The gang follows. Ana overhears various things from the people there, like a Carnegie Hall joke, a hyperbole of bursting one's pants from overeating, song lyrics, and sees a torn flyer for Westchester Community College. She is tripping balls. We all trip back to the car where Ana plays magical GPS, leading us farther and farther north, almost to Massachusetts. All the while, Ana has become the mouthpiece for the cosmos, dropping wisdom bombs apropos of nothing. So sibylline, she laughs at Simon's amazing joke before he finishes its telling. Ana yells out when we arrive at an office building for ArcLabs. With only the creeping light of dawn, it is too early for people to be there on business, yet there are lights on on one of the floors.
Against the fungus fugue determination of Ana and the agony of Toby, the gang gets a nearby hotel room to recoup and plan. All the while, Toby is wigging out, begging to attack the ArcLabs building and save his tortured friend. Simon steps out of the room, promising to return with breakfast. No sooner does he step out, do things begin to unravel within. Ilya clumsily knocks over a lamp attempting to secret out of the room, which draws the questions of everyone inside. Suspiciously, Ana is openly talking to her book, "Yes, let's try that." Everyone debates whether we should keep using Ana's 'high'tened perception while she has it, or wait for sobriety. Toby is crazy to leave, and will brook no alternative but to save Gregor here and now, plan or none. The debate quickly turns vituperative, as Ana continues to conspire with her book, and Ilya threatens to punch the fractious Toby. In a desperate bid, Toby commands Ilya to 'move,' and fails. Ilya counters with a powered exofist, knocking his once chum into the wall. Nita wrests the book from Ana, which she ripostes with a just missed sleep spell, exhausting Nita.
Somewhere, a surveilling God changes the map to a burning room. A dog sits at a table. "This is fine."
Unbeknownst to Simon, he edges into a maelstrom with breakfast in the balance. "Looks like I gotta' play dad!" Simon shouts, pushing all but the stalwart Nita on their tuckus. "Settle down!" They give him a quick recap. Toby jumps up and bolts for the door, but Simon bars him. Transformed, Nita 'bear'hugs Ana, and Ilya jumps atop the conniving book. For this, Ana addresses Ilya, "Find what you love, and let it kill you." Ilya throws the book under the bed. With Ana stuck in Nita's grasp, Simon attempts to close the door and gag Toby with a rag from the bathroom, failing both to the slippery urchin. He flees. Simon yells down the hall, "Fine! Be an idiot!"
Shortly thereafter, everything settles down in the room. Ana persuades Nita of her sobriety, releasing her from the hug. Ilya apologizes to Ana for throwing the book and retrieves it. Simon speaks, "He ran. I wish he would realize we're his family, too." We decide to catch up with him, but are surprised to find him sitting on the curb, nursing his bruised face with a bag of ice, the water and tears inseparable. Ilya approaches him, "So sorry. I'm glad you're okay." Toby sobs, "They're gone because of me. My parents… Terry… He was screaming. What if they did that to Terry… or my mom…? I'm sorry. I don't want anyone getting hurt because of me." "Ha ha, well, you got hurt because of me," Ilya replies good-naturedly.