January 30th, 2018 – February 2nd, 2018
After leaving the meet up with Natalia Constantin and getting hold of some desperately needed equipment from the eccentric arms dealer, the team went into Bucharest, proper, to get set up at a mid range hotel downtown. Seeing as they may be soon dealing with the Mirga Clanuri and the Ruvari Szgany, they wanted to stay as far away from their spheres of influence as possible. Since the two groups were fairly dominant in the west side and east side of town, the central area seemed much safer for their purposes.
Cal Morrison set up a meet, through back channels, with the current Chief of Station in Bucharest, Lou Mangiotti. Cal and Lou had both been field agents some time ago and with Lou recently getting the run of all of Bucharest for the CIA, he was a well connected man who may know the lay of the land in Bucharest. However, Wolfgang Fechtner had more pressing interests, such as meeting up with his friend and romantic interest, Marika Skinsky.
Skinsky ran with a very tough crowd, as was the life of any smuggler in this area. But Wolfgang knew exactly where to find her. She would be set up close with some of the southern gangs, near the river, likely at one of several clubs that the gangs maintained. Since Wolfgang needed several things, among them access to some new vehicles, he, Cal and Illari Vassyl decided to hunt her down and pay her a visit. Franco Selvaggio stayed at the hotel to discuss things with Luigi Cardellini and Vicente Rojas again patrolled the area, keeping watch over any possible danger.
The bar they soon found themselves at was more of a private boating club, on the river. Despite the dead of winter conditions, the Dambovita River saw some activity with some boats in the river, some of them jet skis, attesting to the insane nature of some of the locals. Entering the club, they saw all manner of shady characters around the area, and Wolfgang immediately recognized Marika Skinsky across the room, involved in a high stakes card game with some of the more notorious personalities, among them, local boss Boris Borgo.
Upon taking a break in the card game, Marika came over to Wolfgang and embraced him, indicating to Cal and Illari that the two were just more than old friends, as there was a clear romantic interest there. Ass the two talked, negotiating some kind of business arrangement with getting some clean vehicles, Cal scanned the area and did pick up one individual in the club that did not seem to belong (later identified as a German BND agent).
Instead of a straight up sale, Marika had an interesting proposal for Wolfgang: a jet ski race along the icy river would determine whether or not she would get the vehicles free of charge or whether he would pay double. The offer was too tempting to pass up and within a half hour, the two were suiting up and heading down to the club’s docks with the entire bar in an uproar of excitement. Even Cal and Illari put down some bets, taking the underdog, Wolfgang.
The race, an exciting ballet of speed and agility through the icy waters, almost saw both vehicles overheat, but in the end it was Marika who came out ahead, and Wolfgang was forced to pay up. However, his grace in losing made the difference as the club seemed to embrace the good nature of the loser and the place erupted into song and dance with heavy, heavy drinking.
Marika made plans to get the vehicles and in a more relaxed setting mentioned that the two main rival clans were extremely preoccupied as of late. Obviously, the two groups had connections with drug trafficker, Cemal Gusa, the Turkish drug dealer, but she suggested that there was likely something deeper going on that was getting their attention. Further, she mentioned rumors of the human trafficker, Vasile Chitul and how he may have recently made contact with an influential individual who would give him better access to victims that he could ship around. This was, apparently, big news to Marika and some of the locals. Meanwhile, Cal discovered that if they wanted to make some good contacts in the area, Borgo was always looking for jobs to be done, mostly small time schemes and plans that would make them some much needed money.
As the group left the club, with Marika promising to come by Wolfgang’s hotel later to not only drop off the keys but also to stay for something more romantic, Wolfgang got a call from his contact in London, Charles Asante, the jeweler and pawnbroker. Apparently, Mr. Asante stated that someone recently came in looking to appraise an item very similar to the Hillingham Brooch. Wolfgang stated he would likely be back in a few weeks but in the meantime, Asante should purchase the item and keep it safe. Later when Cal tried to find CCTV footage in London, the effort proved less effective than he would have liked. Perhaps it was because the individual in question could not be seen on cameras . . .
While Cal worked on some of his projects involving his weapons and technology, Illari began working through the Dracula Dossier, looking for references to Bucharest or the general area. Perhaps he was hoping to find clues or context for some of the investigations they had going. Among some of the clues he uncovered were:
- References to Pitesti Prison
- A reference to someone named ‘Skinsky’
- Ancient connections between Dracula and Ruvari Szgany
- References in the annotations to the fact that one of the annotators suspected Heal the Children, the charity, was possibly a front
- The possibility of drug companies having massive sales in blood thinners to suspect parties
- The mind control powers of Dracula and his minions
It was at this point that Illari immediately went to Cal’s room to share these horrific revelations . . .
The following morning Wolfgang spent the day working on the van that Marika supplied to the team, enhancing the engine to make it much faster. But it was Cal who made it across town to a bridge where he met up with Lou Mangiotti. The clandestine meeting was in a small station house on the bridge, overlooking the Dambovita River.
Cal reconnected with the Chief of Station and congratulated him on his recent promotion. As the two talked, Cal seemed to detect an air from Lou that suggested that Lou was hiding something and holding back. Certainly, he was cordial and helpful, offering the support of the CIA to Cal’s operation in Bucharest, but warned him that he was still considered ‘outside’ the organization. Certainly, Eloise Buckley reinstated him, but it was still secretive. Whereas Lou Mangiotti was aware of Cal’s status, many of his operatives in the field and in the office may not be. So any support Lou would provide had to be in the shadows.
Mangiotti reiterated that the are over which he had control was running well and he did not want anything to jeopardize that. He also mentioned that Buckley had put out the order to have agents detain Franco Selvaggio to be brought back to London in order to be ‘educated’ into proper CIA protocol. Mangiotti’s recent visit from Tyler Gold, one of Buckley’s top operatives, was clearly intended to check up on his operation as well as pass on some of her details and instructions regarding Selvaggio. But Mangiotti also recognized the need for Cal and his team for supplies and resources. Mangiotti was willing to help out with this if the team was willing to do a couple of jobs; such as extracting an agent from a dangerous operation, locally, as well as conduct a kidnapping of a terrorist inserted into a cell of criminals. The terrorist needed to be handed over to one of their black sites, likely Adam Cylinksi, another older associate of Cal’s. Further, if they wanted to make so real money, he had someone else who was in need of some work – some darker projects that would pay well.
By the conclusion of the meeting, it was clear that Mangiotti wanted to meet with the whole team, as he had seen their Vienna antics from a few days ago on a tape he was given. He was especially interested in Franco as well as Wolfgang Fechtner. Even though Mangiotti stated he would hide his Franco from his agents and prevent Franco from being detained and sent back to London, Cal was mistrustful of the situation. Cal suggested that Mangiotti send an agent to provide the dossier of the terrorist and Cal would lead the operation to apprehend the individual.
Cal was nervous about the situation but it was a step in the right direction to gathering allies and resources.