Night's Black Agents: Dracula Dossier

Episode 22: Let's Kill Omar Shakti!

March 3rd, 2018 – March 11th, 2018

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Cal Morrison, Wolfgang Fechtner, Pascal Lerue and Franco Selvaggio patiently awaited the arrival of Omar Shakti and his retinue, in the Brussels warehouse that they had set up as part of their sting operation. The plan was to abduct Shakti, take him to a safehouse an hour away provided by GCHQ operative, Rachel Little, and see what Shakti’s relationship was with Edom and Elvis.

The action was fast and furious, once Shakti and his underlings arrived. During the fight, the heroes took some hits but also noticed that Shakti did not attempt to flee or even truly protect himself. However, once the agents had taken out Shakti’s men, they quickly loaded him up in one of his armored SUVs and carted him off, while Illari Vassyl, Vicente Rojas and Luigi Cardellini fled in the other SUV in a different direction. However, as they packed Shakti up, he warned them that this was a poor choice of actions and they only had a few moments to change their minds. He swore this would not go well for them but Cal retorted that the only person for whom this would go poorly was he, Shakti.

En route to the safehouse, the group interrogated Shakti, who clearly knew about Edom and Elvis but knew surprisingly less than they suspected he would. Further, he was clearly hesitant to reveal more than he wanted, as if he had an escape plan. However, Shakti seemed to speak at great lengths as to what was inside the crate he was expecting to find. The body of Queen Netocris, a queen from Egypt’s 6th Dynasty. However, when faced with the reality that many of the other items in the caravan were forgeries, he seemed displeased, to say the least, with much of his anger being directed towards Elvis and the other members of Edom. He was quickly learning that Edom was an organization filled with backstabbers and double-dealers, perhaps something Mr. Shakti was becoming weary of.

When asked about Bela, the assistant of Elvis, Shakti semed to suggest that he had never met her or if he had met her, it was a different person each time. However, he did mention that the mysterious Vendella French, the supposed antique furniture buyer, was an asset of Edom’s, perhaps even the mysterious Bela. He clamied that shortly after the caravan was hit, she paid him a visit, explaining the loss of the caravan.

Arriving at the safehouse the team determined there was likely little more they could do with him so Wolfgang Fechtner decided to plant forgery papers on Mr. Shakti before deciding to kill him. As Wolfgang was preparing to kill him, Shakti learned in and whispered some kind of mysterious code, involving the sands of time and the return of those once thought lost. With that, they staked him and put two silver bullets in the back of his head, making sure that he was dead. This seemed to do the trick they were hoping for. With that, the team evacuated the safehouse, went back to Dr. Oskar Beaufort’s home to relax for a few days as they were tending to their wounds.

It was back at the home of Dr. Beaufort, while resting from the injuries sustained, that they discussed working on some of the side projects he had expressed an interest in, namely going to Berlin to infiltrate and steal certain chemical formulas from an American company, Nox Therapeutics. He suggested he had been there once before and provided them with some schematics of the building as well as some suspected protocols when he had been there several months ago.

A couple of days later, the team, while researching possible leads and relaxing they saw the news story that the missing financier and businessman Omar Shakti had been found alive. He claimed that he had gone on an impromptu hunting mission and gotten lost. The shock that the team suffered that the once quite dead Mr, Shakti was alive was stunning. But it was clear he was not a vampire. But now it became clear there was definitely something more to Mr. Shakti.

That night Wolfgang had a harrowing dream that had a woman’s voice speaking over and over again regarding the ‘sands of time’ which was the same statement Shakti had whispered before he was killed. At the end of the dream, he had a vision of a stone statue of the Greek muse, Colliope. This lead to Wolfgang researching the following day and discovering that there was a large statue of the muse adorning the Brussels opera house – opera being one of the interests they had discovered Mr. Shakti had. It was at this point that Wolfgang used a cover to purchase season box seats.

The following day the team went to the opera house to examine the seats. The opera house representative took them to the seats and at that point Wolfgang noticed someone in a different area sending a signal. When he excused himself to meet up with the mysterious figure, he got a signal that someone was wishing to meet him in the basement. He joined Lerue while Cal and Franco kept the opera house staff busy. At that point Wolfgang and Lerue went to the basement where they were directed. It was only a few moments later that they encountered not only Omar Shakti, very much alive, but also a retinue of bodyguards and a mysterious woman under a veil who did not speak. But n the course of the conversation, Shakti refered to her as ‘her majesty,’ prompting Lerue and Wolfgang to presume she was, perhaps, Queen Nitocris.

Shakti began to negotiate with Wolfgang with the basics of the conversation being that they could likely help one another. Shakti seemed to distrust Edom at this point and his main interest in working with them was access to their vast intelligence network in return for Shakti setting up a cell in Brussels loyal to Edom. However, if Wolfgang and his associates would be willing to work with him, offering up some of their CIA and MI6 intelligence, he would give them access to some of the items and resources that he had – that he assured them they would be interested in.

Shakti agreed they should meet up again in a few weeks, meeting at a chalet in the German Alps under the auspices of a skiing trip. Here, Shakti stated, they could speak more freely as he was convinced that Edom had eyes everywhere, spying on him. Wolfgang agreed and Shakti provided him information to get in touch with ‘his people’ to set up the meet.

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Episode 21: Let's Meet Omar Shakti!

February 21st, 2018 – March 3rd, 2018

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As Vicente Rojas, Cal Morrison and Wolfgang Fechtner waited in the hotel room outside of Liege, pondering what to do about the ‘hit’ on the trigger that had been placed, indicating that there had been movement at the Munch Dead House, things had gone far different for Pascal Lerue. Luigi Cardellini, and Illari Vasyl. Cut off from the others after the attack on the caravan, they had gone their separate way with Dr. Oskar Beaufort, hoping that Franco Selvaggio had gotten away unscathed in the chaos.

Dr. Beaufort had explained to Illari that he was able to keep track of him ever since the blood transfusion a few weeks ago in Munich. And he was fortunate for this as Dr. Beaufort proudly explained, he was able to bail them out of a great deal of trouble. He explained to both he and Pascal he was taking them somewhere safe but the prisoner, Katrina Vladova,should not be able to see where they were going. Therefore, Dr. Beaufort took Illari and Katrina to a safehouse he had set up outside of Ostend, Belgium. He left the two there in order for Illari to interrogate her and took Pascal on to wherever he had been living for several months; Beaufort’s Safehouse.

One of Pascal’s first orders of business was to examine the items he had taken from the caravan. He sent photos of the items to Dr. William Hester (father of Sarah Hester), at the British Museum. Dr. Hester explained that these items were fakes – excellent fakes but fakes nonetheless. They were replicas of a 6th Dynasty queen, Queen Netocris.

Illari spent several days trying to pull information from Katrina. Whereas she had not been brainwashed by Edom forces, she had been turned. Citing the fact that the Ukrainian forces to which she had Illari had been a part of had left her behind to die and that a paramilitary group had saved her, she claimed the organization was part of a larger group fighting against terror. But there was something in the way she said it which made Illari realize she may have experienced or seen things far more unusual. Further, Katrina explained that she had ordered to wire the back of the main truck and blow the entire vehicle if the shipment were compromised. She explained that the tactical teams led by Napoleon Corsico and Gottfried Horst were recently replaced and that she was unsure why the mission seemed set up for failure. Further, she indicated that Horst seemed to have some ability to communicate telepathically, which may have explained their ability for deep undercover covert communication.

Early in the conversation, he knew he would only be able to turn her so far and therefore had contacted Katrina’s niece. Anatolia Vladova, to set up an extraction in a couple of days to bring Katrina back to the Ukraine until more could be done. However, Illari was certain he had at least eroded away some of her faith in Edom.

As Cal and Wolfgang pulled up the footage of the Red Room in the Munich Dead House, they were ill prepared for what they saw. They noticed the door open and Rupert Cavendish. the London VP of Bichi National Bank, enter with what seemed to be an unseen force, likely one or more Vampires that did not come up on film. Cavendish seemed reverent to whatever creature was before him, suggesting to Cal and Wolfgang this was quite possibly Dracula himself. It was as if Cavendish was explaining things to the superior unseen entity and seemed terrified by the individual’s reaction. Cavendish showed the entity a photo which, upon enhancing the image, turned out to be Russian Deputy Press Secretary, Svetlana Tovorsky, a woman who was seen in London as well as recently seen in Bucharest, meeting with Lou Mangiotti. The meeting concluded with Cavendish offering up a young boy to the force which was subsequently devoured in a most horrific way. The camera was then spotted by Cavendish and the image disabled.

A few days later the team reunited, coming together in Ostend and coming to the seaside mansion of Dr. Beaufort. It was there that they recounted their tales to one another and relaxed for a short amount of time.

Sitting with Beaufort, he did explain that he could be of some use to the team as they could be of use to him. Whereas many of his experiments were long abandoned, (much to Cal’s dismay), there was an experimental serum he could provide, the Experimental Serum that would act as a rapid healing agent for the team. Wolfgang asked that Beaufort take the serum they had taken off of Corsico a few days ago for analysis. In return for supplying the team with the Experimental Serum, Beaufort stated he wanted the team to perform some jobs for him – jobs they seemed well equipped to perform, specifically ‘acquiring’ supplies from an American biotech company with offices in Europe, Nox Therapeutics. The team agreed, provisionally, but suggested there were other topics that demanded their attention, first. Dr. Beaufort agreed, suggesting they would have a fruitful relationship and they could use his Ostend mansion as a temporary safehouse. However, they curiously noticed very few signs of anyone living at the location. As to their own projects, it was clear that they needed to investigate, possibly interrogate, possibly kill, Omar Shakti, the likely recipient of the caravan shipment.

The team did some research on Shakti, his dealings and his home. Cal discovered that Shakti’s business, Pharaoh Imports had much tighter digital security than must businesses have and his mansion was located in a gated community and had his own tight security within, including armed guards. They instantly knew this was going to be a very difficult mark to target, as the security he had was equal to that of several world leaders. Based upon his communication with Edom agents, specifically Elvis, this was in some ways not surprising.

Cal and Pascal decided the risk was worth it to breach the digital security of Pharaoh Imports and see what they could uncover. Cal’s abilities proved exceptionally valuable once again as they were able to bypass the measures set in place. They decided the best way they could get into meet with Shakti was to set up a meeting between a cover identity of Pascal’s, posing as an agent from Burdett’s Private Bankers, the underwriter for the caravan that they hit. The idea being that Pascal could get in to see Shakti and hope to drag him out to see some of the items that they uncovered – specifically the fake items.

While poking around on Shakti’s schedule, they looked for anything interesting, specifically, a day or so after the caravan hit. The most interesting name on Mr. Shakti’s agenda was that of Vendalla French, a name that was associated with the day book of Countess Margo Dolinz back in London. Whereas Ms. French held herself out as a buyer and seller of high-end furniture, the connection she seemed to have between Dolinz and Shakti could not be a coincidence, could it?

Meanwhile, Wolfgang got to work on creating an exact replica of the destroyed truck, focusing on the secret room that one contained, knowing that whatever was in there was the real prize Shakti was interested in. This would provide a distraction enough to trick Shakti if it came to it. beaufort was kind enough to allow the team to use a warehouse he had access to in Brussels for this very purpose.

Pascal got his meeting with Shakti, found the man to be polite, but imposing as he was a mysterious man of Egyptian origins. He was able to convince Shakti he was an agent of Burdett’s and later, when Shakti sent an appraiser out to investigate the warehouse scene (without the project Wolfgang was working on), he quickly determined they were fakes and reported back to Shakti. However, when Pascal communicated with Shakti that the team had also found and recovered the back end of one of the caravan trucks with the secret room intact, Shakti immediately sprung into action and said he would be there in 15 minutes.

The team waited at the warehouse for a much different meeting with Omar Shakti.

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Episode 20: Hidden Agendas

February 18th, 2018 – February 20th, 2018
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Cal Morrison, Wolfgang Fechtner and Vicente Rojas raced from the scene of the caravan ambush, still hearing the roaring fires behind them as well as the carnage that they caused. Movement had to be quick and decisive as it would only be a matter of time before Edom forces would arrive and hunt them down. Whereas Wolfgang had a vehicle parked nearby, hidden, they were likely not going to be able to make an easy go of it. So they entered the woods, hoping to double around and take the vehicle. However, since none of the men were trained in outdoor survival, they knew that trained Edom agents would be able to track them down. Attempts to contact Pascal Lerue and Illari Vassyl were also useless. For now they were truly on their own.

As they traveled through the forest, they made good time until Cal heard a shot ring out, fifty feet from him and then silence. Knowing that a true sniper would not have had their shot fly that far from the target, he investigated. Quietly crawling to the spot that was hit, another shot rang out, fifty more feet from him. Immediately, he suspected that someone was trying to guide him, rather than attack. He and Wolfgang and Vicente went to the location and found a stone with blood around it, and coordinates, written in blood on the rock. Realizing someone was trying to guide them, they checked the position and determined the coordinates corresponded to an inn not from from where they were and decided to cautiously approach.

The inn had an eerie silence as they approached. Whereas they saw a few autos in the parking lot, there was no sign of life, adding to the tension. When they entered, they noticed Napoleon Corsico, leader of the caravan they hit, silently having lunch and the rest of the restaurant deserted, but still plenty of food and plates on the tables as if the patrons had left in a hurry – or been escorted out. He welcomed them in to have a seat and that was when Vicente noticed blood stains around the room, indicated several people had likely been shot. Wolfgang noticed a figure in the kitchen, Gottfried Horst, the other leader of the caravan. Likely Horst was guarding whatever hostages were present.

Corsico explained there was little time to talk as things were moving quickly. He placed a sample of the same serum that was likely used back at the Hillingham House on the table, showing his was serious about their discussion. During the course of their conversation, Corsico, who happily and calmly continued to eat his sausage and drink his ale, stated that people would be extremely upset over what had happened with the caravan but that he, Corsico, smelled a rat. Several hours before the caravan was hit, his men were mysteriously switched out for less capable men, implying that someone, somewhere, was interested in the caravan being less than optimally equipped. But who and why? When asked what was in the back of the truck, he was uncertain as to what it was as he did not have orders to look at it at any time.

Corsico seemed wiling to address that at a later point but seemed interested in conducting other business. He suggested that the ‘book,’ clearly referring to the Dracula Dossier, was a dangerous thing to be in their hands and gave them the opportunity to hand it over to him, allowing them to walk away. When they refused, he offered something to make the deal even more attractive – he knew of the last known location of Aria Cardellini, the wife of Franco Selvaggio and sister of Luigi Cardellini. Since neither Franco nor Luigi were present, the information was not nearly as attractive. Whether or not Franco and Luigi would be informed of this would soon be seen.

Corsico again reiterated that whatever time they had was brief. And when Cal pressed him on the issue, Corsico was silent, allowing the large Axel Logistics trucks that pulled up outside to speak for him. Corsico remained calm but the others noticed several tactical agents emerge from the truck and take defensive positions around the building. Vicente bolted upstairs for a better view.

Within moments they heard a voice that yelled from a bullhorn, introducing himself as ‘Dr. Goodpasture.’ The name sent chills down Wolfgang’s spine as he knew that name – an expert interrogator and torturer in the service of numerous criminal outfits throughout Europe. Whereas Dr. Goodpasture instantly came off as a simpleton, Wolfgang assured the others that he was anything but. He was a dangerous and ruthless individual and they were all in great danger. Dr. Goodpasture suggested that they all had roughly ten minutes to make a decision or he and his friends would come into the inn, and it would, regrettably, not be a gentle meeting.

Within moments the group reacted quickly. Wolfgang grabbed the serum from the table and went to the kitchen, but was rebuffed by Horst, resulting in gunfire. Corsico shot Cal, Wolfgang shot Horst and instantly the tactical team outside began to enter the building. The situation became extremely hot but within a few moments, the group managed to escape, but with nowhere to really go. A shot ran out, saving Vicente from being attacked by men out back and Cal got a notification from his ally, Fox Schillnger, who stated help was nearby but they had to act quickly.

Still unaware of the benefactor that had helped fell some of the Edom forces, the group thought better of looking too deeply fro the favor. Instead, Cal checked his communicator and found another message from Fox, providing coordinates. Upon following the lead, with Edom in hot pursuit through the forest, they came across a pair of snowmobiles and made their escape, with Edom still giving chase.

While making their escape, Cal managed to wreck his vehicle and the three had to share one single one. As they got further from Edom, traveling through the forest, they eventually came across a gold course, stole a vehicle and made their way into the city of Liege. They were hurt, shot and exhausted, but Wolfgang managed to get them a hotel where they could rest and recuperate, while Cal did what he could to lower the threat assessment that they had raised.

It was at that point that they had the opportunity to review the document they had taken from the caravan, the Elvis Caravan Memo. As they reviewed the document, some interesting clues were gleaned, least of all the supposition that Vicente put forth that based upon the wording and based upon the events that transpired, was it possible that Elvis had set up the caravan to be attacked and destroyed? He was clearly hesitant to hand over whatever asset was being transported. Was it better, for Elvis, that the shipment was destroyed? Further, who was it going to? Evidence suggested the most logical individual was one Omar Shakti, the owner of Pharaoh Imports. Mr. Shakti was either part of Edom or was about to be brought in and as a result was likely someone they would want to investigate.

meanwhile Cal sent a note to Fox thanking him for his assistance as well as asking about the clans. Fox stated that Lou Mangiotti was holding up his end of the bargain by giving Fox unfettered access to data in Bucharest and he also had an update on the Mirga Clanuri as well as the Ruvari Szgany. It seemed as if the two clans were both using wolves and . . . possible Vampires to exact force on their enemies. Whatever was going on in Bucharest, the two clans were deeply involved.

A massive review of the data had the team trying to uncover the identities of numerous conspirators, attempting to determine their next move, attempting to determine future actions and alliances. It was a quagmire of conspiracies as well as endless possible leads: the contacts at the Vatican, Sigmund Walther, Tabitha Holmwood, and even the relationship with the mysterious Russian deputy press secretary, Svetlana Tovorsky. But before they could act on any of it, they would have to meet up with the rest of the team and connect with the mysterious Dr. Oskar Beaufort.

At was at that moment, however, that the unthinkable happened. Wolfgang got a ‘hit’ on the triggers he had placed to see if the Munich Dead House Red Room had been breached. Something had entered.

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Episode 19: What's In the Box?

February 15th – February 18th, 2018

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Elaborate plans were the order of the day, as Cal Morrison worked tirelessly to route and reroute the caravan of Axel Logistics trucks headed for Brussels. Whatever scheme this was, it was the intent for Elvis to send a shipment of some kind to a contact in the Belgian city. Cal and the rest of the team were determined to ensure this shipment did not get where it was intended to go.

As Cal worked on rerouting the caravan to a location more in line for an ambush, Pascal Lereue made contact with an ally in the CIA, Kelly Reynolds. Agent Reynolds was able to activate a cell of CIA trained Hungarian operatives with para-military training to serve with Pascal and the team. And, of course, Vicente Rojas was able to get his hands on an RPG . . . to make their job that much easier. Further, Cal’s drones and the dampening equipment he set up nearby, it was intended to cut off the communication that the caravan would inevitably need. The light snow on the ground and the frigid cold would certainly work to their advantage.

After spending several days going through the plan with each other as well as their muscle acquired from agent Reynolds, the team got into position on a back road leading to Brussels. With Luigi Cardellini positioned on a high ridge with a 50. caliber sniper rifle, and Wolfgang Fechtner in control of a large garbage truck hidden off to the side, the team began to execute their plan.

The plan went off well, at first, as they were able to take out the lead vehicle and quickly disable to other vehicles in mere moments. However, it was not long before complications set in and several of the hired muscle was taken out as well as Cal’s drones. But with persistence, the team was able to flush out most of the Edom operatives from the vehicles.

Napolean Corsico and Gottfried Horst, the two leaders of the operation seemed to go in separate directions when it was clear that the investigators had superior firepower. However, Illari Vasly noticed one of the agents and through the scope of his rifle, identified her, instantly. It was Katrina Vladova, his old partner who had disappeared in a failed operation against the Russians. Illari had assumed the worst about her and had always felt a pang of guilt over what he assumed had happened to her. When she was shot, and crawled under a van, Illari immediately went to aid, seeing what he could do.

Meanwhile, despite the knocked out communications that the caravan was experiencing, they still, somehow, managed to send some kind of distress signal and a VTOL in the employ of Edom arrived on the scene, strafing every enemy they could detect. It was clear Edom was not giving up the caravan without a fight. However, Luigi was able to place a shot into the engine of the VTOL sending it into evasive measures.

The team knew they had a small amount of time to investigate the back of the middle truck of the caravan. Wolfgang had plans to try and get the truck out but due to the damage it had taken as well as the carnage on the narrow road would make getting the vehicle out of the area unlikely without attracting significant Edom attention.

Cal jumped in the back of the truck and noticed that there was a room built within the truck. Illari was horrified at the idea that it could have been a mobile Red Room but when Cal examined it, it seemed as if the frame around the door leading to the room was covered in Egyptian sigils and runes that, as he quickly translated, seemed to indicate that they were some kind of incantation keeping whatever was inside, inside the room. The likelihood of it being a mobile Red Room, was thankfully, diminished, but whatever horrors was within could be far, far worse. But the pressure to open the boxed room was weighing on Cal, as if there was something calling to him from beyond.

However, in a strange turn of events, a truck rumbled up with Red Cross signage. And from the truck came the driver, Dr. Oskar Beaufort, the eccentric scientist whom the team had encountered twice before the past few months. Waving his arms wildly and gesturing for Illari, (whom he seemed to be specifically targeting), he yelled that there was a small amount of time before the ‘enemy’ arrived. How he seemed to find the team and how he managed to get to them was something of a mystery. However, Illari and Pascal seemed unwilling to ignore an escape route. They managed to extract some of the soldiers they had, as well as Katrina, and got into the Red Cross van, quickly donning Red Cross uniforms. Dr. Beaufort stated he would explain everything later but he had a safehouse they could use. When gesturing for Wolfgang, Vicente and Cal, they insisted upon staying with the Edom van and tried to make an escape. However, the road they took would soon be blocked by an oncoming Edom rescue team. Wolfgang decided the best option was to wreck the truck and ram the oncoming vehicles, destroying whatever it was in the back, in the process.

Wolfgang gave the order that he was destroying the vehicle, but Cal was reluctant as he knew whatever was in the back would be a fascinating find, however dangerous it might be. Nevertheless, Cal decided against opening the door and making his escape, instead. The last thing he and Vicente managed to grab before they left was a metal clipboard with a document inside. The document ended up being a precious clue as it was the Elvis Caravan Memo. including a mysterious reference to something called the Van Brunt Protocol.

As the team led by Cal, Wolfgang and Vicente fled into the woods, the team with Illari, Pascal and Luigi fled in Dr. Beaufort’s Red Cross truck, heading towards his safehouse, which he mentioned was in the coastal city of Oostende. There, he said, they would be safe, and he would explain what he knew. Cal, Wolfgang and Vicente would have to move through the woods and find a way out. The snow and frozen wind would prove to be a hazard with which they would have to contend.

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Episode 18: Whatever it Takes

February 6th, 2018 – February 11th, 2018

Still waiting the warehouse that Levi provided to the team, Franco Selvaggio desperately needed medical attention from the injuries he had suffered dealing with the terrorist cell. Vicente Rojas and Cal Morrison were unsure where Wolfgang Fechtner had gone and were in need of Illari Vasyl who had also gone off grid. However, their prayers were answered when Luigi Cardellini spotted Illari approaching with someone else. A quick check determined it was none other than Pascal Lerue, the man who had originally brought them all together.

As Illari quickly went to tend to Franco’s wounds, Cal brought he and Pascal up to speed on what was happening, specifically, the prisoners they had upstairs, one of which being Haluk Ozturk. Cal, livid that COS Lou Mangiotti seemingly double crossed them on the deal, was unsure what the best next steps were but for now they had to lay low. But time was limited because, if what Ozturk said was true, he was being relentless chased through the Middle East and Europe by some sinister force.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang had found his way to the bar that one of the river clans operated, where Marika Skinsky normally frequented. Figuring that she could help him avoid the heat, he tried to send her a message. But before she could arrive, the entire building was surrounded by Bucharest police, including their special tactical teams, doing a sweep of the area. Wolfgang was caught up in their dragnet and carted away. However, when they got to the police station, everyone in the back of the truck was led out except for him. The police put a bag over his head and took him elsewhere.

After an hour of traveling, the destination was reached. Wolfgang was taken out of the truck and drug to a basement. When the hood was removed from his head, he was in a long corridor with bullet holes and blood stains on the wall behind him, clearly once the site of several firing squads, sanctioned or not. A figure behind a door began to speak with him. The figure, while polite, was also firm. He explained that Hopkins was a liar and a dangerous individual who was desperate to be relevant. If Hopkins was truly a friend, he would not have gotten the investigators involved in a game they could not win. The man also suggested that people who Wolfgang loved could be hurt. After all, certain individuals could develop a taste for their blood . . .

Wolfgang managed to keep it together but obviously he was rattled. The man suggested that if things went differently, he could find a place for Wolfgang and his friends in his organization but the Dracula Dossier would have to be delivered to him. The man was impressed at the level of quality Wolfgang had put into the forgery he had passed off to Hamilton Hoyt and his associates in The Union after all. The man gave Wolfgang a burner phone to contact him later but cautioned his kindness and mercy was a one time offer. If they had to meet under such circumstances again, the situation would go much differently. Much differently.

After Wolfgang was dumped on the streets of Bucharest, he contacted the team and Illari went out to pick him up while he was out purchasing a silver solution he was going to adminisiter to Ozturk. When the two returned to their safe house, they debriefed with Pascal who revealed that the individual with whom Wolfgang was speaking was most likely the Duke of Edom known as Elvis. It was at this point that Pascal revealed the trove of information he had gathered on Elvis, one piece being a shipment that Elvis was interested in – something coming from Egypt to Brussels that he seemed interested in.

Cal knew that they either had to release Ozturk or kill him as they no longer needed him and merely being around him was a liability. The silver based solution that Illari administered was, hopefully, going to act as a bane to Vampires, specifically the one that was chasing him, possibly Dracula himself. They all agreed to contact Lou Mangiotti and try to negotiate a trade in exchange for either safe passage of information.

Upon contacting Magiotti, Cal was livid over the mess that had happened in Bucharest. Mangiotti was upset, as well, as explained his agents were not ordered to kill Cal’s team (evidenced by the fact that they shot at the tires and not at people) but explained that their intent was for Cal’s team to try and intercept Ozturk but let him escape. It had to seem real so Mangiotti’s men actually wanted the team to fail and let Ozturk to escape so they could follow him to the next link in the terrorist pipeline. Cal questioned Mangiotti on Elvis and Edom and did not really seem to know much about either, and Cal believed him. Of course, Mangiotti lost interest in Cal’s ravings when the mention of Vampires came up. However, in the end, the two men seemed to calm down and come to an agreement. Cal would turn over Ozturk and in return, Mangiotti would provide Fox Schillnger with more breadth, Mangiotti would give Cal access to Adam ‘The Cyclops’ Cylinksi, and he would make good on his promise to set Cal up with the bona fides to meet with his shady criminal contact. The contact, Sigmund Walther, was likely someone who could help them – for a steep price. But he would set up a meet when Cal wanted one but warned that dealing with Walther would be a dark experience.

Whereas the heat was still on in Bucharest, there were a number of things that still were open ended. They felt that there were investigations still warranted at Bichi National Bank, Heal the Children as well as the possible link to Vatican City’s Teutonic Cemetery and then there was the fascinating option of Pascal’s Egypt to Brussels shipment that Elvis seemed interested in. In the end, they decided getting what Elvis wanted or destroying it could land a nasty blow, even though it would attract his wrath. Pascal did, however, throw in one more complication – if and when they went to Vatican City, he was fairly certain he had an ‘in’ with an individual who could point them in the right direction of an item he was interested in and had been chasing down for some time – the fabled Spear of Longinus, an item, if real, could certainly be a legitimate weapon against vampires and even Dracula, himself.

However, in the end, the team decided the best plan was to hit the Axel Logistics shipment to Brussels. This had to be something that would complicate Elvis’ life. In the meantime, Wolfgang checked the details on Javed Al-Pari, the contact that Ozturk was supposed to hand over the coordinates to, and discovered he was on the radar of several intelligence organizations.

The group decided to investigate everything they could on the Egyptian shipment. Cal and Pascal worked together to find that the only thing that was likely the shipment was a shipment of Egyptian artifacts but was likely being guarded by two Edom trained teams. Fortunately, Cal was able to slip in and change the route to something more manageable for the team to hit.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang and Franco made a midnight run to Italy where they decided to raid the Cardellini armory, a well hidden cache of weapons that would likely come in useful to the Egyptian shipment hit. However, they ran into a pair of guards who were watching over the shipment. Spying on them for a moment, they were clearly not intelligence operatives but were working for someone who was clearly female and mentioned some kind of ‘predictive’ powers. Whether these were arcane or mundane in nature was not clear. Unfortunately a peaceful solution could not be gained and the two had a shoot out which resulted in only getting a few of the weapons needed.

Vicente and Illari set up a meet with Natalia Constantin in Bucharest to get more weapons and Cal set up a deal with Fox to get body armor. While meeting with the eccentric and likely insane Natalia, they were able to negotiate the deal with her but Illari snapped under the pressure of some of her comments regarding ‘shooting down commercial planes’ something that sensitive to Illari’s past. Vicente’s quick thinking and negotiation skills managed to calm the situation without it escalating to violence but Illari was unable to continue, stepping outside as Vicente impressed the young arms dealer.

Things were certainly falling into place.

But for whom?

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Episode 17: I've Got a Semi

February 3rd, 2018 – February 6th, 2018

Fortunately for Cal Morrison, he had several contacts in the Bucharest area, one of which was the mysterious Fox Schillnger, an analyst with the CIA who was notorious for being a kook and a conspiracy theorist, but also for his sheer brilliance at seeing patterns and visions in the data that he had collected. Cal knew that if anyone would be able to make some sense of things, it would be Fox and since he was predisposed to believe in oddities, he was the perfect man with whom to meet.

Lou Mangiotti knew that Cal and Fox were close and therefore decided to use Fox as the handler for the mission that Cal and the team decided to take, namely that of apprehending the suspected terrorist, Haluk Ozturk, a man on the run and spotted in Bucharest. Since Ozturk was suspected to be proficient in making so-called dirty bombs, his apprehension and interrogation was a priority.

A few days after Cal’s meeting with Mangiotti, he, Wolfgang Fechtner and Franco Selvaggio went to the appointed location to meet up with Fox to get their briefing as well as allow Cal the opportunity to speak with his old friend om other matters. Meanwhile Luigi Cardellini and Vicente Rojas waited back at their secret location, working on securing and unloading the weapons cache they received from Natalia Constantin.

It did not take long for Fox to demonstrate his eccentric behavior or show his desire to discuss unusual or strange patterns. They began, however, by discussing the Ozturk situation. Fox explained that Ozturk was a terrorist on the run, having fled Istanbul and was currently linked up with a cell in Bucharest. This was the perfect opportunity to scoop him up and send him off to a black site interrogation location to see what he knew. The data that had been collected so far, showed his connections were nearby, and the cell was using a couple of blocks of abandoned tenements. The group had close to a dozen men at any given time and it was clear the group was nervous and interested in protecting Ozturk.

After the official briefing, Cal asked about other things going on in the city and hinted there was something bigger happening, widespread that included the terrorist investigations, Heal the Children, Bichi National Bank, and the London bombings around Christmas. He suggested that some of the activity was centralized to some of the Romanian Mafia clans in and around Bucharest, specifically the Mirga Clanuri as well as the Ruvari Szgany. Call asked Fox to check into the clans, ‘’off-books’ and report back when he could. Fox said that wouldn’t be a problem, since Mangiotti had pulled him off his usual assignment, Bichi Bank, and had compartmentalized everything in Bucharest Station for the past few months. Fox also volunteered another piece of data; Mangiotti had gotten an important visitor the other day, a deputy press secretary for Russian president Vikto Petrov. The press secretary, Svetlana Tovorsky, was known to the team as Franco had run into her at a Heal the Children event, in London, the night of the London Bombings around Christmas.

Concluding their meeting, they went back to their safe house and worked on their equipment, impressed at the level of quality Constantin had given them. In their spare time, they reviewed the files on Ozturk they had been given.

The following day while getting their equipment ready and again looking at the Ozturk assignment, Wolfgang had a call. It was unknown with caller ID and when he answered it was a voice that, while disguised, claimed to be Hopkins. Whereas Cal tried to trace the call, the skill Hopkins had was able to prevent himself from being located.

Hopkins related the following information:

  • Hopkins was alive but regretted the death of Samantha Anderson
  • Obviously, Hopkins was in grave danger so secrecy was a must
  • Hopkins trusted Wolfgang and the team with the infamous Dracula Dossier
  • Bucharest was currently crawling with Edom agents
  • Edom had recently employed the notorious Hamilton Hoyt and his organization The Union to likely try and track down the team

However, when Wolfgang put Hopkins on speaker and Franco was able to hear, there was something that caught his attention – the fact that Hopkins used the word ‘only’ an excessive amount, and even in some odd places. He then recalled that when he first read the Hopkins Note, there was something similar. When Hopkins disconnected the call, he mentioned this to the others and they realized it was likely some kind of clue. It was at this point that Cal and Franco began pouring over everything they could and Wolfgang and Vicente went out to the location to observe the activities of the terrorist cell with which Ozturk was currently connected.

The observations that they made seemed to confirm much of what the CIA field analyst’s report had said – the group was nervous, more so at night and they seldom ventured forth. However, they suspected that capturing one of their errand boys and replacing him with a disguised member of their own group would be key in gaining access to the apartments. But before they could relay this information, Vicente noticed a truck pull up and several men get out. Upon observing the activities from across the street, Vicente not only noticed a strange robed figure in the apartments but one of the men who arrived on the scene was none other than Alfanso Gomez, a bitter enemy of his from his days in the narcotics trafficking rings back in Columbia. Gomez was a member of FARC and a highly dangerous individual. His presence in Bucharest was astonishing and it took everything he had from opening fire on this brutal individual who was responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Wolfgang, noticing the strange behavior from Vicente, immediately called in the others to get to their location as things could go poorly.

By the time the others had arrived, Gomez’s business with the terrorists was over and he had left but they decided they would use this turn of events to act quickly against Ozturk and change the plan Mangiotti had put forth since Cal wanted Ozturk for himself, to conduct his own interrogation before – or instead of – turning him over to Mangiotti.

Early the next day, they executed their plan, replacing one of the errand runners with Franco and positioning the others to the roof to come in and take Ozturk. However, the plan held until the mysterious robed person, revealed later as a woman, noticed the inconsistency with Franco. As she attacked Franco and alerted the others in her cell, Vicente, Wolfgang and Cal took action. It seemed that through the chatter, they were suggesting that Ozturk flee to their garage and since Cal had done extensive research into the location, he knew exactly where they were headed.

Franco, Wolfgang and Vicente were able to take out the robed assassin but not before she had dealt a crippling blow to Franco. Luigi Cardellini approached the empty street with his van but when Cal arrived at the garage, he noticed two men with submachine guns waiting and a semi-truck revved up, likely with Ozturk in the back, trying to make their escape. As the semi rolled out, Cal took out one of the gunmen but the other prevented him from stopping the truck. Luigi picked him up in the van and as the semi rolled past the others, Wolfgang jumped on board, but Franco and Vicente quickly got into the van to give chase to the semi. However, as the van followed through the streets of Bucharest, the back of the semi opened and several gunmen, including Ozturk, were in the back, trying to gun down Luigi, driving the van.

As the semi rolled through the streets of Bucharest with insane reckless speed, Luigi and the others followed closely, taking out the two gun men in the back. However, Cal got a call from Mangiotti, furious that the plan had gone awry and demanded to know where Cal was and that their team should pull out. Cal hung up on him and within a few blocks CIA agents were also apart of the chase in their own sedan. It is when the CIA attempted to take out Luigi’s tires that Cal became furious, suspecting they were pawns the whole time.

Wolfgang saw that they were getting close to the docks and suspected Ozturk was trying to make his escape via speedboat. He used a grenade to blow the connection between the cab of the truck and the trailer. As the explosion detonated, the police were in hot pursuit but Cal had taken out the CIA vehicle that was on their tail as well. As the police tried to close in on the semi, the driver abandoned and Wolfgang took over, aiming the truck for the icy river, knowing that the cold February air was not going to be his ally.

Meanwhile, in the confusion, the team picked up a stunned Ozturk, turning a stun gun on him and loading him in the van. They his in a parking garage, switched vehicles and Franco made connections with someone he knew in the area, Levi, a street girl and protest organizer who was well connected in the underground movements in eastern Europe. Franco was badly hurt, the team had prisoners and they needed a place to hide. Levi was the best option for the time being.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang located the speedboat that Ozturk was likely heading towards, and climbed aboard, getting rid of the lone agent and sped off, determined to meet up with the team later. But first, he needed safety and needed to get warm as the cold water and February temperatures were going to quickly be lethal. So he went to the club that Marika Skinsky frequented, hoping to find allies there.

It was evident that Levi would likely be uncomfortable with the idea of torture, so despite how hurt Franco was, he took her on a walk, often limping along as they talked. This left Luigi, Cal and Vicente alone with Ozturk and a handful of questions.

Astonishingly, Ozturk revealed that whereas he did have some experience with bombs, he was hardly the ‘expert’ Mangiotti suggested he was, and had virtually no experience with dirty bombs – clearly the jacket on Ozturk had been altered, making him out to be a much more dangerous person than he actually was. He mentioned that his prior cell, in Istanbul, was attacked by a lone, demonic figure, late one night that slaughtered everyone in a bloody and ruthless fashion with Ozturk as the only survivor, escaping while the others were slaughtered. Ozturk had been on the run for several weeks and he was convinced that this evil creature was following him from city to city. He explained that through his connections, he had been in touch with representatives of one Omar Shakti, who gave him a code to pass on to someone in Rome, an individual named Javed Al-Pari.

When the team analyzed the code, they instantly recognized it was co-ordinates and Cal quickly discovered that they were the co-ordinates for a location in Vatican City, the Teutonic Cemetery. However, Ozturk had no idea that these codes were for a location and had likely never even heard of the Tuetonic Cemetery.

Satisfied they had gotten what they could out of Ozturk, they were still unsure what to do with him for the time being. On one hand, this was a valuable prize, as Mangiotti clearly wanted him but on the other hand, there was some demonic creature relentlessly chasing after him through eastern Europe. Would they be prepared to defend him from this creature or was it better to cut their losses and go? Or was it better to hand him over to Mangiotti, with whom Cal was still angry over what had happened.

The group turned to the code that Franco seemed to pick up when talking to Hopkins. There was something about the word ‘only’ that stuck out. Trying to figure out which terms or sentences came after the word was a dead end but then Cal remembered the strange turn of phrase that individuals of Indian decent used. They tended, when translating into English, peppered the conversation with ‘only’ much as Hopkins has done. So was it that Hopkins was from India or perhaps someone who had grown up in India? This was certainly an interesting development as the chasm opened wider for the clues of the Dracula Dossier.

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Episode 16: Old Friends

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.

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Episode 15: High Stakes

January 23rd, 2018 – January 27th, 2018

The plan was simple. Get into the Casino Wein in Vienna and make contact with the criminals who had kidnapped Luigi Cardellini and exchange the forged Dracula Dossier for Cardellini. Whatever the kidnappers had planned, they were keeping their plan tight.

Ilari Vassyl and Vicente Rojas were positioned in a hotel across the street from the casino while Cal Morrison awaited in their white van outside, monitoring activity. Franco Selvaggio would go inside and Wolfgang Fechtner would act as backup. Almost immediately, Cal noticed another van pull up which had all the trappings of an Edom team. Cal was unclear what Edom was doing here or whether or not they were running the operation. But Cal had one asset in play that nobody else was even aware of: he had connections in the casino. The casino manager owed him and the CIA and he used this opportunity to call in that favor. A well-placed, trained asset was positioning herself inside the casino with training in electronic surveillance and tradecraft, awaiting further instructions.

As wandered the casino, wearing the special clothes he was told to wear, he was eventually approached by a mysterious figure who invited him upstairs for ‘high stakes’ games. The mysterious figure, later identified as Jakub Pekar, led Franco to the elevator as Wolfgang watched the activities transpire. Pekar had the elevator guard take them to the top of the casino where only the highest of rollers operated and the amount of money won or lost was legendary. Fortunately, this was exactly where Cal had his asset positioned.

Arriving upstairs, Franco was brought to a shadowy back room with a dealer and several other individuals who may or may not have been playing cards. Whereas many of the figures in the room seemed nefarious and ‘connected,’ there were several that stood out. The man at the head of the table introduced himself as Hamilton Hoyt, a former CIA operative who had gone rogue, forming his own criminal intelligence network, The Union, as well as his bodyguard Athena Mykanos. But most shocking was the appearance of Elizabeth Cavanaugh, someone who was once close to Franco but clear was the one who had sold him out and compromised Luigi Cardellini. However, Elizabeth also told him that she had tried to warn him back in London when they met at the Hooker’s Boot that she wanted him in on a project but he rebuffed her. Perhaps next time he would take her more seriously.

The negotiations were tense and during the discussion, Franco asked for a sign of good faith from the ruthless Hoyt. It was at that point that she showed a laptop with a video feed of a man tied to a chair and a bag over his head. A woman (later identified as Tekla Lueschech) stood guard over him. It was at this point that Cal’s gamble paid off – the card dealer in the room, on Cal’s payroll, fed the feed to Cal out in the van. Cal was then able to begin to trace the location of the video which was a warehouse across town. He immediately dispatched Ilari and Vicente to the location to release the man.

Back in the high stakes room, Hoyt demanded to know where the Dracula Dossier was and Elizabeth Cavanaugh also tried to push, a little more softly. To prove his point, Hoyt made a call to have one of Luigi’s fingers removed. This prompted Franco to alert Wolfgang, who had the forged Dracula Dossier to come up to the high stakes room.

After Wolfgang arrived and showed them the Dracula Dossier – which nobody in the room noticed was a forgery – it was then that Hoyt invited everyone to an elevator and took them to the basement where they encountered a man tied to a chair, with a bag over his head, guarded by a gunman.

Meanwhile, across town, Vicente and Illari found the warehouse where the feed was coming from where they assumed Luigi was being kept. Breaching the warehouse, they quickly encountered the guard, Lueschech. After shooting Vicente, Illari jumped in and fought with the brutal assailant, giving Vicente enough time to move through the warehouse and find Luigi. Vicente removed the hood and untied him and then they all made their escape while Lueschech was stunned under a create.

Back at the casino, Hoyt removed the hood from Luigi (a second Luigi?) and Franco seemed grateful even though Luigi seemed to be missing a finger. Hoyt then released them through a basement exit. Outside, Cal saw the presumed Edom van on the move as he got the call from Vicente that Luigi was safe. When Cal called Franco and discovered that they, also, had Luigi, Cal held off his panic and subtly informed Franco of the problem.

Cal coordinated the extraction of Franco, Wolfgang and Luigi and pulled up with the van, avoiding the Edom team. Wolfgang took over driving duties as they began to navigate the tight streets, avoiding the Edom van. But it was not long before they noticed they were also being tracked by one of Hoyt’s agents, Mykanos, trying to find them with her sportscar. Likely Hoyt had been alerted to the liberation of the other Luigi across town.

The cat and mouse pursuit that Mykanos gave them was stressful as Wolfgang realized he was dealing with someone his equal or better. However, just as she was able to intercept him and the team, Wolfgang changed tactics and slammed into her car, putting her off balance. But it was at this point that the Luigi in the van, dropped his ‘disguise,’ as he revealed himself to be a ravenous vampire with fangs. What occurred next was purely nightmarish.

At a breakneck speed with reckless abandon, Wolfgang drove the van down the streets of Vienna, quickly trying to evade not only Mykanos, but also the Vienna police. Of course, this was made all the more difficult as the vampire in the back of the van ravenously attacked Cal and Franco, while taking swipes at Wolfgang. The gunfire inside the van as well as the shots that were taken by Mykanos in pursuit made it a miracle that they were not killed. Of course, when Vicente, Illari and the real Luigi came onto the scene firing from their own car, the entire area was utter chaos. Mykanos lost control of her vehicle and Vicente did, as well, allowing Wolfgang the room to smash into the police but also slide the van with such force that the vampire was tossed from the back. Of course, by this point the cars were destroyed, they were taking on heat and needed to go underground. They quickly made their way to a safehouse that Wolfgang recalled from several years ago and figured they would be safe for a day or two.

They rested, regrouped and talked it out. Luigi demanded answers of what was going on and Franco let him in on details – more details than Cal was likely comfortable with. It was Luigi that then revealed that he had been lured by Elizabeth Cavanaugh and turned over to Hamilton Hoyt’s organization, The Union. Of course, since this was the first that Cal was hearing of Hoyt’s involvement, this raised concerns, as Cal and Hoyt had a shared past in the CIA. If Hoyt and The Union was involved, this certainly raised the stakes of what was going on. The good news was that Luigi was committed to throwing his support behind the operation. Whereas he may or may not have believed the strange stories of Vampires and other strange paranormal activity, he knew something was going on and wanted to help. A brief once over, told Cal that Luigi was competent and Franco reinforced the idea that Luigi had experience in the world of crime and espionage.

Monitoring the news and the various police bands, Interpol and other local authorities were on the lookout for Wolfgang as well as Franco and Luigi. Someone behind the scenes was pushing their faces and identities. When Cal did a back trace to see who or what was responsible, he found that it was someone back in London, likely GCHQ. His first thought was it was Lord Godalming. Nevertheless, Cal tried to push back and lower the trouble they were facing, by trying to bury the alerts pushed upon them by unknown forces.

The group then decided they had to go to Bucharest and meet up with Natalia Constantin, as she had a cache of supplies and weapons for them set up by Radu Leutner. Constantin’s reputation was nefarious and that she was likely crazy but she was an excellent connection for arms and equipment. The trip was uneventful but upon getting to the rough neighborhood outside of Bucharest where they were to meet Constantin, they entered the strip club where she was waiting.

Getting inside and approaching Constantin, she was already high on Vint, her drug of choice, shooting dice with her underlings. It was clear she had a solid relationship with the staff at the club and was generous with her money. She attempted to shake Cal down for a higher rate but didn’t push it when he endeared himself to her, especially when he offered her more Vint, especially higher quality than she had been taking. After making pleasantries with her and the promise of going down to Bucharest for a far more wild time, she took them outside, opened her rig on the side of the road and handed off their crates, in full view of anyone who wanted to see, demonstrating she seemed to work without fear of anyone at all.

With their equipment in hand, they now planned to work more of the Bucharest angle as there were numerous leads to follow up on.

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Episode 14: From the Mouths of Babes

January 19th, 2018 – January 22nd, 2018

Franco Selvaggo awoke after a night of passion with Tabitha Holmwood, to see her getting dressed, preparing to leave for the day. Before leaving, she bent down to caress him, tenderly, and explained that whatever trouble she had gotten herself into, she felt that only Franco could help her. Otherwise the men she was dealing with would kill her – men working with Cemal Gusal She departed, quietly pleading for him to make sure she would be safe.

Meanwhile, Ilari Vasyl spent the day researching more of the Dracula Dossier, attempting to find any links in the book with Munich. They had already investigated the Dead House and before they left wanted to ensure that they had discovered and investigated any other leads. Two such leads did transpire. First, Dracula references the Old Pinakothek museum and second, Dolingen Tomb. Both locations could be worth checking out as it was increasingly likely that the Countess Margo Dolinz they were familiar with in London, was one in the same with Countess Dolingen of the novel.

Taking the lead, Wolfgang Fechtner spent the morning with Cal Morrison, tracking the money associated with Countess Dolinz as well as researching the lineage of the Dolingen fortune. It was discovered that the money from the Dolingen fortune went to become invested in various banks throughout Europe, many of these banks eventually consumed by the group that would form Bichi National Bank, an organization of which Countess Dolinz currently sat upon the board.

It was at this point that the team decided to investigate Dolingen Tomb in Munich. Perhaps it had secrets to reveal.

Franco then received a phone call on one of his seldom used burner phones. The mysterious voice was clear in specific instructions. The voice on the phone claimed to have Luigi Cardellini, a lost friend of Franco’s (and his brother-in law). The mysterious voice on the phone insisted that Franco had ‘the text’ (obviously meaning the Dracula Dossier). In order to get Luigi’s safe return, Franco was to come to Vienna in two days’ time and come to the Casino Wein, wearing a specific cut of clothing so he could be recognized. Without hesitation, Wolfgang began making a forgery of the Dracula Dossier, hoping his expertise in occult books would be able to make a good enough fake, at least to be able to fool the kidnappers. Franco, distraught, needed something to pass the time.

It was then that the group made their way to the cemetery where Dolingen Tomb was located. Wolfgang, however, stayed behind, destroying copies of Dracula in order to create his forgery, as they were under serious time constraints.

At the cemetery, Cal Morrison discovered more surveillance cameras, similar to the ones near Hillingham House, finding that the feed went back to BND headquarters. Ilari Vasyl and Vicente Rojas scoped the rest of the area out before Franco breached the mausoleum where the countess supposedly was kept. Of course, everyone noticed the inscription, in Russian, reading The Dead Travel Fast.

Eventually, they all discovered the tomb empty but not without secrets. A secret door was discovered in the sarcophagus that lead to a cavern far below the earth. The team discovered that there was a small network of tunnels and even what appeared to be furniture in some of the deeper caves. But they were shocked to discover a vampiric entity, taking the form of a young boy, as well as his Ghoul servants.

A major altercation broke out between the ghouls and the vampire, later identifying himself as Berthold Dolingen. The team managed to destroy the ghouls and force Berthold to flee but not before Berthold was able to bite deeply into Ilari’s neck. The wound was horrific and one of the worst ones they had seen since starting the investigation. For the vampire child’s fang-filled mouth was just as potent as any weapon they had yet encountered.

Once Ilari was brought back to the hotel, they discovered that the wound was worsening and experimenting with rubbing Vanderpool Garlic on the wound resulted in intense pain on Ilari’s part. Ilari suddenly knew he was entering the first stages of the disease of vampirism. Once Franco found this out, the group was on the verge of panic. However, Franco was able to recall an ally he knew in the area, Magda Paz.

Magda had extensive experience in matters best described as ‘the occult’ as well as her background placing her as something of a field medic. Franco had long dismissed her as a pretty face and a crackpot but now, based upon everything he had dealt with in the past few weeks, he had a new found respect for the woman.

Upon arriving, the mysterious Ms. Paz looked at Ilari and immediately began putting up what seemed like supernatural barriers and protections but handed Vicente a wooden stake, indicating that it could ‘come to this.’ Ms. Paz did what she could but quickly determined she needed further assistance, contacting someone else she knew. After a few hours, she ally arrived, and much to the surprise of the rest of the team, they came to face to face with Dr. Oskar Beaufort, the mysterious medical researcher they met in connection with the Caldwell Foundation.

Dr. Beaufort sent Franco to a local hospital to steal a variety of medical devices and other equipment he needed. However, Dr. Beaufort seemed to view Ilari’s condition with a mixture of fascination and horror, taking extensive notes, perhaps for his own research. While Ilari gained the benefit of Dr. Beaufort’s work and Franco’s stolen labors, Cal wanted a few words with Dr. Beaufort.

The two spoke at lengths, with Dr. Beaufort being very tight about his research but suggested that there was some help they may be able to provide to one another. Dr. Beaufort needed some ‘field work’ done and in return would consider providing some chemicals that would be of value to Cal and the team. As a sign of good faith, he handed Cal some of of his Experimental Serum, or at least a strain of it. He suggested that this contained some important healing properties that would act as an emergency in the field to restore lost vitality. However, Dr. Beaufort warned that it had some side effects that would be magnified by prolonged exposure to it. But if the team was willing to conduct some clandestine work for him, he could provide more. He would be in touch. He and Ms. Paz spoke privately before he left but once Ilari was back on track to restored health, he departed to parts unknown.

Before Ms. Paz left, she provided Franco with a necklace that she claimed would give limited protection to whomever wore it, defending them from further vampire bites. However, she cautioned that the necklace was weakened and would only defend from a few limited attacks.

With that, she left, leaving the team to let Ilari heal. However, this was very limited time as they had to make the trip to Vienna and hope that Wolfgang’s forgery would be able to convince the kidnappers to exchange it for Luigi Cardellini whose life was clearly in jeopardy.

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Episode 13: The Dirt on Tabitha

January 11th, 2018 – January 18th, 2018

Flashback
Several years ago . . .

As Ilari Vasyl delivered another lost girl to the Munich flat of Dr. Ilsa Sabine, they strengthened their bond for the good fight against human trafficking. Sabine informed Vasyl of the growing operation of Vasile Chitul, and just how many women he had under his control. She also informed Vasyl that there was another man, a far more violent man, that Vasyl should connect with – Vicente Rojas – who was capable of more direct action in the liberation of these lost girls. Sabine reassured Vasyl that she would always have an open door for him and whomever needed saving.

End Flashback

Wolfgang Fechtner noticed the BND tail outside the Munich hotel where the team was staying. In order to get any business done, they would have to shake it, so Fechtner led the two men on a slow trail through the city, allowing Franco Selvaggio, Ilari Vasyl and Vicente Rojas to head to the Munich nightclub where Tabitha Holmwood would surely be, in an attempt to make contact with her. Cal Morrison waited back at the hotel to keep an eye on things there.

Upon arriving at the nightclub, Franco used his charm and connections to surround themselves with party girls and blend in with the scenery. He and Vasyl noticed Tabitha, as well as her associate, Ginger Smythe, upstairs on the second floor, looking nervous and anxious. It was then that they spotted another figure, signaling her through the crowd, a man later identified as Zoltan Nemet, the number two man in the Cemal Gusa drug cartel. Outside, Viciente noticed a limo circling the area, likely Nemet’s ride.

When it was evident that Nemet was ushering Tabitha and Ginger out the door, Vicente sprung into action, stealing a parked car which the team could use to follow the limo. As predicted, Nemet, Ginger and Tabitha emerged from the club and got into the limo, with Franco and Ilari following close behind.

While the group followed the limo, Fechtner continued to lead his BND tail on a tour through Munich, keeping them away from the others. As the other investigators closed in, secretly, on the limo, they discovered it had a destination outside of town at a fussball center, well past midnight. Obviously, no fussball was going on at that time of night.

Fechtner returned to the hotel and shortly after getting back, the tail sped off, with Fechtner quickly informing the others that the tail was likely heading towards them and they may have a small window of opportunity.

Ilari watched outside as the group entered and Franco and Vicente went inside, through a back entrance. While Tabitha, Ginger and Zoltan went in, they went to the indoor field and met up with Cemal Gusa as well as some of rough looking underlings. At their feet were numerous shopping bags with high end items. A brief argument broke out with Cemal threatening Tabitha. Franco managed to get into the air ducts and observe overhead. He overheard Cemal tell Tabitha that there would be a new contact in London to make the pick up and when she returned there could be a slightly different order of things as complications in London made things difficult for the time being. Based upon Tabitha’s attitude and body language, she was clearly reluctant to go through with this but it was also obvious she had done this several times before.

The group broke up, noticing the BND tail had arrived but followed nobody when they left. Vicente, Franco and Ilari followed Cemal and his men to a condo outside of town where some kind of party was just getting started. Noting the address, they decided they could return later and departed back to the hotel.

The following day, Wolfgang contacts Johan Schmidt for a meet while Franco contacts Tabitha for a dinner date at his hotel. When Schmidt arrived to discuss matters with Wolfgang, Wolfgang used their past relationship to drag intel out of his former mentor. Johan explained that Cemal and his operation were given a wide berth in Germany, with BND agents told to stay away. Cemal’s heroin and drug connections were in Afghanistan but there was another facet to the operation. Using Cemal’s drug connections, figures in the Ruvari Szgany and their rivals, the Mirga Clanuri (both part of the Romanian Mafia) had been supplying Cemal with small samples of Transylvanian soil (something Wolfgang knew Johan was smuggling years ago). Whereas Johan may or may not have known the true nature or need for the soil, whatever it was, he was getting a cut of the profits, building up and padding the ‘Johan Schmidt Retirement Fund.’

Further, when Wolfgang showed Johan the Hillingham Brooch, Johan took it and stated that there was a buy in Vienna who was looking for this exact type of thing. Johan mentioned the name Henri Valant, a buyer for certain anonymous figures who were always looking for unusual and rare items and there was something about this brooch that Johan knew would catch Valant’s attention.

Meanwhile, Ilari decided to analyze the blood taken from the body at the Munich Dead House. Ilari discovered that the traces of blood contained some kind of odd properties. Consulting his own scientific knowledge as well as the Cache of Books, there was some information to be gained. This homeopathic distillation was some kind of blood-based property that would:

  • Allow greater strength to the subject
  • Would only last until the user was next exposed to direct sunlight
  • Instill the high possibility that the subject would gain an addictive disorder
  • The subject would have less ability to resist the call of Vampires.

Franco spent the afternoon at one of Munich’s fine exotic dancing establishments, meeting up with one of his mentors, Eddie Muskva. They discussed the smuggling operation as well as the different ways Tabitha could be seduced. Strangely, Franco noticed part of the club was taken up by Cemal Gusa and his gang, none of which seemed to take notice of Franco or Eddie.

Ilari and Vicente visit Dr. Ilsa Sabine. They make arrangements for her to take custody of Billie Harker and move her, temporarily, to Spain. They figured that Billie was an important part of the story somehow and needed her to remain protected, something they felt was difficult to do in Munich. They pulled strings with Dr. Sabine and managed to use her pipeline (akin to an Underground Railroad) to move Billie to a few safehouses until she managed to get to a seaside resort town in Spain. Later, the team would connect up with her.

That evening when Tabitha came to Franco’s hotel, it was clear that there was a sexual tension in the air. Franco was a gentleman, show showed his knowledge of fine food and champagne and after bedding Tabitha, he casually asked about her relationship with Cemal and the smuggling operation. Uncertain whether Franco was an agent or member of the police (or a member of a rival gang), the trust she felt in him was enough for her to unload her many problems and fears regarding Cemal and the smuggling operation. She revealed that she was, in fact, smuggling soil to London but had smuggling other things in the past, such as heroin. Whereas she was not overly concerned about the soil, since it was hardly illegal, she assumed it was some kind of special soil to grow more illicit drugs. She was more concerned about the danger Cemal poised as she knew she would eventually be eliminated by him if she wasn’t careful. Without getting into how she found herself in this situation and what she must have done to cross the path of someone like Cemal, she felt safe with Franco and fell asleep in his arms, until the new day arose.

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