Gotham on the Brink

December 21, 2014

Rage - Session 3

Kent Residence – March XX, 1931

Cecil Kent receives a call at the ungodly hour of 8:30 AM. Falcone was on the line and wanted another urgent meeting to discuss the news that Seymour Smiles had published that morning. Cecil makes his way over there, and is greeted by some faces – some familiar, such as Tammany Hall’s Wilson, Harvey Bullock andJames Gordon, while some were completely new to the “war room” sessions – one being Dutch Schultz, the new head of liquor operations, after Johnny died and several others were killed or went to work for Sal Moroni. The heads of Gambling and Prostitution were also in the room, as well as a man named Jules, who looks to be more there for muscle.

Falcone leads off with where did Smiles get his pictures? Cecil lets him know that the ones that were in the newspaper were the only ones that Smiles had, and that he had received them from an anonymous source. Some of the group wanted to bring Smiles in for questioning, while others believe it would be more effective to have him followed. Cecil mentioned that he has seen Smiles at Lizzy Brown’s place, and believes the two to be associates, so it should be watched from time to time.

Carmine Falcone then turns to the second matter at hand – Sal Moroni’s defection. It did considerable damage to Falcone’s organization. Not only did a number of people leave the Falcone organization to work for Moroni, but the resulting turf war led to a number of deaths for both sides. Falcone believed that a mole was in his group, basing this on the anonymous tip of Moroni’s treachery, but was not able to catch Moroni aftewards, This suggests that Moroni was also informed of Falcone’s plans to trap him. Falcone needs to know exactly who this mole is.

Falcone then turned the conversation to what to do about the Batman. He had been gone for quite awhile, but with the recent chaos is now making appearances around the city. Falcone laments that Batman doesn’t realize how important he is for keeping the city in check. Could Batman afford to take down the Falcone organization while chaos still rules the streets? Gordon stated that Batman is a vigilante, who doesn’t really have a side and acts above the law – and for that, Gordon be more than happy to arrest him because no man is above the law. However, Gordon thinks that the girl is lying about the Batman being a Big Eddie’s death, because her testimony was inconsistent; so Batman might not be as active as the group thought. Gordon believed that more investigation needs to be done, preferably with someone with a gentler touch to get more information out of the girl.

At this time, the Mayor calls Falcone, begging to be on the radio again. He wants to be able to tell the citizens of Gotham that the chaos is bad. Falcone tells him that he will get his chance to reappear once he is mature enough to address the people without doing something completely stupid. As he hangs up, he starts complaining about the Waynes, and how much easier it would be if they would only cooperate as they had in the past.

Falcone ordered Gordon, Bullock and Kent to leave at this time, as he has further business to do with his other associates. Bulock asked Kent why he was even present at the first place, and then warns Kent to be careful about what Falcone takes from him, as a relationship with that man can be a dangerous thing. Kent asked hims Bullock in exchange what he thinks about Smiles, and after a beaming review of the reporter, Bullock warns Kent that Kent shouldn’t treat Smiles badly. Both Gordon and Kent wind up agreeing that Bullock may be a better man than either of them.

Lizzy received an anonymous phone call at 9 am, asking if she would come to a conference of her own at 10:30, and is allowed to bring “the little old lady and the dude”. Transportation will be provided, and while no guns are allowed, he reminds her, any knives and the garrote that Clair owns is completely okay with them. Lizzy feeling unsure about this call and contacts Clair to come help her and Max better hide their holdout weapons before they head over there. After Clair arrives, she makes an attempt. It was pretty obvious that there was still a pistol in Max’s pants, though both her and Lizzy’s weapons were much better concealed. Max decides to trail the car that takes Lizzy and Clair instead of being in it, since the idea of Moroni’s goons driving them to an unknown without a back up plan makes him uncomfortable.

The vehicle came to pick them up right on schedule. It was a limo with black paint on the windows, completely hiding the occupants and the world from each other. Inside, Clair puts her hand on the big beefy escort’s leg to start something. He turns to her and asks if she has the hots for him, saying that she will be his first in that case. He then asks if she wants to go out on a date, but the exchange ultimately did not work out, which was fortunate for Lizzy since she was already starting on the free alcohol provided in the car and was trying to ignore the entire situation from the get go.

The limo pulled into a previously unknown warehouse, though it had even more alcohol than the last one. The thugs searched Clair and Lizzy and found their weapons, and began playing with the garrote. Sal Moroni brought them into a conference room full of his thuggish assistants, and thanked them for showing up. He wanted to get them together to tell them what had happened. He announces that he now has two thirds of Falcone’s alcohol supply and a good quarter of his customers, but needs more customers. He then tells his goons that they should not hurt Lizzy, since she is one of the diplomats of the operation, nor should they put a finger on Clair or Max either.

Moroni then spoke about Smiles and how he believes Smiles to be an employee of Falcone who intends to harm the Moroni operation. Lizzy counters by suggesting that he is a neutral party and if they were able to get any incriminating evidence of Falcone, Smiles would definitely release it to the public, which would be good overall for them. Moroni thought this is a great idea and gave several nice cigars to Lizzy. Moroni then laments that he could have had Falcone’s entire operation without violence if he had just been given a couple of more weeks, but the story busted it.

Moroni now believes that there is a mole in his operation, and offers a reward for proof of who it is. He also adds that his thugs saw Batman that night and that he believes that the Batman killed three of his men in a horribly brutal and unusual fashion, but he needs someone good at examining bodies to confirm it. Clair then pipes up with her information on Nick Nygma, and tells them a horribly detailed and graphic story on who he is and how the man knows his way around a body in more ways than one. The entire warehouse was completely silent, except for one that muttered that “… That just ain’t right.”

While Clair and Lizzie were participating in the conversation, Max was able to contact Smiles about where he was and what was happening and get Smiles to come to the warehouse. Max and Smiles found a spot where they could see everything that happens , without being seen by any guards. As the limo with Lizzy and Clair leaft the building, Smiles caught sight of the warehouse contents and could not help but take a picture of all of the thugs and marked crates inside of the building, but the flash on the camera was spotted by some of thugs. Smiles and Max, ran to Max’s car. while several thugs also jumped into one of their cars and began chasing our dynamic duo through the alleys of the harbor district. Smiles pulled out his 9mm pistol and caused enough damage to the pursuing car as Max turned the corner into the alleyway and lost them completely.

After they arrived back at Lizzy’s business, Lizzy received a phone call from one of Moroni’s guys, saying that they have proof that Smiles is definitely working for Falcone, since he took the picture of the warehouse and they had to burn down the warehouse because of it. The group begin discussing hiding Smiles with the Ourobouros Society. Smiles calls his editor, who tells him that there are several “very important” people looking for him, including the Mayor, Sal Moroni and Carmine Falcone himself. Smiles tells the editor that he is dropping off a roll of film along with a quick write up for the newspaper, then tells him that he will be laying low for a bit – anybody who asks just needs to know that the last thing he said is that he is “visiting a sister in St. Paul”, and that you, as the editor, don’t know where he is right now, which, in fact, is usually the case.

Clair then calls Nygma, and after some brief flirting, she tells him about the bodies potentially left by Batman that some people need examined it. Extremely intrigued to examine bodies, especially dead ones left by Batman, Nygma wholeheartedly accepts the offer to bring his tools over and take a quick peek at them.

She then joins Max and Smiles on their way to Doctor Dark’s, —hoping to see the extremely attractive male dancer that she enjoyed on her visit last time. To her disappointment, he was now the driver, and was fully clothed. They dropped Smiles off, where he had his gun and camera confiscated and was magically locked in a brick cell with nothing but a hard chair and a thick copy of War and Peace to enjoy, and began to immediately regret his decision to come in the first place.

Lizzy takes the fancy case of wine and begins her work for Moroni, telling her business people about what the man has for them. Due to her charisma, she was able to fully convince one person to completely switch over, while another one was convinced enough to think about it, which Moroni deems overall, a good nights work.

At this time, Kent is trying to schmooze his way into favor with Schultz, but the man seems not to understand quite what Kent is trying to get at. In his view, everybody should like and get along with him, after all. Disappointed, Kent goes back to Jeeves and his car, and tells him that the two of them should lay low for awhile since the streets are still completely chaotic. Falcone manages to contact him, and tell him that they had went to Lizzy’s place earlier, but nobody was there. He does think that the woman is working for Moroni though, though Kent does propose that she may be reasonable enough to accept a counter offer, which Falcone agrees. Kent also informs Falcone about Smiles’ son in the police force, and that he may know a thing or two about the whereabouts of his father. Falcone says that he will send his men to retrieve the cop for questioning.

Max wrote a letter spelling out the details of the entire case for James Gordon to know, still with full faith in Gordon. Signing it with his former name,Detective VinSant, he drops it off in the Commissioner’s mailbox for him to find later, with a note that he will contact Gordon with more in the future.

Clair is contacted by Moroni’s thugs about the dead bodies, and how they are ready to be observed, though they are starting to get very smelly. She berates them and gives them tips on how to preserve them properly before calling Nygma to head over and see what he can find. With his carpet bag full of tools, he picks up everyone in his vehicle and makes for yet another warehouse where everybody is waiting. The bodies were stored in a very large wooden shipping crate and Clair is the only one that follows into the foul-smelling interior, while the others prefer to stay outdoors. Moroni’s lieutenant begins to compliment Lizzy on her work, saying with her set of skills, she could go far – though his comments are cut short by the loud banging around and ecstatic moans heard inside from who knows who. A short while later, Nygma pounds on the door to be let out, leaving the bodies behind him even more of a mess than they were before. He states that all three men were killed by throat trauma, though by different ways – one blunt force, one by small very sharp knife and a third had an iron pipe rammed through his throat. Ex facto, a blunt knife was used on all three in such a way that there was more blood left on the floor than what was in their bodies. He had never seen anything quite like it, and was impressed enough by it that he wants to take samples back to his lab, which is allowed.

The next morning, the Gotham Post released breaking news about the death of Police Officer Paddy O’Riley, which was significant since he was arguably Gotham’s most corrupt officer and Falcone’s best contact in the police force. Unlike the other cases, this particular story did not describe any method of death, which many believe that the police force was keeping this one tight. The eulogy that went with his death was very sweet, but not very accurate, failing to note that O’Riley had once put an advertisement in the Post detailing his rates for losing critical evidence and looking the other way.

Falcone hosted another war meeting at 10 AM. Despite interviewing Smiles’ son and every other human being that associates with him, it seems the man vanished into thin air. However, he is more concerned with the matter of Paddy’s death, seeing that it was another blow to his hold on power. The good news is though, that he believes that Moroni is willing to make a truce – Moroni just wants his own turf and wants to be his own boss, and due to the losses that he had suffered, Falcone began to consider the offer. Kent suggests talking to Lizzy again beforehand since rumor is spreading of her status as “diplomat”, which Falcone agrees to do.

Lizzy received a phone call from the editor of the Gotham Times at this time, looking for Smiles. There was a package delivered to the Times for him, saying very clearly that it was only for him on the envelope, and that he need Smiles to get down there and open it for him to see what’s inside. Clair tries to mimic Smiles’ voice at this time, saying that he has a bad cold and will send someone to pick up the package for him, but the editor refuses to give it up unless he comes, in person, to the office to retrieve it. Lizzy then went off to convert more people over to Moroni’s side, this time going deeper into Schultz territory and giving them a better offer.

Max went to the Ouroburos Society to talk to Smiles about the best times to pick up the package, but Smiles begged Max to let him out instead – not only was he bored out of his mind inside of the cell, he is furious that the Post was able to get a better story on Paddy’s death in his absence. Max agreed and the two returned to Lizzy’s place to find a less isolated place to hide Smiles. Lizzy had already returned and received a call just as they arrive from Falcone, who says that he would like to meet with her at her speakeasy in about 20 minutes to discuss an opportunity. She warns her associates about their time limit as they head upstairs. Max tries to use his disguise skills to make Smiles look different, but Clair pushed him aside and performed a much better job, turning a middle aged man into a horrified androgynous human being. They had finished just as Falcone’s men arrive, and after a cursory search of the place, they were unable to detect anything out of the ordinary before returning back downstairs. Max, Clair and a disguised Smiles follow them to watch the action unfold.

Falcone opened by saying that there are rumors that Moroni has struck a business deal with her, and that Mr. Kent wants to lay cards on the table on her behalf. Lizzy responded that she is angry that the upper crust like Kent were able to get their supply and not her, a hardworking woman of Queens. Unlike Kent, who was in no danger of losing money, the shortage would have put her out of business quickly if it wasn’t for the deal that Moroni had made. Kent made some snide comments about her business, which insulted her to the point of not wanting to continue the conversation. Falcone reprimanded him after some strong words from Lizzy, which prompted Kent to leave from the table and check out the rest of the business. Lizzy voiced her concerns about her own safety, as well as her business, since leaving Moroni would definitely anger him to the point of putting her life in danger.

Falcone assured her that he is a winner and that she will be fine if she stays with him. She questioned how he can still be so confident, to which he responded that he needed to be in order to win and stay alive. He then gives Lizzy 24 hours to make a decision, and reminds her that she was wading into dangerous territory earlier when she was preaching Moroni’s business – his new associate, Schultz, is a dangerous man who formerly lived in Arkham Asylum, and it would not surprise him if her life was ended in a brutal way if she continued to set foot into his territory. Falcone signaled for his men, including Kent with a bottle of lower grade liquor, to leave.

After they left, the four friends decide to get the package from the Times. Since Smiles was very familiar with the building, he got all of them into the editors’ office without too much trouble. The editor handed the package over, which happened to be a big manila envelope, and wanted Smiles to open it here so he knows if it’s any good. Smiles suggests that it may be dangerous, and that he will let him know if it was worthwhile if he writes a story on it. Bidding the editor a good day, the four of them rush out of the building and into the car, where the envelope is immediately opened. Inside, there were photos of both Bullock and Gordon separately leaving Falcone’s mansion, then the two of them smiling at each other and shaking hands over it – rather interesting news, since the two of them were famous for never getting along. The envelope also included a note that said, “publish or perish?”

The group discussed what to do with the information but had not come to a conclusion before the Post released a special edition paper claiming that Jim Gordon had discovered who was responsible for the murders. Tyrone “The Typhoon” Armstrong, a former boxer who lost his wife and son in the Cotton Club explosion a few months prior, and went on a rampage. He has since disappeared, and everyone’s best guess is that he is hiding somewhere in Harlem.

Kent read this in the paper and asked Jeeves if he had met Armstrong before. After receiving little information, the two of them head over to the Cotton Club to ask for more information. The owner told Kent that the Armstrongs were once a happy couple, both working for him. Tyrone was a very reliable worker, while his wife was the sweetest dancer on his staff. The son and wife died on the day of the explosion and received a closed casket funeral, while the daughter was safe because she was in another building and the father had been seriously injured in the blast. Armstrong vanished along with his daughter after he got out of the hospital, but which was only two weeks prior to the first murder. Armstrong’s friends claim not to know where he currently lives, saying that all they know is that he told them he was in “a better place.” Cecil thanked the owner for his time, and then offers Jeeves a small bonus to investigate further, since he believed the people of Harlem would be more like to talk to somebody like Jeeves than Kent.

Max contacted his own people in the Ouroburos Society to see if they had any information about Armstrong. Doctor Dark told him that Armstrong will be found in about two hours, but wanted to verify that Smiles will not publish anything about their organization, which Max readily promised. Two hours later, Doctor Dark gave the address to Max and told him that Tyrone was there now.

At this point, Jeeves called Kent and told him about Armstrong. According to Jeeves, several people are saying that Armstrong is indeed the one that did it, and that he did it for his daughter. Kent receives the address from Jeeves before contacting Falcone. Falcone was surprised to hear about Armstrong’s daughter, saying that she had been missing the entire time, and that he was sending some of his men over to bring Armstrong in for questioning.

Max and crew manage to arrive at the apartment first, and had a discussion with Armstrong at the door to his tiny apartment in the basement of a worn out building in the bad part of Harlem. They told Armstrong that they were not with any organization, just that they have a reporter there to get his side of the story. Armstrong lets them know that the story may not be good for the daughter, because she had been kidnapped and Armstrong is being blackmailed for her safety. Max eventually convinced Armstrong that it would be a good idea to let them in because have information sources that might help the ultimately find his daughter.

Armstrong was finally convinced that he will be safe if he shares his story begins to tell it to the group – how some photos were delivered to his house showing that Moroni was responsible for his wife and son’s death, and telling Armstrong that there was a way to get Moroni to suffer the same as much as he did. An anonymous phone call then instructed Armstrong on how to kill Moroni’s son, which he was very willing to do and was glad to see Moroni as tortured as he afterward. But Armstrong refused to do any more work for the anonymous caller and then his daughter went missing. The caller blackmailed him to do several more killings but his heart wasn’t in it. He then started to tell them about how he strayed a little and did some vigilante justice on guys that deserve it, like Paddy and Big Eddie.

Then there is a knock on the door and they hear some men at the door. Clair begins to act as if it was her own place as she opens the door, seeing six guys with tommy guns. Pulling out a stick of dynamite, she distracts them as Max lit the fuse. Unfortunately, because the crack in the door was too small, she fumbled her throw and it did not fall far from the door before it exploded. Max took the most damage due to the shrapnel, and Lizzy tended to him right away. Clair brutally shoots any of the men left living after the explosion before four more men come down from upstairs.

Clair slinked into the next room over without notice because the wall between the two units had been blown out by the blast. Armstrong broke the neck of the first guy that came into the door. The second man entered the room firing his gun, and put a bullet into Smiles, Max and Armstrong before he collapsed in a bloody heap due to the bullets in his own body. Smiles and Max fall into unconsciousness, while Armstrong goes into a black rage as he moves outside and snaps the third guy’s neck.

Clair managed to stab the fourth guy in the kidneys, though he did not notice as he faced the raging beast of a man in front of him. The guy unloaded the bullets into Armstrong’s body, which knocked him back into his room. Clair stabbed the man a second time, which prompted him to turn around and face her. Armstrong staggered back outside in time to rip the guy apart before he did any damage to Clair. But the blank look of homicidal rage on Armstrong’s face suggested that Clair would be his next victim. Frightened Clair fell over and played dead and Armstrong passed her by, moving towards the front of the building.
Armstrong then came to his senses, and, horrified at the damage that he had caused, dropped to the ground in fatigue and despair.

Lizzie did her best to treat both Max and Smiles; she was able to stabilize Smiles but Max died of his wounds. Armstrong was also horribly damaged in the fight, Clair was able save him. Realizing that the only place Armstrong would really be able to go now was Doctor Dark’s, Lizzy and Clair woke Smiles long enough to find out where it was before heading there.

Doctor Dark felt great sorrow over Armstrong’s case – if he had only come to them first, his daughter would have been found easily and they would have never had to go through the trouble. Within a couple hours, they were able to reunite Armstrong and his daught. Doctor Dark revealed that she was being held hostage by others who were being blackmailed themselves. Then Armstrong and his daughter were hidden by the society, using the methods of secrecy they had developed over the years.

Smiles woke up in the hospital to see Falcone and Kent sitting in front of his hospital bed. Falcone wants to know what Smiles did about Armstrong, and what had happened to his men. Smiles resisted but was unable to avoid telling him the bare bones of the the story – he was there to interview Armstrong, Falcone’s men showed up, he got caught in the crossfire and here he was. The two men were able to tell that he was hiding something from them, and threatened to “jiggle some needles around”. Smiles then filled him in more about Armstrong, that he was only a puppet for a much larger fish that he needs to worry about, and he knows nothing more about it due to being unconscious. Falcone wanted to know about the explosion, which Smiles tried to skirt around before being caught and threatened to be taken to a “more comfortable place” for Falcone. He then admitted that his “grandmother” was the one that threw the stick of dynamite, and due to their previous history, Falcone was able to figure out it was Clair that did it.

One minute Clair was at her stand, selling illegal explosives and cigarettes to children, and the next she was knocked out and woke up in a dental chair, facing Falcone. Falcone tells her that he knows that she is the one responsible for his men’s deaths, and wants payment for them. He threatens her with life or death for some information, which she tells a little bit about earlier events. Falcone then pays her back by buying out her loan, but doubling it and enforcing a strict payment policy, in order to compensate the widows and children of the men that she had killed. He got up to leave, reminding her that she is lucky that she is worth more to him alive than dead at the moment. Before taking her leave. Clair begins to struggle financially due to the increased payments, but she does have her health and life, at least for now.

Lizzie was able to give Max a proper burial, with a small number of people attending. including James Gordon and Harvey Bullock. Gordon spoke with Lizzie, saying that, “He was a good cop in the end, wasn’t he?”, which she replies that “He was a good man all the time.” As she returns to her business, she realizes that she has yet to make up her mind about which side that she wants to take. She decided that it was better to stay with Moroni, remembering that he actually cared to come to her in her time of need, versus Falcone who seems to prefer the interests of the wealthier man.

The wealthier man, Cecil Kent, seemed to have fallen out of favor rather quickly with Falcone’s inner circle after the incident, since he was not quite as useful as Falcone had originally hoped. However, he still has his wealth, his contacts and his right hand man Jeeves as he still continues to live a comfortable life in the upper crust.

Seymour Smiles is still very well liked back at the Gotham Times, though due to the recent events, he has chosen to focus on a few “quieter” stories – a vacation of sorts for him – as he recovers from the traumatic events that have happened, and begins to prepare himself for what will happen in the future.

Mysterious Narrator: “The experiment was interesting, even better than I had been hoped in some ways but it ended poorly. It appears there is more to this city than I thought, I shall need to investigate the people who foiled my plans. To find their strengths and most especially their weaknesses. Everybody has weaknesses and I so enjoy finding them.”

Comments

There is an incredible amount of material here. I need to write simpler adventures!

December 21, 2014
BearerOfTidings

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