11 August 2011

CoC: 11 Aug 2011 [Day 01]

Alexandrite Simon Addison: Parapsychologist, male, age 36. Speaks Latin. Yearly income $7500. Originally from Sheffield, England.
Mimosa MaiXue Mayberry: Police officer in homicide department, female, age 25. Speaks Mandarin. Ambidextrous. Yearly income $5500. Originally from Dahlonega, Georgia.
Ruth Day: Professor of archaeology/anthropology, female, age 34. Speaks Egyptian. Yearly income $3500.
Mabel Agatha Thujone: Waitress at a speakeasy, female, age 19. Left-handed. Yearly income $2500.
Frank Joe Franklin: Farmer, male, age 22. Yearly income $3500.

Ruth and Alex went to the same institution for their undergraduate degrees and remained in loose contact over the years. Alex's academic degree was formally in psychology, but he used the time at uni to to study about folklore, myths and legends around the world, as well as dabbling in Latin and medicine. He'd always intended to go into parapsychology, as nothing fascinated him more than the allegedly unexplainable. Everything had an explanation: it just wasn't always of the mundane human world...
Ruth lived near Frank, who used to come over and help with mechanical problems around her place. Despite their age difference the two came to be on amiable terms, and she knew the brawny man to be solid and reliable.
Ruth met Mabel through a friend of hers who secretly worked at the same speakeasy Mabel was employed at. This mutual friend felt that someone young and clever like Mabel should get out of this shady industry and pursue something proper in the real world, and contacted Ruth-- who, as a professor, worked with people of Mabel's same age-- to see if she might be able to help.
Ruth met Mimosa when there was a domestic squabble near her flat and Mimosa was sent to investigate. This was a few years ago, back when Mimosa was first starting out as a beat cop before transferring to homicide. Like with Alex, Frank and Mabel, Ruth collected Mimosa as well as a casual contact - and because it was never bad to have a cop for an acquaintance...
Ruth met Jackson Elias, writer, researcher and skeptic of death cults, through academic connections. Jackson is a feisty, friendly and self-made intellectual drifter who writes for Prospero Press of NYC, edited by owner/editor Jonah Kensington, who is also a mutual friend.

From the 1920's to the 80's most of America banned the carrying of concealed guns. Where open carry was "more or less" legal doing so usually brought an arrest for "disturbing the peace" vagrancy, or some other handy charge. In the 20's when gun control laws began to be passed, concealed carry was possible for the wealthy and politically connected via being deputized by a friendly sheriff. Other places like New York had permit systems but again, these were strictly for the politically connected. New York was famed for issuing the most expensive gun permits in the world to Mafia figures who bribed the authorities. Ordinary citizens need not apply.

15 January 1925, Thursday

The investigators are gathered at Ruth's flat on her request when the telegraph from Jackon Elias arrives, requesting their company that evening at 8pm in room 410 at the Chelsea Hotel. She informs them of the telegram she has received from her dear friend, eccentric writer Jackson Elias, notable for his works on death cults. It is a mild January, and there is a thin layer of snow on the ground as they head to the Chelsea Hotel. The neighbourhood is one Mimosa is unfortunately well-acquainted with: a sketchy area with ample crime and a history of unsolved homicides. The Chelsea Hotel is also one she is familiar with, having been here just a few months earlier for a homicide case on a young girl.

Outside, the area is quiet of people, although there are a few cars. One-- a common black Hudson-- is idling, but nothing about the area stands out moreso than its usual state of bleak moral decay. In the lobby, front deskman George Ramsey is sitting and reading a paper. The investigators head up to room 410 and find the door cracked open. Ruth, Alex and Mabel hang back while Frank and Mimosa go to investigate. Mimosa hears nothing, but Frank can make out a faint rustling inside. He barges into the room and is immediately attacked from beside the door by a shirtless Caucasian male wearing a skullcap bearing a strange symbol and carrying a long, sharp blade. There's blood on the carpet and a black man out the window, heading down the fire escape.

The Caucasian male attempts to disembowel Frank, who manages to block. Mimosa shoots at the guy who's fleeing, but with the cover afforded by the window, she misses. Another black man-- this one a towering 6' 6" and carrying a knife dripping with blood-- runs out of the bedroom and stabs at Frank. Mimosa grapples with the white male, distracting him briefly but unable to wrest the blade from his grip. Meanwhile, Frank manages to punch the distracted guy before getting badly injured by the new opponent. Mabel clips the 6' 6" giant with an illegal gun from her purse before Mimosa backs up, rearms her .32 automatic, and takes some shots.

When both men are down, Mimosa sends Ruth to go talk to Ramsey so she doesn't have to see what she suspects will be the messy corpse of her friend inside of the room. She enters and finds Jackson Elias brutally murdered, with the same tribal symbol from the skullcaps carved on his chest. Alex-- who has taken the peace to go treat Frank with the first aid kit kept in his ever-present messenger bag with his camera-- takes photos of the symbol and inspects the room.

While Ruth is going downstairs, Frank recovers, and Alex and Mimosa check out the bedroom (carefully not touching anything but with Alex taking pictures), Mabel loots the bodies. She locates an odd assortment of paperwork:
- a card for the Penhew Foundation (director: Edward Gavigan);
- a photograph of a yacht with a name starting with DAR, surrounded by Chinese junks;
- a brochure for a two-hour lecture by Professor Anthony Cowles entitled "The Cult of Darknes" ("tonight only" - brochure not dated - might Ruth or Alex know of this?);
- a matchbox for the Stumbling Tiger Bar (also Chinese);
- A card for Emerson Imports, with "Silas N'Kwane" in Jackson Elias' handwriting;
- A letter to Mr. Carlyle from Faraz Najir for Carlyle's agent to call his shop in the Street of Jackals in the Old Quarter from Cairo, Egypt (dated 3 Jan 1919)
- A letter to Jackson Elias from Miriam Atwright of Propsero House Publishers saying the book he sought is not in their collection
However, as of yet Mabel has not decided to share any of this information with the others...

On Ruth's way down, she is met by four officers on their way up. They ignore her, as a refined, respectable lady obviously would have nothing to do with the shots that had sent them over. The officers arrive at room 410 and Mimosa speaks with them. Lieutenant Martin Poole works with her in homicide, and is a hard-nosed veteran on the force who is known to be honest, by-the-book, upright, but a glory hound-- and this is his case. Poole grumbles that this is the ninth murder just like this in New York in the last few months - but the victims all vary widely. Rich to poor, educated to dunce, any age or gender or profession. Poole tells Mimosa that Dr. Lemming is working with the department on this case. Ruth and Alex recognize the name Dr. Mordecai Lemming from their work: a renowned folklorist, Ruth knows him to be an eccentric Manhattanite total crock. Amongst folklorists he's well-respected but with his own background being grounded in science, Alex has never met the man but is wary of his findings.

- Should have more closely observed the idling black Hudson, perhaps for a license plate.

No comments:

Post a Comment