Big Trouble in Little Soho [Spoilers]

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ChrisDDickey
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Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Big Trouble in Little Soho [Spoilers]

Post by ChrisDDickey » Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:44 pm

There was a huge breakdown in communication. The goon we had captured said he would tell us where the headquarters was, only after he had gotten a deal. PC Westley Campbell said it would take several days, but that he would contact us as soon as he knew were the headquarters were. We waited 7 days, and when we next ran into PC Campbell, he said he had known the address for almost all of the time, but was waiting to get permission  from his superiors to raid the place, and for some reason, the permission was being withheld. So anyway, we waited for 7 days for Campbell to contact us with the address, but he had decided not to. Fortunately we were all able to spend the time well. I learned a new spell and improved my Charisma. 

Anyway, about a week after the last time we saw PC Campbell, I heard rumors that there had been a big explosion down by the University. Concerned that it might have been another attempt upon Dr Toprac I hunted up Lord Stark and we went to visit him. He assured us that he was OK and was taking precautions, but it turned out that the explosion had been about a block and a half away from the Library building where Toprac worked. The explosion was in front of the Museum of Natural History. We did a bit of asking around, and heard garbled rumors of at least two roughens with guns, and a man with muttonchops, but our understanding was all still pretty garbled when we caught up with PC Campbell. He informed us that the large explosion on the street had been a cover for a kidnapping. Somebody had set a fire in the museum, set off the explosion outside, and had kidnapped a Professor McGuire inside the museum and gotten away in the confusion. The Prof was an expert in dinosaurs. 

Campbell told us that he had been the address of the headquarters we had been looking for for some time, and had been trying to get approval for a raid on it. But for some reason unknown to him, somebody was blocking the approval. It was obvious that he did not like thinking his superiors corrupt, but it was also obvious that (though  he said nothing of it) he could think of few other explanations. Anyway, he asked if we could give it a very quiet look around. 

The location was an old abandoned pottery factory in hackney by the river. We drove past it in a cab, and it looked sutably abandoned. It had a 12 foot tall brick wall surrounding the courtyard. The wrought iron gate was hanging open. The factory itself was a large 3 story building. There were separate stables, a Coal Bunker, and 3 huge industrial kilns. We got out of the cab a half mile past the gate, and decided to check the back first. The factory backed up against a canal. The canal was in poor condition, but still in occasional use. There were paths on both sides, and we saw the occasional fisherman. Walking up the tow path, we saw a steam powered narrowboat pulling away from a dock directly behind the pottery factory. 

We started to walk faster, hoping to catch up with the boat. I was hoping that if we walked fast enough we could keep the boat in sight. Lord Stark decided to break into a run, and then jumped onto the boat. This, of course, ruined any chance of stealth or surprise, and when the helmsman yelled at him, Stark started to fight him. The helmsman also put the boat at full throttle, meaning I had to sprint to keep up. Stark knocked the helmsman down, and lowered the throttle, but I stayed upon the shore to cast spells at the helmsman. Eventually the helmsman escaped overboard and Stark went forward to attack a person whom I had not noticed before. I jumped onto the boat just in time for the helmsman to regain the helm and start bashing the boat into the sides of the canal. Eventually we had both men subdued and tied up. We found the kidnapped professor tied up below decks. He was grateful to be rescued. He said that the kidnappers had been asking him about the biology of the dinosaurs of the Gruv. He did not know why. He said that he thought the kidnappers might have been going to try to smuggle him into the Gruv. He also told us that the factory used to be the headquarters we were looking for, but it showed signs that it had been abandoned within the last week. 

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Big Trouble in Little Soho [Spoilers]

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Nov 18, 2019 4:24 am

We carried the two captured boatmen to the nearest police station, where Professor McGuire accused them of kidnapping. PC Campbell was sent for as the PC that was working the kidnapping case. 

I did an astral assessment of them, and assensed that the mage was a man of very strong emotions. I also assensed that there was something magically active inside his mouth! I looked inside and found that one of his back teeth had a strong elemental signature! I quickly opened my physicians kit and used some tools to knock out the strange tooth and extract it. This of course woke the man, but I got the tooth out before he could activate it. I threw the tooth in the corner (in case it exploded), but when I later examined it, I could tell that it seemed to be his own original tooth, which somebody had extracted, hollowed out, attached a long screw too, bound a spirit of fire too, and then screwed into his jaw! In addition to requiring strong enchantment and spirit binding powers, it must have been extraordinarily painful for the recipient. 

The mage swore at us horribly, but even though we tried to provoke him into indiscretion, he did not say anything useful to us. None of us being skilled interrogators, but knowing that the police were, we left the men for PC Campbell to interrogate after the PC had had a chance to take Professor McGuire's statement. 

The Professor had mentioned he had seen clues in the abandoned pottery factory. He also had told us that a pair of thugs had been left to ambush us. We decided to carefully check out the factory. We approached from the rear, and thinking that that ambush would probably be ether by the front door, or the stairs to the upper level, we entered via an upper story window. 

We explored all the upper level. The most obvious feature was the remains of a ritual circle. It had been both complex and strong. It would probably have taken most of a week to construct. However it had been deactivated and partially erased. I don't know exactly what had been doing with it, but whatever they had been doing with it, they were done. 

Lord Carnavon found a packet that had dropped behind some tables. Inside it were some papers, Engine programming cards, and a bill of lading. The bill of lading was from a respectable industrial chemistry named Harrison and Thurbert for a number of things including something called Thilorier Ice (which McGrath informed us was used for extreme cooling, and was also known as Dry Ice, which name turned out to be much more popular). The bill of lading had no address, but did say that the goods had been delivered to somebody named Cliton Elasely. We learned that hte Elasely family was extraordinarily Rich, and Cliton was a prominent member of the family. 

Looking all over the place, upper floor, roof, and finally ground floor, we finally found the thugs that were there to ambush us, outside the front doors. We considered attacking them and attempting to interrogate them, but since none of us were very good with interrogation, and since we really want to find out their gangs new headquarters, we decided it might be better to simple hide and see where they go, or who visits to check upon them. 

We decided to hide upon the roof. All three of us took a single two hour watch, and got about 4 hours of sleep before, shortly after midnight, the two men at the front door appeared to call it a night. They spent about an hour walking to their tenement apartment building in north hackney. We determined that they appeared to share an upper story room at the back. We spent the short remainder of the night taking turns on watch and sleeping rough in an alley. The men emerged within a few hour of dawn, obtained a breakfast and disappeared into a gin palace named the "Tin Annie's". They did not emerge and when various of us entered, there was no sign of them (though there did appear to be multiple back rooms, private rooms, etc). 

We discussed what to do, we had multiple potential lines of inquiry: Harrison and Thurbert. Cliton Elasely., finding out what PC Campbel had learned from his new prisoners. Trying to figure out how magic rituals, dinosaurs, and Dry Ice were all related to Bang Snuff. Etc. 

We decided our first stop (after returning to our varied rooms for a quick wash and shave) was to visit Catherine Montague to inquire about the engine programming cards. 

Slimcreeper
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Re: Big Trouble in Little Soho [Spoilers]

Post by Slimcreeper » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:47 am

Sometimes I make up things (like the tooth) and don’t realize how horrific they are until someone else tells the story

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Andrew1879
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Re: Big Trouble in Little Soho [Spoilers]

Post by Andrew1879 » Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:03 pm

Yeah ow

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Big Trouble in Little Soho [Spoilers]

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Dec 16, 2019 8:41 am

We traveled to our ex colleague Miss Catherine Montague's home and had a nice visit. She was gracious enough to show us her Engine workshop. We showed her the cards and she was able to inform us that they were not an engine program per see, but rather were a data set. They were in a proprietary schema that could only be read by an engine that was specifically programmed to understand them. When we mentioned Harrison and Thurbert she said that the cards were marked with "H&T", and thatHarrison and Thurbert's  office Engine might very well be able to read these cards. She, you will recall, had recently promised her family that she would no longer go out on shady operations, but she did instruct us on how we might recognize an engine that would accept our cards, and the procedures to run them through the engine. She explained it twice, but I am afraid that it was only McGraph seemed confident in his grasp of the process. 

So we resolved to gain access to H&T's analytical engine. We discussed several ways, including sneaking in as a food delivery person, hiding inside until everybody left for the day, and setting off a stink bomb to force everybody out of the building. In the end we decided to climb up to a neighboring buildings roof, over to the target roof, and enter from the top. I was not enthused at the plan since I knew from sad past experience how non-sneaky I was. However we finally decided it was probably the best way. We got to the roof of our target with only little incident, an alarm wire on the roof entrance was detected and circumvented, and we climbed down a ladder to the top floor (of three). 

When we opened the door of the closet the ladder terminated in, we could see light streaming out under a conference room door. We managed to sneak past it and I renewed the casting of "See by the light of the moons" upon everybody, then one of my companions (who had previously put an eye to the key-hole, but saw nothing and heard nothing but the murmur of indistinct voiced), decided to go back to the door to put his ear to the key-hole to see if he could hear more. Unfortunately the floor creaked loudly, and all he heard was somebody saying something such as "These numbers look very good, but for the risk... Hey, what was that?". He ducked back around the corner with the rest of us, but while he was whispering to us that he had been heard, somehow one of the guys in the room managed to open the door without us hearing it, nor noticing the bright light flooding the hallway behind us, and came up behind him. Whereupon we had a big fight. 

The guy we were fighting was a mage, and he had a nasty fire attack that briefly set one of my companions clothes on fire, plus other spells. Fortunately none of the businessmen in the conference room were inclined to join the fight, and we managed to almost subdue him. However, when he realized he was beaten, he activated one of those suicide tooth's that we had previously seen members of the Hesperidean Society use, and his head burned off. We managed to keep the building from catching on fire. One of the others suggested tying up the businessmen. I assumed he meant it as a joke, or as a way to intimidate them, but he did in fact tie them up. 

Investigating the corpse, we found a case full of calling cards that identified him as Severn Wilam, and listed the club he got his post at. He also had a scrap of magical writing stored in his hatband, and in a pocket I found a most fascinating sculpture inscribed with ruins and writing. The material looked like common soapstone, but was much heavier. I learned later that it was a one use only spellcasting focus. 

Upon the table in the conference room there were also some account books and an Ancient scroll, written in what I was starting to recognize as Babylonian (I had also seen samples of it in the writings of Mssr Niece, and in the Bang Snuff lab). 

A pair of goons came up the stairs to ask if everything was OK, but through the closed door one of my companions managed to impersonate a business man and send them back to the ground floor. 

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Big Trouble in Little Soho [Spoilers]

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:19 pm

We left Carnavon guarding our businessmen prisoners while McGraph and I snuck downstairs looking for their analytical engine. We found a large lofted room with a gallery. From the gallery level we did not see the thugs nor their lantern. It seems they were just checking out the back room, since they came back in as soon as McGraph had snuck down the stairs from the gallery level to the ground level. They spotted him instantly. a fight ensued. McGraph threw a stink bomb. Unfortunately the nausea did not prevent them from each drinking a dose of Bang Snuff. 

The bang snuff enhanced thugs, fortunately for me, were not very good shots with their pistols. Unfortunately for McGraph, they wielded their metal headed clubs very well with enhanced vehemence, and for the next several days McGraph sported a bruise of amazing color on his face. The fight, though brutal was very short and soon the thugs were rendered unconscious. We searched them but found nothing of of interest except the vials that held the bang snuff. 

Using security cards found upon the businessmen, we entered the locked room with the engine, and 10 minutes later had a printout listing accounts, names, dates, amounts, and annotated notes. It seemed to be everything that we needed. In addition one of the businessmen, wanted to make a deal. He agreed to write out a statement in return for our letting him go. He seemed genuinely surprised when we asked about Bang Snuff and kidnapping, but he did know about smuggling to/from the Gruv, tax evasion, and lots of interesting details. He also knew that William Thurbert IV was meeting with Mr Elsey that very night at a charity ball to finalize some details. 

We telegraphed Constable Campbell and when he arrived we briefed him on what we found, and he took charge of all the evidence, and arrested our prisoners. He also told us that when they were poking around in pottery factory they found the remains of a body in the kiln. We told him about the charity ball, and he put us onto a place that could get us some disguises quickly. McGraph decided to go to the ball as a more famous version of himself, ie: a famous visiting scientist in London as part of a series of European lectures. I went as his personal servant. While CgGraph was checking out the upstairs, I was asking questions below stairs. 

Eventually we spotted Elsey and Thurbert in the main ballroom, and saw them heading to a balcony for their discussion. McGraph almost got spotted making a clumsy move while attempting to sneak out onto the balcony with them. We decided to try to overhear from a bit farther away. McGraph tried listening from a window a bit further down, while I went down to the back garden in order to try to eavesdrop from under the balcony. In the garden I intercepted by some 3 or 4 persons who wanted me to follow them. I assumed at the time that they mistook me for a real servant and needed help carrying a drunk colleague. They lead me to a a man in an unfamiliar military uniform who greeted me by name (which I had given nobody here). He introduced himself as Sir Anthony Loverage, Knight of the Grail. Nether his name nor his order meant anything to me at that time, I had heard that the other knightly orders, the order of the bath and the order of the garter were high honors, but had not had military significance for hundreds of years. I had not yet learned that the order of the Grail was very different. Anyway, he asked about my activities, and I gave him straight answers (as far as I knew them). 

He asked if we had enough evidence to have Elsey and Thrubert arrested, and I said I thought so. He said if I thought so, we ought to confront them. I said we could confront them immediately if he wanted, but I pointed out that we had no authority to arrest anybody, but  he said that his Knights would support us. So I went back, found McGrath, and learned that he had overheard much incriminating stuff. So we confronted the two, and eventually the Knights of the Grail arrested them. McGrath wrote out a full transcript of what he had overheard and we both agreed to testify at trail if need be. 

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