Gotham on the Brink

October 4, 2015
Their Name is Legion, Part 3

Gotham, November XX 1931

Seymour Smiles, like most people, tends to hate Monday mornings. And this one is shaping to be the typical – the phone greets him early in the morning with a ring, the Editor is on the line again. The editor seems to have some very important news to share, but doesn’t want to share it over the line in case a nosy operator or two happened to listen in. Despite the urgency of the news, the boss tells him to take his time in getting down there – something that strikes Smiles oddly, knowing the editor’s pushy nature over the years, but does make his way down there.

Once there, the Editor asks him a second strange question – if Smiles reads the Gotham Post. After stating his refusal to read print of such low standard, the editor holds up a paper from the Post announcing their new plan. Under new ownership, the Post states that they are moving to cover more serious news in regards to the crime beat, announcing that they are hiring several new journalists to do so. While Smiles scoffs at the Posts’ plans, the Editor has plans and wants Smiles in on them. He tells Smiles that he wants to put someone else on his normal crime beat, which would free Smiles up to try and uncover the bigger stories as they happen. He throws in that there would be more freedom to write, as well as a percentage of the sales if the story does well. In fact, the Editor already had put it in the paper that morning that a “certain crime beat journalist” of theirs is suffering a mental breakdown with a possibility of being entered into Arkham. With all of this, Smiles accepts the deal.

Meanwhile, Umbra Stix is having a dream of himself on a beach at night, with the waves crashing behind him. Suddenly, Stix realizes that the sound that he is hearing is not waves at all, but rather people muttering and pointing fingers at him, saying that he is a failure. The common thread between the people happened to be a familiar silver L on their lapel. A large figure stands up amongst the people on a platform, stating to his subjects that it is “time to take out the trash”, before Stix finally wakes up from it. As he is brushing his teeth, he thinks of the psychology behind the dream and suddenly remembers the compound that he escaped from. One of the men is able to plant dreams inside of other peoples’ heads, even if the subject has mental protections in place, as long as he is reasonably close to them. He shakes off the thought for the moment, instead focusing on the idea of actually opening up a psychology practice, and begins looking into hunting down some real estate for it.

Jack Smiles found it strange that people were offering condolences to him that morning, regarding his father. After finally getting his hands on a copy of the Times, he reads the section saying that his father had finally lost it after all of these years and may be admitted to the asylum. Jack attempts to give Smiles a call, but is unable to reach him – Jack then decides that he will stop by later instead, believing that his dad will be home at some point. He also decides that he will also make some runs around that neighborhood afterward, looking for any crime that happened and hopes to stop it.

Henrietta Kinkaid wakes up next to a sweet young thing, and after realizing the time, thinks that she should maybe go into the office. When there’s good crime, there’s good sales, Netty thinks to herself as she looks over the business notes – everything seems to be doing just fine, especially in the area of trying to expand overseas contacts. With the trouble in Europe brewing, there has been an increase of persons wanting to do business with willing partners, so she begins doing some research on whether or not their currency would be acceptable.

In the middle of her work, Netty receives a call from an “Allen”, realizing that it is the person who she had woken up to this morning, and became confused over the actual gender of the person she was with (thinking that it was previously a woman). She becomes embarrassed over the fact that she can’t actually remember what they look like, and bluffs her way into accepting another outing at the Iceberg Lounge with them later. They suddenly changed their mind after remembering that they have to go to the German Embassy for a party with their wife instead, before hanging up. Curious, Netty too plans an outing at the embassy, before returning to her work.

Smiles immediately dove into his own work, looking into his contacts to find out the information that people want to hear. From what he was gathering, it seems that the people of Gotham are extremely hungry for information on vigilantes. One group in particular, he soon learns, is interested in more information on the “Owl Man” and is willing to pay a hefty sum of $2,000 for it. Curious on why a group would be hefting that kind of money for information, Smiles hunts down the name and location of the bar and heads on over.

After his shift, Jack takes the subway over to his dad’s apartment. As he gets off of the subway, he witnesses a little old lady getting mugged by two guys. Running over there, he pulls out his badge and gun, telling the both of them to let the old woman go. The two men scoff at Jack, and, without warning, Jack shoots three slugs into one of the muggers, instantly killing him. He then arrests the other guy, and asks the old woman if she is willing to come down to the station to file a report. She thanks him for the work that she does, saying that she will pay her taxes – directly to him. Digging in her purse, she pulls out a heavy gold coin and lets Jack pocket it. With the two of them in tow, they head down to the nearest station.

The station became noticeably irritated when Jack told them that he had went and killed one of the muggers. People like these criminals are what they call the “moneymakers” – you can’t exactly get paid with bribes if the criminal is already dead, they let Jack know. Jack took the information with a straight face, though secretly took down the name of the criminal, with the intent of killing him if he ever escaped. The old lady then gave everyone in the office a gold coin for their work, which cheered them up enough that they went through with processing the criminal after all.

On the other side of town, Smiles finds himself at an upscale bar in Lower Manhattan. After bribing the bouncer, he goes in and finds several street people waiting in line to chat with a man in the corner. The man took great caution in hiding his appearance, unscrewing the light bulb above him so that it made it difficult to get much a description out of him. Smiles watches the corner for awhile, and tries to stop the person who spoke with him as he left the table. He recognizes the face instantly as Jimmy the Snitch, a petty criminal who tends to get himself in plenty of trouble, though it was clear that the man was not really all there at the moment. Literally grabbing him and sitting him down, Smiles tries to ask him a couple questions on what kind of man did he speak to. With a distant look, Jimmy tells him that the man back there is all powerful and can do anything, and unfortunately for him, the man back there didn’t like the information that he had. He lets Smiles know that he has to leave right at that moment, so that he can give all of his possessions to the Silver Legion. Smiles tries to tell him that the Legion is full of nutters and that he would be better off not giving everything that he had to them, but Jimmy tells him that he absolutely has to do it, especially before midnight, otherwise he is going to jump over the bridge like the worthless lump he is. Smiles is unable to convince the man otherwise as he gets up and leaves.

After a short wait, Smiles gets his turn with the gentleman in the back. When they finally meet face to face, Smiles takes note of the gentleman’s fine appearance and southern accent, trying to match him up in his internal database of people but finding no such luck. Smiles tells the man that he does have some information on the Owl Man, though he would like some information himself first on why the man wants to know in the first place. The man simply brushes it off, and it doesn’t take long before Smiles begins to babble about what he knows about the Owl Man already, despite him trying hard to keep an upper hand – the strange dreams he has had, the previous things that the Owl Man has done, and the connection that the Owl Man has with a man named Umbra Stix. Thanking Smiles for the information, he then reveals why they want to know – the Owl Man is a very bad person, and has stolen something extremely valuable to the Silver Legion, escaping from them. If Smiles cares about truth and order, he should help them track the Owl Man down. Finding himself nodding and feeling anger towards the Owl Man and what he had done to them, Smiles agrees to help, and receives a contact number in case he wants to call them. After Smiles got up, the man dismisses the rest of the group, saying that they had gotten what they had needed for the day and that any other information is no longer needed.

Netty takes off for the German Embassy, and discovers that “Allen” happens to just be an extremely effeminate man, with his extremely masculine wife in tow. She throws a wink at Allen, which grants a pale blush from him and a dirty look from the wife, before she is greeted personally by the German Ambassador. He tells her that he has heard that she has certain “tricks” that drive men insane, and would like to discuss them further. She says that it takes getting to know her a little better first, and she does in fact need someone who knows German for her business. He offers the date, while the wife in the background is just a tad bit upset. The two of them go off elsewhere, to discuss a range of topics, from business to his collection of whips.

Jack has a completely different discussion with Smiles once the latter gets home. Smiles explains the content in the paper – while he is, indeed, crazy (which is a sign of genius, he adds!), he notes that it would take a lot to get rid of him, and that his son should know better. He is simply trying to work undercover to find a huge story to report on, instead of working the normal crime beat that he used to – and while he is glad that his son is here to ask, there is no need to worry. Jack then asks about the local donut shop, just in case that he needs to butter someone up, in which Smiles shares his secret on the location and the discount.

After leaving his dad’s apartment, Jack goes on the hunt and finds some muggers in a back alleyway, stealthily making his way towards them. He gets close to one of them before they see that someone is there. He immediately opens fire and kills one of them. The other two stick their hands up immediately in the air. Pointing with his gun, he tells the two to go into the back alleyway. Too scared to do otherwise, the two start heading over there, with Jack following behind, slowly pulling out a sawed shotgun from his back. The two of them had little chance for escape as he fired, killing the both of them. The victim tries to offer Jack a job as a bodyguard, saying that there is good money due to the fact that he has people coming after him often, though Jack tells him that he has “bigger fish to fry.”

Stix lays his head down to sleep that night, though it doesn’t take long before he feels someone massaging his scalp, whispering “Are you awake?” in his ear. The voice, belonging to Eddie Mandragora, lets Stix know that the Silver Legion is truly after him now. They developed some drugs that are able to deal with people like Stix, which will make it no problem for them to take him back to Star City. Stix can tell that there’s something off with Mandagora, especially since the Silver Legion is letting him go. Mandagora apologizes, saying that it was either him or Stix, and he sold the latter out. Before Stix slams the mental door on Mandagora, he tells Stix that he truly does regret taking the Eagle Diamond from him in the first place and wishes that Stix had gotten it instead, despite the diamond telling him that he should be happier this way. Stix then gets up out of bed and decides that it is time to go on the offense, and find the Legion before they find him. Rattling his brain for contacts, he figures that Smiles would be the most likely to know something, due to his position, and begins to head over to the man’s apartment.

Smiles was taking a nap back at his place when he hears commotion outside of his window. Looking out at the fire escape, he sees the Joker peering back at him, grinning ear to ear. “You’ve got a visitor, and it’s not me!” Smiles slams the window shut on a cackling Joker, as the man descends further down the fire escape. It wasn’t even a 30 seconds later before another sound was heard, and Smiles opens the windows again out of instinct. He saw Batman drilling bullet holes into him with his eyes. Smiles reacts like any reporter would in this situation – by getting his camera and taking a picture of him. Batman then comes crashing through the window, confronting Smiles face to face. He shoves a photograph into Smiles’ face, which shows the Joker with three men on a rooftop. Batman then demands to know if Smiles knows anything about the meeting, and what the Joker said when he was passing by. Smiles shared what he could, and Batman muttered in disgust that the Joker was always one step ahead of him. Quickly writing a number down, he hands it to Smiles, saying that if he has any information, he should let him know – information can reach him at this number. Smiles’ happiness over the fact that he has a personal contact to Batman was shot down a second later when the Bat added that it was actually Gordon’s number, before dropping a $20 on the floor and jumping straight out of the window. Smiles tries to take a few more pictures of the scene before rushing into the bathroom and beginning the development process.

A while later, Stix knocks on Smiles’ apartment door, asking to be let in. Smiles obliges, and Stix begins asking what Smiles knows, if anything, on a certain southern gentleman. Overcoming a strange urge to contact the gentleman, Smiles lets Stix know of the meeting that he had with three gentleman earlier that day, and what they had talked about in relation to the Owl Man. Knowing that Stix had some sort of connection to the Owl Man himself, Smiles does share the contact information to the southern gentleman, on the guarantee that if something happens, Stix will let Smiles know about it personally. Stix offers Smiles a chance to be there if something does, which Smiles happily accepts, before remembering the film that was being developed in the bathroom. Since they were developing longer than they should have, the results were too dark to make anything out of. Stix told Smiles that he should just stick to writing, Smiles blames the ruined pictures on the other man, and it wasn’t long before Stix took his leave.

As Smiles was lamenting his ruined photos, he remembers the woman who gave him the new camera, as well as the fact that she was interested in knowing anything happening in regards to vigilantes. He calls Netty up, and was lucky to reach her, as she had just gotten back from the Embassy. Smiles tells her that something is going down in regards to the Owl Man, and if she wants to keep updated in terms of information, she will have to owe him a nice dinner afterward. She agrees to it, surprised and glad that it was just a dinner, and looks forward to being contacted again.

Stix has a rather restful night, but wakes up with a premonition that something was going to happen and he had to get out of there. He manages to sneak down the fire escape in his robes with little notice, though as he makes his way down, he manages to get a few whiffs of something that smells like complete decay. His mind instantly goes back to the compound where he heard of a man named Ambrose Davis, also known as “the Leech” – a bully with uncontrollable time powers. Stix makes his way down to Sadie’s bar, where he can get himself a good breakfast, and calls the number that he had received from Smiles the night before. He asks the secretary on the other line if he could speak to the southern gentleman, knowing him personally as “The Professor”. She refused saying that she only takes messages for him, though she can get in contact with him pretty quickly once she has the message. Stix instead hung up, satisfied enough that he knows that he has the right number.

Jack is down at the precinct, more popular than ever after he bribed everyone with donuts after the confrontation over his actions regarding the previous subway mugging. He and the officers at his desk were discussing the recent news on the Maroni trial – after dragging on for a very long time, there was an incident that morning which resulted in Maroni getting shot by the Judge and half of Harvey Dent’s face getting destroyed by acid. They lamented Dent’s future political career, which is guaranteed to be over at that point, before discussing the police’s role in the city versus their role with the criminals. Jack clearly began to take the side that favored higher standards for them no matter the cost, before Gordon himself called him into his office. Gordon happened to hear what was going on, and while he believed that Jack was a good man, he should really tamp down the violence against criminals. While he knows of the problems in the police force, he tells Jack that they really need to try and show that the cops are truly better than the crooks, and violence is not the answer – like all things, it takes time to fix. He urges Jack to give it a try, as he promotes him to the beat and gives him an area to patrol.

Smiles gets a call from “The Professor”, saying that the Owl Man can be found at a certain address, and he should instantly go over there to investigate. Feeling the compulsory need to go right that moment, he obliges and heads right on over. Once he is there, he finds the apartment door to be completely disintegrated, including the entryway as well. The inside of the apartment was extremely messy, though he found some things of Stix and managed to put two and two together. Stix happened to return at this time, and wondered why Smiles happened to be there. Seeing Stix’s face made Smiles suddenly feel very hostile, but managed to keep his temper down and from his hands reaching the nearest phone to let the Legion know about this current encounter. Stix manages to subdue Smiles with some hypnotherapy, which lifted a wide range of compulsions from Smiles. Smiles was then much more willing to divulge what he knows, and the two came to the agreement to work together to take down these foes.

Believing that they will need more help, Smiles takes a couple moments to dial Netty’s number and letting her know that her assistance was needed at Stix’s address, and that she should bring her best equipment. Excited for some action, she calls on her assistant Lurch to bring her and the equipment to their meeting place. She meets the two men inside of the apartment, and after some introductions, begin to plan their next move. It wasn’t long before they had noticed that there was a fourth, unintended visitor, lurking behind the shadows. Netty drew her weapon and demanded that the visitor step out of the darkness and introduce themselves, though a simple “Who knows what evil lurks behind the hearts of men?” was answer enough to let them all know who he was.The Shadow revealed himself, hidden under a large coat, hat, mask and scarf, telling them that he knows that chaos is about to break out and they’re in the middle of it. He simply wants to know where they stand – are they ultimately working for the benefit of the city?

While they were trying to convince the Shadow that they are ultimately doing good with their actions, Jack was patrolling the area below, and noticed Netty’s fancy car parked out in the street. Curious on why such a nice car was parked in such a bad neighborhood as this, Jack had a chat with Lurch before going up to the apartment to speak to Netty. He spotted his dad once getting to the apartment, and asked him if this ordeal is the big story that he was chasing after. Wanting Jack to stay out of the danger that was going to take place, he tells Jack to leave, and after a few minutes, he slowly makes his way out, wanting to keep an eye on the place regardless.

As Jack reaches the bottom of the apartment, he hears a strange scream coming from a neighboring rooftop and witnesses a man falling from the top, suddenly vanishing before he hit the ground. Alarmed, Jack went back up the stairs to let everybody know what just happened. The Shadow suddenly takes off for the rooftops, muttering that the “Bat” had gotten ahead of him this time. The others chase after him, but was not able to match his speed – by the time the group had reached the top of the building, the Shadow had already disappeared. The group begins to spread out on the rooftop, looking for signs of where he went, while Netty stayed close to the door. Jack spots a “batarang” stuck in the wall, and picks it up. He tells the rest that something must have happened up here, and then a voice chimes in from behind the door that “It was quite a sight!”

A sudden wave of fatigue came over the group, seemingly aging them physically by several years. Not only were people affected by it, but the actual structure of the building suffered under the Leech’s decay. Jack maneuvered himself in shooting range of the Leech, while Netty went downstairs to try to cut anybody off in case they were planning to go down or up. Jack unloaded his gun into the Leech, but even after taking a few hits, the man didn’t seem fazed by the attack. He instead let out another wave, damaging the area even further. As Smiles tries to get out of range of the Leech’s attack, Stix uses his powers of mental suggestion for the Leech to leave this area. Unlike physical force, the suggestion seemingly worked quite well, as the Leech turned around and began to head in the other direction. Jack aims for him again as he continues to run, but suddenly fell into a deep sleep – the others struggled to stay awake, but managed just fine. As Netty emerged to wake Jack up, the Leech was rescued from falling off of the side of the building by a teleporter called Blink. Free for a moment, the group heads towards the fire escape, as the only viable option to get off of the rooftop.

They suddenly heard a noise, and turned to find the Professor, who failed to sneak up on them. Bullets flew from everybody’s guns as they hit the southern gentleman, and his body hit the pavement in cold blood. The Blink re-appeared to fight, but took a bullet to the leg blinked out again. With everything in the clear, Stix manages to sneaks off without notice, wanting to get away from the scene before the police arrive, wanting nothing to do with the law.

The police arrived after the battle had finished, and was welcomed to a message written in blood by the Shadow, who ultimately covered for them. Smiles put to print a story the next day, covering the Shadow’s battle with the Legion, which resulted in huge sales – however, the accounting team tells him that it was ultimately a loss leader, which seems unlikely to Smiles. The impact seemed to work, however, as the Post seemed to drop their crime coverage not too long after, continuing to cover fluff instead.

Stix gets another message from Eddie Mandagora. “I was afraid this was going to happen… Batman is coming for me. I think he’s going to kill me, and take the gem.” Stix suddenly receives a vision of a 350 pound blue man with red eyes, and realizes that the gem did that to him. Overall, he was glad that he wasn’t the one that gotten the gem, and offered no help to Eddie in his situation.

Later, a story had broken out. A major warehouse in the harbor had caught on fire, though only one area seemingly was burnt. The boxes in the area were completely warped, as if some sort of force hit them. Only one body was found, an extremely large, man who’s skin had been completely burned off was found dead at the scene. What they didn’t know is that a certain gem that the man had in his possession was no longer there, and vanished without a trace.

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August 16, 2015
Their Name is Legion, Part 2

Gotham, October XX 1931

Jack Smiles is about to make a mark on the world. About 20 feet below him is his target — two men who he had been following for the past couple days. He knows only two facts about them:

Fact 1: Cash doesn’t seem to be a primary motive for these men, as they target actors in alleyways after performing a show off of Broadway, using knives on their faces.

Fact 2: They have leverage at the police station – charges have been made against them, yet they have not spent more than 10 minutes in a jail cell.

Justice needs to be served to these men in one way or another, and Jack decides that a bullet is the best way to do it. After jumping down from his platform above, he shoots both of them. One of them goes down, the other one is left standing, looking at the man in shock. He asks why, in which Jack threatened, “Leave these people alone or I’m coming back,” before taking off.

Seymour Smiles was having a fantastic nights rest for once, despite the bizarre dream he was having about a flaming silver L inviting him to join them. A phone call abruptly wakes him up, from the Times editor. He tells him about the recent crime that happened by Broadway, and after a stop at the donut shop, Smiles makes his way over there. He learns from Nygma that the man used a gun that shoots 9mm bullets, and that he has a feeling that it’s not the last time that it’s going to happen. The conscious man didn’t have much to say about what happened – he didn’t get a good look at the face because he was so focused on the gun, and he simply said that he was drinking with a friend. The police began to cart him off to interrogation, and promised Smiles that they will give him a heads up once they’re done. He gets more information later, though learned that the man mysteriously fell down a flight of stairs on his way down to the room, and was carted off to the hospital shortly after.

Smiles heads back to the office to write a story about what just happened, and begins to discuss with the Editor on names to call this guy. The two of them are then interrupted by a coworker who drops a paper on the Editor’s desk – a special edition from the Gotham Post – “Exclusive Interview: Batman Vows to Bring Down Falcone”. Steamed about the whole ordeal, and questioning if it really did happen, Smiles gets back to work on his own article.

Nettie wakes up around her usual time – 11 AM – and finds out that a certain Mr. Wayne wants to speak with her. She remembers her previous time with him – tightly wired guy, a little strange, and while she did successfully take him to bed, she does not remember a single thing about it except for the fact that he was gone the next morning with a single note, saying that he’ll call her sometime. Figuring that this must be the time, she gets into contact with him. Bruce tells her that he wants her to be his gal for a party later that evening. It is a black tie event, and they will be checking for weapons, so he warns her not to bring the Derringer that she had on her the last time they went out together. She agrees to come, so he tells her he will pick her up around 6:30 PM.

Jack is sitting at his desk, processing some paperwork when he receives a manilla envelope from the postman. Curious, he opens it and sees a photo from the previous night of him shooting the two men in the alleyway. The included note simply said “What shall we call you?” Looking around nervously, he hides the photo and note in his desk.

Later that day, Jack goes out to practice some shooting at the range. The men down there seemed very impressed by how good he was, and commented that the guy that did the shooting last night seemed comparable in skill – the shots were very precise and clean there as well. Though if they had to put money on it in a contest, they believed that Jack could take the mysterious shooter on. Regardless, all of the men seemed very happy about those two guys finally getting what they deserved.

Feeling confident, Jack decides to go for a bigger target that night – Falcone’s son. He had heard rumors that the man hires prostitutes, and randomly beats them for fun. The pattern suggests that he does this around the new moon, which happened to be that night. Jack scouted the area where these women usually turn up, but doesn’t find anything, and decides it must have been an off night for him.

Meanwhile, the party is in full swing, and has most of Gotham’s distinguished attending. Nettie carouses with the guests, looking for a customer. She finds a guy from the west coast, who is interested in making small specialized purchases – body armor, machine gun, helmets, gas, anything of that sort, for quantities of less than 100. She was interested until she learned that the man can’t match her price, in which she lets him know that there are other dealers around, and even gave him names, before walking away. She also runs into the Penguin, who tells her that she’s welcome back at the Iceberg at anytime – business seems to go up whenever she shows up.

A disgruntled Smiles was also at the party – while he usually doesn’t report on the social beat (and it was very clear by the level of dress he was wearing), he was requested personally to be there. The man in question, Thorn, was very happy to see Smiles attending, told him that he was a huge fan of his work and that’s why he wanted to have Smiles there – to write about his big announcement. This seemed to butter him up considerably, especially with a promise of a personal interview afterward. Nettie spots Smiles having a conversation with Thorn, and is very interested in speaking with him as well. She lets Smiles know that there is a drink waiting for him after his conversation with Thorn.

Dinner was served shortly after, and near the end of it, Thorn stands up and clinks his glass to receive attention. He announces his concern about the violence in the city of Gotham, the vigilantes taking their own matters at hand, and what he will do about it. Thorn was proud to let him know his alternative – his “Justice Legion”, an auxiliary force that will work with the police to catch anybody working outside of the law. He makes his plea that the police should be the only ones allowed to carry out justice, and only by working through the system will there eventually be peace in the city.

The waiting staff passed around envelopes to everyone in attendance (sans Smiles, who was having a hard enough time getting their attention as is). The letter inside matched what Thorn was asking for: donations to put his force together. Bruce Wayne stands up and announces that he personally wants to be the first person to donate, and writes a check for 200,000 dollars. Thorn and Wayne pose for pictures with the check, with Nettie allowed in as well once she donated a sum. Nettie then volunteered to give kisses to anyone who donates a certain amount, and was having a difficult time at first due to the wives in attendance but eventually got a couple takers.

Thorn then begins to speak about Silver League radio and how wonderful it is, in which people started to tune out to the conversation. He cheerfully announces that if anybody would care to join the organization, he will personally put them into contact with some very convincing people. Bruce mutters a question to himself, wondering why one of the most corrupt councilmembers turning a leaf like this. Nettie calls him out on this, wondering what he meant, but Bruce announced that he has to leave due to a massive headache that he had gotten.

Pleased with himself, Thorn then meets with Smiles in a comfortable room away from the public. Smiles then gets down to business, asking Thorn about his motives. Thorn, now a devotee to the Silver Legion, was utterly convinced of their message to do good, and he wishes to do the same in his work. He grew sick with with the corruption happening inside Tammany Hall and outside on the streets of Gotham, and announced that he has quit his job to focus on forming the Justice Legion. His true motive on running for Mayor in the upcoming election came out a bit after, where he wishes to evoke positive change that will eventually benefit the city. He believes that restoring confidence in the police force is the first step to bring order, and responded that he was not concerned at all with the police resisting his help. If they refuse, after all, it would just make them look bad – the force is rather corrupt in areas, and refusing help to change it puts them in a tight spot. When asked on how the Silver Legion plays into all of this, he says that they gave him something to believe in, which he believes the city so desperately needs.

After wrapping up the interview, Smiles then goes out to meet with Nettie, who was being accosted by a rich man. The man begins to insult Smiles, and the two of them began to argue, which quickly was escalating into a fight. Nettie put a stop to it, gave Smiles a contact card, and spent the rest of the night with the guy, eventually being able to ditch him.

Smiles’ article about Thorn’s plans was headline news the next day, which sent the precinct up in a roar. Later that afternoon, Thorn and two men wearing brown suits with a silver L show up to visit the station, letting them know that they should expect a stream of information on criminals in the neighborhood within the next few days. Jack stood up from his desk and asked if the information is reliable, Thorn curtly replied that of course it would be, double, tripled checked even. What good would police be if they didn’t get correct information? The three men promptly leave. Jack, feeling uneasy about these men, tries to sneak away to follow them but gets caught by his boss and is sent back to his desk.

Nettie calls Bruce to see how his headache is, and if he was feeling any better. Alfred picks up the phone and informs her that Bruce had a long night. Nettie questions this, since he said he was ill, and Alfred said that he definitely was ill after all of the establishments that he visited after the party. Alfred does say that Bruce is awake, and that he will put him on the phone. Bruce does groggily pick up, and tells her that he forgot about her and the party entirely. Offended, Nettie hung up on him, despite his pleas.

She then decides to head over to the Times and speak directly with Smiles. She arrived at a good time – Smiles was arguing with his editor on a strange new vigilante that had come out (not the one that day, in fact), and that he wasn’t going to report on such nonsense. He lets her know that they will have a better chance of talking if they both leave, and they hurry out to do so. She takes him to a nice place, and honors her promise of getting him a drink. After some conversation, and many drinks later, her true motive comes out – she wants to know his contacts, to sell weapons to vigilantes. Unfortunately for her, even while drunk Smiles is completely married to his job, and the conversation ended shortly thereafter.

After a short nap, Jack decides to visit Thorn’s mansion. He studies it for awhile but doesn’t see any patterns for the guards – quantity is making up for quality. Jack believes that it may be better to get one of them alone to get some information out of them, so he shadows a group of two who are leaving down to a subway station. A robbery was taking place when he walks in, and draws a pistol at the two robbers when they made their way for the exit. Jack yells at them to empty their pockets and give the stuff back. The thugs are unconvinced, so Jack slugs both of them with his bullets. The men shouted in surprise before he shoots them in the head, then immediately leaves.

Feeling a massive hangover coming on, Smiles gets to the scene of the crime shortly after and learns from Forensics that the MO matches up with the shootings from the previous night. Unlike the previous night, however, there are both witnesses and lights in the station, so he was able to get a description of the man. Smiles feels that if he didn’t know better, the shooter could have been his son, Jack – but dismisses the thought. He and a few police officers come up with the name, Lone Gunslinger, to describe the man for the time being, and after a few photographs and receiving an illustration based on witness description, Smiles gets to work on crafting the story. He wakes up from his desk the next day to find a nice gift from Nettie – a brand new camera and an apology for the night before.

The police station is full of angry chatter about the most recent crime, saying that the vigilante is playing right into Thorn’s hands. Jack, laying his head low at his desk, receives another manilla envelope. He waits until he gets home before opening it this time, and sees a photo of him killing the two men in the subway station, with another note saying, “What are these guys to you?” Jack burns it, then contemplates killing Thorn directly. Deciding it is a bad idea this time, he votes against it, yet still cannot resist the urge to take into the night again to deal some justice.

As he scouts from the rooftops, he hears a thump next to him and footprints coming in his direction. Jack takes off and hides, but the voice simply calls for him to come out and talk. Jack steps out from his hiding place and sees that it’s Batman. They discuss the mansion, and Batman tells him his theory on Thorn: he is a puppet, and that he is taking his orders from someone. Jack asks Batman why he can’t just go in there and take out a few guys on his way to Thorn, but Batman tells him that it’s not his style – he wants evidence and does things the right way. Jack says that the police will be owned in a few days by that guy, though Batman scoffs on the suggestion. Batman asks Jack what he thinks of the name that the press gave him, which Jack dislikes, then turns the question back to Batman on his own personal choice. Batman tells him that people are afraid of bats, which is a plus, but it also fits in to some of the things that he does, then proves it by gliding off. In awe, Jack leaves, trying to think of a moniker to distinguish himself.

Nettie goes gambling at Sadie’s, and all of the attendants are impressed except for Sadie herself. The two of them spend the evening staring each other down and one-upping each other.

The next day, Justice Legion members are filling in the precinct and causing ruckus by giving too much information – some good, others conflicting. Jack tries to find out where one of the Legion members are from, and follows one of them to his home in Lower Manhattan. He shows off his badge when the man answered the door, and wanted to ask some questions about his job. The man talks about standard stuff, from his duties to his personal life. He then talks about how wonderful the Silver Legion is, and while he wasn’t that excited about it in the beginning, he once heard the Disciple speak and thought that he was so convincing that he immediately signed up to be a member.

Thanking the man for his time, Jack left to call up his dad to look into this Disciple fellow. Smiles thought that was more interesting than the new “Turtle Vigilante”, especially since the Silver Legion seemed to be getting more mention lately. He informed Jack that he would check it out after he took some pictures of guy that was saved from a fall by the “Bow and Arrow Vigilante”. Smiles makes his way over to the building and found out that the Disciple speaks at 7 that night. He asked if he could have a personal interview with the Disciple afterward, but was instantly denied.

Bruce gets into contact with Nettie, and wanted to take her out on a date that evening, which surprised her since it was such short notice. He told her that she needed to dress down for it, and that she needed to bring her guns because it may get a little weird. She let him know that he was always a little weird and that’s why she liked hanging out with him. He seemingly smiled to himself, then tells her that they were going to listen to a sermon by the Silver Legion that night, at 7 pm, followed by a nice dinner.

At 7 pm, the place was packed – Bruce and Nettie managed to get a seat easily, while Smiles had to shove an old lady off for hers. Jack monitored the building outside for any suspicious activity. The beginning of the sermon was rather boring, though gotten lively once the Disciple comes out. The people watched in awe, and while Smiles seemingly got caught up in it, Bruce and Nettie were able to resist whatever was happening in that room. The Disciple wasn’t talking at all – it was a voice that was projected into their minds directly, it seemed. From outside, Jack noticed that the hall was eerily quiet for a church sermon, one that he expected to be rather loud and grandiose.

After the sermon, Jack sought out his father in the crowd to ask him how it was. Smiles rapturously spoke of how excellent the sermon was, and that he finally found the truth after all of these years. He took off to write a grand essay on what he had just heard, and Jack, concerned that there was something strange going on, took watch of the building. Shortly after, he saw a van come around the building, pick something up and drive away. Getting into a taxi, he orders that the driver follows it, which excited the driver, since he had always wanted to be a part of a chase. The driver did an excellent job following the van across the city, which eventually stopped at Thorn’s mansion.

Meanwhile, Bruce and Nettie go to a nice place for dinner. He tells her that while she was many things – a sharp dresser and a shrewd business owner, he wanted to meet the woman under the makeup and thought that there was something there. Nettie on the other hand, tells him that she is rather disappointed with the date. The whole ordeal was weird at the sermon, especially since the Disciple didn’t say anything. Bruce suddenly looked very angry, his eyes flashing red and his muscles tensing, muttering “They need to be stopped – there’s more than meets the eye with these guys.” Looking down at his hands, he puts the bent fork and knife aside, asking for another set. Nettie asks if Bruce is okay, he replies that while she is nice, he is not. While she assured him that she’s not nice either, he tells her that the city is an abyss, and so is he, and neither one like what they see in each other. Apologizing, he gives her a card an address, promising that he will go on a much better date the next time, on his personal plane, which impressed her very much.

Jack went out to seek the Batman, in order to share what he had learned. They find each other, then Batman asked if Jack wanted a piece of the action down in the mansion below. While Batman doesn’t think that Jack could take them on himself, he believes that the man can be of some use for him. Jack said if he thought that he could take on the project himself, he wouldn’t have looked for Batman in the first place. Batman tells Jack that the gun thing is unwarranted, since you cannot apologize later – sometimes we all make mistakes, and that’s not one that you can correct. Jack assures him that he doesn’t make mistakes. Batman then asks Jack if it’s possible for him to make some noise to distract the guards while he deals with the mansion himself, and Jack thinks that’s something he definitely can do. The two of them then travel to the mansion rooftop, and then Jack asks Batman for his grappling hook so he can make a clean escape afterward. Batman gives it to him on the condition that he can keep the body count low, and then sends him off.

Jack lands by the garage and takes out the shotgun, waiting for some guards to pass. He sees a pair and aims for their knees, crippling them instantly. The noise from the shotgun blast and the resulting cry from the injured alerts people to the area. Jack takes out the grappling hook, aims for the rooftop but misses. He instead hits the wall and injures himself, but is still able to climb on the roof and escape, trusting Batman to carry out his work.

In the morning, Smiles looks at the 14,000 word essay he had written on how wonderful the Silver Legion is and immediately burned it, not wanting the world to see the worst work he had ever written. Thorn was found pounding on the doors of Tammany Hall, pleading to come back in but nobody would let him. The citizens of Gotham woke up from their daze, confused about the strange event that had just happened.

Nettie on the other hand was taken out on a fabulous date with Bruce Wayne on his plane that evening. It turns out that Gotham is a beautiful city at night.

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July 12, 2015
Their Name Is Legion, Part 1

Gotham, October XX, 1931

“It seems more impossible things happen in the city – some lucky chap gets to report on them sometimes, or not, because nobody would believe it.” Seymour Smiles mused to himself as he walked down the street tracking down yet another story.

It had been around three months since the “ Arkham Incident”, and the city seems to be cooling down a little in time for the autumn weather – which the residents are extremely grateful for. The Gotham Giants are in the playoffs, the Gang War between Falcone and Maroni died down with Moroni’s arrest, and Harvey Dent is on such a roll that everybody believes he is a shoe-in for the next mayoral election (or at least, a higher position than district attorney). Batman has been seen more often these days, furthering his quest of bring down Falcone’s operation by searching for the “lever” that will bring it crashing down.

Smiles pondered these events as he walked into Sadie’s bar and took a seat at the counter. Per his usual luck, the owner herself was behind the bar, cleaning glasses and getting ready for the evening crowd. He introduces himself, adding the note that he is the respected journalist of the Times, and states that he heard some interesting information that she may know a thing or two about the “Owl Man”.

“Who?” Sadie jokingly replied, and said afterward that she didn’t really know much more than what was written in the paper. She did wonder what his interest in this particular story was though, in which Smiles said that he had heard some conflicting information. When she thought about it, she did remember having some strange owl-related dreams whenever Umbra Stix comes by the bar, though kept that note to herself. She simply told Smiles that the bar has a way of attracting plenty of information, that he’s free to stop by whenever he has a chance, and that she will let him know if she hears anything.

Clarence sits at his kitchen table, with a bowl of roaches and nursing his newfound addiction to used motor oil, as he waits for Stix. Clarence manages to keep the foul drink down this time, though hasn’t been as lucky previously. Stix raises his eyebrow as he walks in on this, then the two of them discuss their next plan – they still have a bunch of small gems from the History Museum heist, and need to get rid of them. Clarence had heard of a reliable fence, named Nina Fortuna, and the two of them set off to meet with her.

The address leads them to a local pharmacy, which the fence operates out of. Clarence was unable to fight against his kleptomaniac tendencies and began to start pilfering things. A woman from behind the counter notices and begins to yell at him, though Stix gets in front of her and draws her attention to the small bag that he drops on the counter. She picks it up, shakes it a little bit, and then immediately summons them to the back room of the shop.

The woman introduces herself as Nina, a plain looking woman in black, though presents herself as very capable. She looks around the room a little bit to make sure that they are alone, before examining the gems further. By looking at the gems, she gets a sense that some of these are from the Natural History Museum a couple months ago. Nina tells the two that she feels that the gems are still a bit too hot right now to give them their full worth, but can at least give them half of that until she is able to move them and earn more. Stix uses his skills to sense their worth and felt that she was honest in giving a good deal. Before the two of them leave, Stix tells her that they can be found at Sadie’s bar from time to time, if she needs to get in contact with them about the gems.

The two of them head over to the bar next, to stake out their favorite corner and discuss what to do next. Sadie comes over and greets them with a couple drinks, then asks Stix about his connection with the Owl Man. The two men deny it, though she feels that there’s more that’s going on than meets the eye. She says that Seymour Smiles, the reporter, is interested in finding information about the Owl Man, and there may be something in it for him if he goes through with it. The two of them think about it, then remember that Smiles is one of the prime contacts for Willie Sutton, the bank robber who loves speaking to the press. The two of them decide that stealing from the bank robber would be a great job, and tells Sadie that if Smiles needs to contact them, he can, and gives a card to her. Clarence helps himself to an insect that made his way inside of the bar, which left Sadie squeamish in more ways than one. She decided it was best now to leave the two of them be, as they continued to discuss their plans.

That night, Stix gets contacted by Edgar Mandragora through his dreams. “Long time, no see,” Mandragora greets. He tells Stix about his premonition – one of them is going to die soon, and he feels it’s going to be Stix, because Mandragora previously betrayed him. He hopes that Stix doesn’t hold any harsh feelings towards him, in which Stix scoffs at the idea. “We’ll see what you think about me at the end…” he states ominously, and drops off of the link.

Clarence wakes up hearing a manic giggle in his ear, fading out from a dream that he had. His eyes immediately trail up to the ceiling, seeing “Bang, you’re dead!” in big bright red letters. Clarence’s eyes then darted to the door, with the words “Bang, you’re dead…. again!” painted on the back. The windows say “We can’t see through you!”, and the walls liberally splattered with numerous phrases such as “Who are you?” and “What kind of Joker would do this to you?!” Searching through his apartment for clues, he opens the closet door and a shotgun goes off over his head, grazing the top of his skull. On the back of the closet door, a message happily reminds him that “You should be more careful!”

Clarence rings up Stix and immediately asked him if anything strange happened in his apartment, and that he comes over as soon as possible. Stix arrives shortly after, concerned with the bring red “Ha! Ha! Ha!!” written on the front of the door. Clarence opens the door to greet Stix, in which the gentleman immediately asked what had happened to his face. Disgruntled, Clarence explained the situation and that it happened while he was sleeping. Stix promises that he will “suggest” that the landlord takes care of the damage, and points out that Clarence should probably get that wound looked at. They go to the hospital to address the wound, and the staff seemed quite concerned with how he had gotten it. The two of them somewhat convinced them that Clarence was cleaning off a shotgun and it fired accidentally. The staff then cleaned his wound, checked his hearing, and gave him a clean bill of health minus a small amount of tinnitus from the shotgun blast.

Stix then tells Clarence about his night, and his mental meeting with Edgar Mandragora. The two of them get a sense that the Legion may be involved in this somehow, in which Clarence advised that the best course of action is to set the local headquarters on fire. Stix gives two thumbs up at the idea, and they decide to commit the act at night, after most of the people left for the day.

After getting in touch with the Times editor a couple times, Sadie finally was able to get in contact with Smiles, letting him know that she came across a person that may know a thing or two about the Owl Man. She then lets him know that she doesn’t do things for free, being a business owner and all, in which Smiles promises that when he interviews the contact, he will also bring in the food critic who will give the restaurant a look over. Sadie believes this to be a good deal, and passes on Stix’s contact information over to the reporter.

In the evening, Stix and Clarence head over to the headquarters to do a little bit of scouting before the act. There was a church service happening during that time, with free cookies and water. Clarence goes inside, grabs a sacramental cookie and listens to it – which ended up being flat off awful. Most of the congregation also seem to be there for the free food instead of the message, and only a few people remained after the service was over, enthralled by the service and drinking the self-filling water from the cups. Believing that they had seen enough, Stix and Clarence leave the church.

The two men go out for a quick meal, and as the night fell, Clarence flexed his mental muscles by hurling a fireball at the building, singing the wall. He was then hit with a brick from above, and looked up to see a caped man wagging his finger at him. “Stop,” the caped crusader advised in a gruff voice. Clarence asked if he wanted to chat, and Batman seemingly nodded. Clarence waited for him to come down, but instead a rope spun around the small man’s ankle and he jerked up to meet with Batman above. Batman let him know that Stix is being dense, and that the Legion had nothing to do with this. As Stix stood below, he heard a faint voice in his ear, saying that “… He’s right.” Batman then let the rope holding Clarence go, letting him fall towards the ground, though before he hit the pavement below, Batman does a little twist of the rope and the small man landed with a thump. The vigilante seemingly then vanished, off to dampen the fire that had started.

“You want to know what happened to the last guy that was caught doing arson?” The voice then whispered into Stix’s ear. “He died a thousand cuts, though he didn’t quite make it to a thousand. Do you know what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Do you realize how hard it was to get that lunkhead to come here and meet you? I want to talk to you, I heard evil things about you. You’re the cause of great many a problem.” Stix then asked who the voice was, in which he responded, “Your jury and your executioner, your choice.” Stix then asks if he’s familiar with Mandragora, and the voice says that he doesn’t like him either. Either way, the Legion is only harmful to themselves, though Stix notes that they are abusive to people like him as well.

The voice tells Stix that it is quite evil when you burn down a building with hundreds of innocents, and that he vows to prevent evil. Stix then wonders aloud if this conversation is even happening, in which the voice counters if that if it is, the two of them can walk away from it. Stix then proposes that maybe they should work together, and that some use could come from it. The voice though, works on its own, but is still waiting to see the shape of Stix’s soul. Clarence’s, by contrast, is as clear as the sun, though Stix’s own is cloudy. Clarence comes to Stix to discuss what just happened, and during that conversation, the voice vanished. The two of them return to the apartment to rest for the evening and ponder further on the events of that night.

Jim Gordon makes a stop into Nina’s pharmacy the next morning. He greets her at the counter, and says that he had received a tip that she may or may not know about some diamonds that look close to the ones taken from the History Museum. She wonders why he’s so concerned about those, and why he thinks she knows anything about them in the first place – she is, in fact, still in mourning over her missing husband, and asks why he isn’t doing anything about that instead. Gordon hints that it may be because of some of her friends, in which some have been found belly up in the river, and even went as far to suggest that her husband may be one of them. He then says that all he wanted was to enlist her help in regards to the stolen jewels, and gives her his card.

Stix receives a call from Seymour Smiles the next morning, asking him a few questions about the Owl Man. Stix wonders why Smiles is interested in the Owl Man, which seems a little bizarre for him. Smiles begins to trail off, telling him that there is a man that talks to him at night, with seemingly huge eyes and a voice saying how evil the Owl Man is, the last part sounding as if he was in a slight trance. Snapping awake a little, he then mentions that six or so other people have had the same issue. Concerned, Stix then instead asks about Willie Sutton, the bank robber, in which Smiles is curious as to why he is asking about him. Smiles finds him interesting and wants to meet him in person, at Sadie’s bar.

Later that night, Smiles arrives with the food critic of the Times, in which Sadie pulls him aside and sets him up with a table. With her charm turned up to 11, she had no problem winning over the food critic, who easily fell into her trap. She sweetened the deal by promising a fantastic show on stage later that night, agreeing to his request of a specific dance. It ended up completely successful, and the writer promises a wonderful write-up the next day.

Smiles on the other hand, finds his way to the isolated corner in the back, where the others were. Settling down, he asks if they can keep a secret, and then divulges the real reason why he has the urge to investigate the Owl Man – Batman himself requested it. He then tells the story on how it happened, that he was walking through an alleyway when suddenly a rope grabbed him by the ankles and pulled him up. A gruff voice whispered in his ear, “Find out the shape of his soul,” meaning, the Owl Man, then let him down on the ground. Clarence tells Smiles that they witnessed the Owl Man a couple months ago at the Museum, and Smiles countered with the rumor that he was spotted last night at the Legion’s headquarters. They asked where Smiles had gotten that information, but he was not willing to divulge anything about the contact, except that it was an actual person. The group then discussed the link between Batman and the Owl Man, whether or not that they were actually working together, and also wondered where vigilantes such as he got the money to operate. Smiles finds that line of thought interesting and will get in touch with them again after he looks into it more.

After Smiles leaves, the other two leave as well for Clarence’s apartment, discussing the possibility of tracking Smiles since there seems to be something up with him. They think that there is a possibility that the Legion is involved, since the “Shape of Soul” comment is consistent with them. When the two of the arrive at the apartment, there is a bullseye with an arrow pointing to the center saying “You are here,” and the bottom of the message saying “Ha ha ha!!” Clarence suggests that maybe they should let the Legion come to them instead, saying that seems to be what they’re doing already with this mess, and as he opens the door, a crossbow bolt fires past them. They enter to find a message on the crossbow, saying “We tried to kill you, but came up SHORT!” A brick was found on the floor from the window it went through, with another note saying “The door was LOCKED.” The two of them attempted to craft a plan – Stix leaves the apartment like normal and comes back invisible, while Clarence sets up a bunch of pots and pans around every entrance to the apartment, in case someone tries to sneak in. Stix has no problem coming back under invisible cover, and the two of them end up spending a peaceful night in the apartment with no issues.

Sadie happily opens up the Gotham Times the next morning to find a glowing review of herself in the culture section of the newspaper, with a secondary review of the actual restaurant. She promptly hung it up behind the counter for all the patrons to see. She then sent Smiles a fruit basket as a thank you message, since the review will undoubtedly bring in more revenue. Nina on the other hand is not as lucky – she finally meets a buyer for some of the gems, but does not get as good of a price as she hopes and refuses to sell.

Clarence wakes up from yet another weird dream, and agrees to switch places with Stix so he could get some sleep. Clarence then writes “Come On In!” on a piece of paper and sticks it to the window, message facing out. Shortly after, a sharp knock is heard at the door. Clarence wakes Stix up and then goes to look at the peephole outside, which was covered. Clarence takes a bit of time to find a huge chunk of metal and hovers it as he opens the door. A gas grenade pops into the apartment, then the other person quickly shuts the door. Clarence attempts to throw the mental hunk through the door. It goes through and he hears a meaty “Thunk!” against the wall. The two then hurried up to open the window and get some air, as the gas from the grenade seeped through the apartment. On the streets below, they see a mime waving at them. Enraged, Clarence tries to rip the fire escape off of the building next door to throw at the mime, but the mime managed to escape into the other building before it hit him.

As Clarence throws some fire at the other building, a pair of blue legs drop down above him and tells him that it’s not nice to play with fire. Clarence immediately sends some fire up at the strange man’s direction, then tries to hit him a couple more times as the man flies down the fire escape. “You’ll be hearing from the Blue Beetle!” the man shouts, suit on fire, as he runs away screaming. The other building is completely inflamed at this time, and the two men escape to the ground level as the police and firemen show up. Stix comes up with a brilliant idea – he should help these people while projecting the image of the Owl Man into their heads, convincing them that he was a force of good.

Nina receives a phone call around this time, telling her that “It seems there is a problem that needs to be neutralized. Good Scouts stay alive”. She collects her equipment, hops on a motorcycle and heads down to the scene of the crime. She caught a glimpse of Stix working to help some of these citizens and was able to figure out that he is the Owl Man after all, and also noticed how satisfied Clarence was with the burning building. She assisted with the scene, but was not able to get close to them due to the commotion. Somehow the victims made their way over to Sadie’s bar, where she continued Lizzy’s tradition of helping the inflicted, for less than noble reasons than her predecessor – random acts of charity can be extremely good for business in the long run. She ends up running a successful relief fund for the fire victims, and gets accolades from the Salvation Army who promised her protection in very religious, sort of uncomfortable words.

The building fire made it on the front of the newspaper the next day, with the headline that the Owl Man saved multiple people. Clarence spread rumors that the Blue Beetle caused the issues, which made it as a small after note in a section of the paper as well.

Nina checked her mail in the morning and found a message, simply stating to find the “Fire Bug”. Keeping that in mind, she got another message that there was another buyer interested in the diamonds, and was willing to pay well for them. She sold them immediately, wanting to be done with the whole ordeal, and was glad to wash her hands of that problem.

Clarence returns to his apartment and examines the hunk of metal. He sees that there’s plenty of blood covering it, but it didn’t seem to kill the guy, and he regretted that he let him escape. Clarence then wrote a note saying, “Nice try, Jackass” and posted it on his door. He later found that “Jackass” was crossed off and “Joker, to you” was written in its place. Clarence then met with Stix and began to discuss the masked criminal and vigilante business, and how it may be interesting to actually get involved with it.

That night, Mandragora appears in Stix’s mind again, saying that what happened was unexpected. Clarence may be more powerful than even he, and that Stix should worry about him. Stix points out that if Mandragora is so worried, than he should leave the town. Amused, Mandragora tells him that he’s not scared at all, and that he’s actually here for keeps – especially since he knows where Stix is, but there’s no way that he can be found. Mandragora then goes to tell him the analogy of the two hikers and the bear – you only need to be faster than the other guy, and Mandragora is pretty sure that he’ll be the one that lives. He also laments over the Owl Man, that he was setting him up to be the bad guy, but Stix goes and makes him good with the arson event. Mandragora warns him about Clarence and his power once more time, and then adds that he didn’t truly intend for what is about to happen, before leaving.

The next day, Stix reads the newspaper and finds out that the Silver Legion is on their way from Star City to “Clean Up” the town of Gotham, with Gotham saying “Bring It!”. The piece was written in a way that did not take the threat seriously at all, though the quote from the founder of the Silver Legion, stating that Gotham is a “den of inequity” suggests that they might find it a graver matter.

Nina and her source discuss the “fire bug” – she believes that he can be dealt with easily, while the source needs a promise that no more buildings will be burnt and the city needs to be protected overall. She then contacts Stix and Clarence about the sale of the diamonds, and meets the two of them in her pharmacy. After paying them, she confronts them about the arson event, saying that she knows everything about it and that the two of them should be a little more concerned about what is going on – there are some parties that are very concerned about what is happening to the city. As she continued on, Clarence began to interpret her comments as a threat and hit her twice with fire. She fell on the ground, in shock from the burns, and the two of them shuffled out as the building caught on fire. The pharmacy workers rescued her and immediately brought her to the hospital, in which she received treatment. While she managed fine, the others who were brought into the hospital from the previous arson began to have mental issues, and had to be shipped off to Arkham Asylum, some never to be seen again.

Clarence and Stix were sitting in the apartment, waiting for the next assault, when two bullets came through the window, hitting Clarence in the head. The man fell down, bleeding profusely, with no hope of survival as the last bit of life drained from his body.

A nurse came by to set a card down at Nina’s bedside table. The front expressed a “Get Well!” message, though the inside had one simple message: “The problem has been solved.”

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April 12, 2015
Desires, Part 3

Gotham, August XX, 1931

The group each wake up in their own dingy cells, wearing a jumpsuit that signified that they were locked up in Arkham Asylum. A quick look out the window told them that they were extremely high up, and the reinforced doors and windows hinted in a way that there was little hope for escape.

A voice suddenly spoke through the speaker in the room to each one of them, telling them all that they were lucky that they were dealing with him instead of Jonathan Crane – that man deals with fear, and how far a human can be pushed before he dies from pure fright. Strange’s own experiments are much less daunting – he promises that he can give them anything that they want, based on their desires. The Voice offers it to Clarence first, who neglected to speak. Stix ignored the Voice to check to see who else is there, and found out from the responses that the four of them are present, and their cells were neatly in a row. At this time, Clarence uses his powers to shake Stix’s bed to inform him of his presence, but the action caused him to suddenly feel a psychic presence on him.

The Voice then turned to Clair and asked her the same question, which her response was that she wanted to be let out. She tries intimidation, threatening that she knows people, but the Voice did not care – his friends in “low places” are more powerful than hers in high places, and that if he let her out, his life would surely end. He then offers her anything she wants – youth, beauty, the ability to fly, and so on. Clair states that she’s perfect already the way she is, and that she doesn’t need anything.

Sadie wants to know what the voice gets out of the deal. The Voice says that he is a man of science, and he learns many things from the experiments. And anything is possible through them, but at a cost – these services are not “free”, and the person receiving them must give up something in exchange for their desire.

Stix then flags down the Voice and offers to give up his jumpsuit, or the lack of freedom, in exchange for being let out of here. The Voice believed those choices to be insufficient, until Stix then offered his services instead. The Voice offers to enhance mental or physical capabilities, but Stix isn’t quite interested yet. The Voice guarantees that he has the best reorganization tools in the country. All he needs to do is discuss it first with “lower management” and depending on what is required in the transformation, they decide if it’s worth the work or not.

Clarence attempts to pull the wall out between his cell and Stix’s so that they can talk to each other, but a force knocks him out for a few seconds. He wakes up to find that the wall is intact, and attempts again. He succeeds in drilling a hole, but can definitely feel something gripping his psyche when he does it. The Voice remarks in astonishment as Clarence walks into Stix’s room, saying that it was the most remarkable thing he’s seen in quite awhile, even before treatment. He also noted that he’d ask that Clarence do it again, but hinted that it was probably not safe for him to do so.

Stix used Mind Shield on both him and Clarence, so that they could discuss with each other about what they think the Voice is up to. Stix believes that he is quite interesting, and Clarence wants to speak to him on a more level basis. They invite him down, but his response was a strict no, with a hint of fear, and that he cannot come down to visit with them at this time.

Clair psychologically examines him and learns two things from the discussion – one, he is contemptuous of Johnathan Crane, and two, he is not schooled at psychology at all. Like Clair, his knowledge is one of a layperson’s, which is strange, given his status. She asks what this guy’s name is, or what he should be called, and he simply replies that they should call him “The Doctor”.

Stix becomes irritated at the lack of tobacco in his current situation, and asks if the Doctor would be so polite as to prescribe him some. The Doctor was agreeable, and sent for some to be delivered. Sadie, not a smoking person, asked for alcohol, which according to the Doctor, is harder to find in the Asylum due to it being a much more dangerous substance to have in the building. He demanded something more in exchange, which ended up being her jumpsuit. Sadie agreed, believing it to be stuffy in the cell anyway, and pushed her clothing out of the door. In exchange she was given some wine in a paper cup by a man on the other side. She tries to get the man to open the door and join her with the wine, but he unfortunately ran off.

The conversation between the group and The Doctor turned towards “Lower Management” and what kind of people they are. The Doctor seemed to become increasingly fearful about the subject and immediately shut off the PA system.

The group sat in silence for awhile, until dinner was served. Clair tried to fake a heart attack in order to get their attention, which worked, but against her – gas poured into the room and knocked her unconscious. The Doctor’s voice appears over the PA system again, and lets everybody know what happened. He said that her being gassed was a good thing – he in fact, saved her life by doing that, because she may have been treated much worse otherwise. However, he adds as a warning, she won’t be as lucky again if she attempts a second time.

Stix resumes asking about “Lower Management” and then experiences feelings of being viewed, judged and found boring. The psychic grip that Clarence felt on him was suddenly no longer there since it shifted over to his partner, and he uses this time to try and punch another hole in the wall to no avail. He attempts a second time but the mental strain that he experienced from it was so strenuous that he began to heave over, sick from the stress. He gives up at that point, and decides its better to bide his time just a bit longer.

Clair wakes up with a strange feeling in her ear, and no feeling in her left foot. She screams for Max as she jumps out of her bed, and stumbles as she tries to walk. After awhile, she eventually regains feeling in her foot, and is relieved about it. Everyone else was just left confused on who this Max person was, and why she was screaming for him.

The Doctor spoke up again, and mentions that if they do not come to a conclusion soon, Crane may pick up on them after his current experiment. After thinking about it, Clarence offers a desire to enhance his capability over metal. The voice seemed excited that a suggestion finally came up, yet was fearful about it. He mentioned that he will speak to “Lower Management”, but it will have to wait until next morning – they are much less pleasant in the evening and he does not want to disturb them. The Doctor does want another person though, and Clarence suggests that Clair should be the other experiment, due to her age. He thinks she would be a good candidate, in fact, because she has lived quite long for how much she has been through. He name-dropped Nygma, and how fascinated he was by her, and the others added other stories that they have heard about her – that she had been shot in the face and healed miraculously quick afterwards. Hearing that, the Doctor seemed satisfied enough, and bids them a goodnight.

During the night, Sadie and Clair woke up to hear a bunch of guttural grunting that went on outside. Sadie was unable to really understand any of it, but Clair was able to tap into her past spy experience to break the code, and begin speaking to them. Sadie on the other hand, gotten a surprise visit from Cesare. He warned her about the experiments, and spoke to her about his. He was a curious person and wanted to know and see everything, so he willingly gave himself up for those powers, but ended up losing his free will in exchange. It wasn’t until that night in Lizzy’s bar, where he was able to fight back against some of it. That night, Lizzy was about to lose her life to her bodyguard, and he found that he was in fact able to go against himself and interfere, due to her pure soul. Cesare also notes that Sadie is not as corrupt as the others, and warns her about the upcoming prison break. He lets her know that he will die soon, but cannot say why, nor can he break her out of the cell when she asked to be taken with him. He says that he is being called, and they bid each other farewell.

The next morning, the Doctor checks in with the two who wants experiments. Clair says that she simply wants to be harder to kill, saying that she doesn’t need youth or beauty – she’s already beautiful and perfect otherwise, and that she is in her prime. Clarence wants to be even stronger than he is already, and use it in different ways. Thinking back to last night, Sadie really implores the other two to take some time to really think about what they’re going to go through and what they are giving up, though the other two seemed willing to go along with it regardless.

The Doctor then asks if they can keep a secret – wait, he then states, don’t answer that, they can’t and neither can he. He tells them that the experiments are based on how far they can push people and keep them human. Stix asks about the human concept, and what makes them less human. The Doctor sidestepped the question, stating that “Lower Management” are the ones that actually go through with conducting them, and that he’s simply the one that organizes them. Speaking of which, he notes, he has a meeting with them and must leave.

A bunch of insane laughter comes on the speakers later, from the Doctor himself, saying that “Lower Management” is ecstatic and cannot wait to perform them. Clair begins to have second thoughts about the whole ordeal, and Clarence begins to think about it as well, since he originally wants Clair to go first while he watches before he truly decides if it’s for him. The Doctor repeats that Lower Management wants to go ahead with it soon, and Clarence will feel no pain due to the drugs.

The Doctor flips to Clair and asks if she really had reconsidered. She doesn’t want to do it without seeing what happens to Clarence first. The Doctor simply promises that she will be comfortable. Clair then asks why everybody here laughs so maniacally. He sidestepped the question and says to let him know if she changes her mind again. He adds that Crane is just finishing cleaning up after his last experiment, and that he said that the fluids from it were the most interesting. Clair then shrugs, says what the hell, and agrees to go along with it anyway.

The switch was flipped back to Clarence, and the Doctor asks if it’s possible for him to patch the hole in the wall because he doesn’t want Stix to be gassed. Clarence’s powers can’t do anything about it, he lets him know, so the Doctor says that it’s nighty-night for Stix too, he supposes. Stix goes to the furthest corner of the room to meditate as the gassing begins. He was able to lower his breath enough so that the gasses don’t affect him, then he attempts to cloud his presence as the people come in for Clarence, hoping to leave as well. As the psychic spotlight comes down on him, Stix’s mental trap that he had set for them goes off – though due to the strength of his opponent, the mind trapper became the trapped. Stix felt pain and shocked from the tables being turned on it, experiencing a feeling similar to that of a circus performer with eyes all over him. He then quickly changed to his mind shield to continue watching Clarence. The two guys that came for him were large, with glass eyes, sewn mouths and claws for hands, each donning the Arkham uniform. As they closed the door, Stix made another attempt to slip out and actually made it into the hallway. He watched the elevator go down to B10.

Stix instead goes up to the 20th floor, and takes note of the nice carpeting and paneled walls. The door says “Hugo Strange, Handle with Care.” Stix makes a mental note of it as he opened the door and walked into the room. It resembled an old jail cell, where most of the room was barred off. The inside of the cage was rather nice though, and self-sufficient, with large windows, a nice bathroom, and a console with some cameras. A bald old man turns around, and asks how Stix made it in here. Stix ignored the question, and asked if he was Hugo Strange. The man nodded, saying he was the one that designed the place, including the cell where he was kept. Stix offers to let him out, but Strange says that he was happy where he was (with a hint of terror in his voice), and that he can still conduct some experiments from his cage. Stix attempted to use some of his suggestion abilities on Strange to have Sadie be brought a doctor’s suit, but the powers of Arkham detected him and prevented it from happening. Stix then walked away and left the door open, despite Strange’s protests, and went down each floor to look for a set of keys. He eventually comes across a trustee station at the 15th floor and finds some clothing, batons and chloroform. Stix takes some of the supplies, pass some of them off to Sadie as a means of protection, and then waits in his own room.

Later, the guards came back with Clair and Clarence. Both of them were completely covered in blood and slime, and were dumped into their respective rooms. Cesare stood in the doorway and went unnoticed by both guards as they went back down the elevator. Cesare then turned to Stix, and said that the “Masters” were quite intrigued by him. Stix says that he already knows, thinking about the struggles that he has had with them already. Cesare then warns Stix about the jailbreak as well, based on what he has seen of it, the results will not be pretty. Stix asks him on what the best course of action will be, which Cesare says that it really depends on his own desire. If Stix and his companions simply want to leave, they should help them do so. If they desire to protect Gotham, however, they should try and stop it from happening. Stix asks if Cesare will assist, but he says that he is unable, and that he has gone over his limit already. His destiny is to die in flames after the jailbreak, which will happen soon, and there is nothing he can do about it. Cesare then bids Stix farewell before taking off in the elevator.

A trustee comes upstairs with a ring of keys, and spots Stix as he tries to reach for the keys. Stix tries to suggest to not press the alarm button, but fails and it is pulled. The trustee strangely turns to open one of the jail cell doors, and a giant man steps out into the hallway – ten feet tall, naked, and no genitals. He uses telepathy to speak with Stix, and let him know that he is one of Doctor Strange’s more successful experiments – the others were much less fortunate. He wanted to know if Stix was the one that contacted them the night prior, and when he described the person more in detail, it ended up sounding as if it was Clair. Stix let him know her location, but notes that she and his other companion are unconscious. The man, preferring the name Thing One, was pleased by it – he says that Clair and Clarence will be disoriented and highly dangerous when they wake up, which is good for the destruction once they all escape. They feel that the city needs to experience the suffering that their Asylum has brought onto them, and invites the rest of them to join him. Wanting to get out and believing that an existence outside of the walls is preferred to the life inside, the two conscious members of the group agree to follow.

Once everybody is freed from their cell, the group go up the elevator to greet Strange. Thing One faces him and says that he knows that Strange has a way out if he ever wanted, and that he should brag a lot less if that’s information that he didn’t want known. Strange asked what would happened if he refused to tell, and he was promptly threatened to be fed to one of his “children” if he didn’t comply. Strange then told them that there is a way to the roof by crawling through a passageway, then letting some rope down to rappel to the ground level. The experimentees were much too large or grotesque to actually make it through the passageway, so they held Sadie hostage as Stix went to lower the rope so that they could escape through the much larger window. Stix offered Strange to come with them, but he refused, saying that he would be killed if he had left with them. It had been noted, however, that the escape route appeared to have been used one last time after them.

A short time later, a trail of destruction was left in the monsters’ wake as they went through the city, superhumans against all of Gotham’s protective forces – Batman, the Shadow, the Gotham Police, and other, more secretive force. Many were found dead after the scuffle, which caused the city to erupt in panic. The Mayor drunkenly appeared from retirement to give a statement on the tragic state of affairs of the City, as they begin to try to come up with a plan on how to tackle this situation. Surprisingly yet, Arkham is not a part of that plan, as the building still stands proud and strong, with no investigations thrown against it.

Epilogue – As the dawn broke against the Gothic spire of Arkham Asylum, some people reported a large flame bursting from the top of one of its spires. Cesare had finally woke up free from his bind so that he could achieve his final desire, to see the dawn one last time, but paid the price in full – his own life.

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March 01, 2015
Desires, Part 2

Gotham, August XX, 1931

With Summer, things begin to really heat up – being a large city, Gotham does not fare very well with the August heatwave, and neither do its people.

The situation with the two major crime bosses is surprisingly stable at the moment, despite some incidents involving territory. Prices on alcohol had dropped through the floor, which leaves Sal Maroni struggling more as he is a primary player on this side of business, leaving him to begin a sideline business in extortion. Carmine Falcone, luckily, has other resources to rely on – Dutch Schultz, one of his men, has moved Falcone’s business to cater exclusively upscale, much to a chagrin of one Cecil Kent.

Harvey Bullock was reinstated by a furious mayor on orders from someone else. The mayor, giving an official proclamation that everyone else can go to hell, will finish his term but overall has left the city without his dubious leadership. Franklin Roosevelt, former New York Governor, called Gotham a disgrace and will bring down Tammany Hall himself, which locals scoff at, saying it’s as likely as his chances at becoming President.

The people are not very hopeful – after all, Gotham is struggling as much as the rest of the country economically, as unemployment continues to climb and banks continue to fail.

The situation isn’t as dire for all, though, and some folks have managed well the last few months. Gordon received high recognition on the “ Rage Murders”, and Harvey Dent has been performing so well that he is now able to work on whatever he feels like, his first target was announced as Sal Maroni. Seymour Smiles has also received great recognition for impeccable journalism, and due to his work, Tyrone Armstrong only gotten 3-5 years instead of life.

After reporting on the theft at the Gotham Natural History Museum (where the perp, Murph the Surf, was sentenced to 50 years at Blackgate Prison), Smiles has increasingly found himself hearing about a pair of thieves who are gaining a reputation of successfully performing small to medium thefts with no evidence. The only thing he really has to work off of are the whispers of someone only known as “the Owl Man”, and ever since, he has had several reoccurring nightmares of being a mouse.

Speaking of, Mr. Stix and Clarence have not found any evidence themselves of Edgar Mandragora. The man had all but vanished after the Eagle Diamond incident, using the same MO that they have been. Nevertheless the two of them have been enjoying their time in Gotham, and are sure that their paths will cross again.

From time to time, they find themselves down at Lizzy Brown’s speakeasy. Her business, like many others, struggling to survive the price of alcohol dropping, many are failing, while others are moving more upscale (with encouragement from the Penguin, of course). With her money and connections, Lizzy is currently doing alright, though is still having troubles fending off Joey Massino, who wants her love now that he no longer has to extort her for money. She had hired a new bodyguard, who does well with guns, for this very reason.

Despite her preparations, interesting things continue to happen to Lizzy Brown, for better or for worse.

The day began as a normal one, where she did her accounting in the back as her bartender, Sadie, began preparing for the evening’s work. An older man with a cane walks in, and wanted to speak with Lizzy. He introduced himself as Dr. Ricardo Caligari, who is normally a professor at Columbia University, but has had to find extra income after the Depression hit and budgets were cut. He performs magic shows as entertainment, and promises that it will be a good time if he is allowed to use their stage. A bit hesitant, Lizzy sends Sadie out to check out some of the places that Caligari had performed at previously. She was able to learn that he is moving from place to place and is performing at increasingly nicer bars. The places that the magician visits sees a boost in sales after he shows up, and this is primarily due to the man’s main act with a large man named Cesare. Rumor has it that Cesare’s predictions tend to come true, though only for small things like the weather. Bars do not get to enjoy his company forever, and he eventually moves on after a short amount of time.

After gambling a good portion of her money away, Sadie reports positively to Lizzy on the news and somehow they managed to speak with the doctor about performing a show. After some heavy advertising, the show is put on a week later to a large crowd. Sadie acts as the magician’s assistant, which helped his overall presence, despite his issues with dexterity. Finally he finally motioned for six men to come forward with the large casket, Cesare laying sleeping inside.

Caligari announces to the audience that he had cured this violent man through hypnosis, but by doing so, Cesare had gained the ability to tell them about the future, past and current. He then asks the audience for volunteers. Joey Massino pushes himself forward to volunteer, and asks about Lizzy and if she’d ever accept his love. Cesare stated with a monotone voice that she will never accept it, because he will be dead by the next day. This shocked the crowd which then ruptured into applause, while Massino increasingly became upset about the whole situation. Sadie tries to convince him to at least get off the stage, but instead gave him a swift kick to the nether regions after he commented about her being a “consolation prize”.

He tries to grab her and pull her down with him, though at this point, a brawl began to break down. Clair, who was attending the show and loves being in situations such as these, put on her brass knuckles and gave him a punch straight to the nuts. Joey gave a bull elephant scream before going limp and is ejected into the street. Due to her skills, Clair eventually got to have drinks and sex with an attractive man, while Sadie turned all of her own suitors down.

Stix, who was also in attendance at the time, became curious about Joey and followed him out to ask for his home address. After gaining it, he and Clarence go to visit Joey’s place, which was no problem to break in due to all of the metal locks. The man did not make it home when they were there, but they did find a couple hundred dollars worth of small knicknacks and cash.

Joey was easily found the next day in the headlines of the Gotham Times – he was getting ready for bed later that night when he was stabbed in the back with a knife. The police are seemingly all over this murder, including Johnny Broderick – Gordon’s protégé. He interviews Sadie for awhile, and looks for Clair, who is nowhere to be found. Stix and Clarence attempt a different method of investigation by going to the university where he works, but learns from the head of the department, Professor Headley, that the man never worked there at all, and that he had never heard of him. The professor does ask them that if they do catch Caligari, they are to let him know so that he can answer for posing as one of his staff members, though Stix and Clarence brush it off as soon as they left since there is no benefit for them in doing so.

Clair sluggishly makes her way to the stand after her wild night, and finds herself face to face with Harvey Dent, who is carrying a bottle of alcohol and wants to speak with her privately. She wants to go back to her place for it, but he eventually persuades her to stay put instead. Harvey has publicly stated that he will bring down a major actor in the alcohol smuggling business and has so far come up dry. But he has discovered that a small group of people, including Lizzy and Clair, seem to have some connections with both of them and he needs her help in his quest to take in one of them. If she does, Dent promises to help her out in the future.

Clair thought for awhile, and finally decided on Maroni, due to the physical harm that he had caused her in the past, and asks what the plan is for bringing him down. Dent says it’s all up to her before handing her a card with his contact information on it, saying that she needs to contact him when she has something set up.

Clair then makes her way over to Lizzy’s, anticipating another show. She’s not the only one, seeing the place is packed with a lot of people, including the FBI, who are interrogating several people about previous events. Finally, when the show is about to happen, the magician never shows up. After some time, Lizzy announces a free round drinks on the house to placate the crowd, which ended up working rather well.

A curious Clarence asked around but ended up becoming so distracted by shiny objects and alcohol that he promptly forgot what was going on. Sadie, on the other hand, had a much more successful night – by turning up the charm, she learned two things: one, that the Joker finds Caligari so interesting that he is trying to hunt him down, and secondly, there is a group of college students that are so dedicated to this magic show that they were able to find out his movements and have a short list of places that he may appear next. Finding one of them attractive, she ends up leaving with one of the college boys, who she eventually found not to be so mentally attractive.

What Clarence did find was Stix’s couch, and laid there in a daze until Stix returned. Asking that Stix uses his mental abilities to help him remember the night, Stix hypnotizes him and learns the same information that Sadie did, then stripped Clarence naked before leaving. When Clarence wakes up, he uses his own powers to fiddle with Stix’s bed frame as payback.

The next day, Professor Headley had entered the bar to speak with Sadie about Caligari’s performance, particularly his movement as he went about the stage. As Sadie described it, he found himself increasingly disappointed by the description, which caught her eye. As she questioned it, he described himself as a “scientist”, but what Caligari was performing that night wasn’t what the Professor thought it was. She questioned him about magic, but he moved around the subject a little before leaving.

Clair decided to do a little investigation of her own, and eventually ran into one of the FBI guys from the previous night. In the daytime, she was able to recognize him as one of Falcone’s special agents. He wants to know why she’s searching for Caligari, which she refused to say until he tells her what Falcone will get out of this. He simply states that Falcone thinks that this is one of those “special cases”, and in return, she tells him that she doesn’t think that what Caligari was performing up there was hypnosis at all.

The next day, Sadie enters the bar to start her shift, but instead finds herself in a middle of a crime scene. She quickly learns that Lizzy has been kidnapped and the bodyguard is dead. After some waterworks, Harvey Bullock tells her what he knows – the resident forensics scientist, Nygma, was able to determine that the bodyguard was killed in the same way as the previous man – using a bowing knife in a certain angle to reach the heart. Large fingerprints were found on the scene but it doesn’t match anything they have on file and it will take awhile to investigate it. Professor Headley shows up at this time and finds himself deeply disturbed about what happened, but managed to convince the police to let him stay and move around.

Stix and Clarence take their chances by looking for Cesare at Arkham, and after describing the events that happened, are surprised to learn that Dr. Caligari is actually the night shift psychologist at the asylum. After Clarence asks to speak with the manager, they are introduced to Dr. Johnathan Crane. They begin the same story about the reason that they are there – that Cesare is a relative of Clarence, before they notice Crane’s motionless face and stance at the mention of the man. After a couple seconds, he snaps and gets enthusiastic, asking that they tell them more about Cesare. He receives a description of the night’s events with Caligari, and they are wondering why the night psychologist was performing magic tricks at night. Crane’s jaw is open at this point, before laughing. He tells them that what he had learned was very informative, and that what had happened will be investigated more thoroughly. With another insane laugh, he mentioned that he wants to share some “experiments” with Caligari once they meet up, and that it’s very possible that he will be let go afterwards. Stix and Clarence ask if they can attend but Crane prefers that it be a private show.

At this time, Stix feels a presence penetrate his mind, which makes him feel very ill all of the sudden, and that it was caused by a powerful entity inside of the building somewhere. Due to the illness, they do leave, though they invite Crane to dinner beforehand once the man has an opening.

Meanwhile, Clair goes to talk to Falcone about what had happened between her and Dent. Falcone seems pleased by the arrangement and is willing to assist her in any way possible to take care of it – he will cancel all of her debts and give her 5,000 dollars. Clair then asks about the “special case” that his men are undercover for, and he only says that it’s something that he’s doing “for the good of the city”. He then pours the both of them a fancy liquor and toasts to Maroni’s death.

In high spirits, she makes her way over to Lizzy’s bar, though only finds Sadie and Professor Headley there, shortly joined afterward by Stix and Clarence. They tell the group about what had happened at the bar, and mentioned that it was the same large man that had committed the previous murder – Headley adding at this point that the man was so strong that he had bent the doorframe to get inside. They wonder if it’s Cesare, which at this point Clarence mentioned that they found out that Caligari, the guy who was controlling him was actually from Arkham, confirmed after speaking with Dr. Crane. Headley was surprised that they had managed to speak with him, since the man is very difficult to get a hold of most times.

Headley then leads them through the crime scene – the bodyguard was overwhelmed and was taken down in a pool of blood before making his way upstairs to Lizzy’s room, where she was grabbed while she was still asleep, and he managed to take her without her screaming downstairs and out of the bar, tracking blood for a good few yards.

While they were upstairs in Lizzy’s room, they heard a commotion downstairs. Clair and Clarence sneak down to see that there was a group of thugs tying up the staff. While Sadie hid under the bed, the rest of the group decided on a surprise attack to take them down. Clair began to fire her .44 Magnum at them and Clarence used his telekinetic ability to throw one guy’s knife into another. He then attempts to use kegs to throw at them, but the power of disbelief was too great for him to really use any of it, until the professor uses his cane to shoot out something to stun them. Stix uses his ability to become much better at handling a gun and joins in the fray until they managed to kill one and take down the rest. Clarence ties up one using metal from the bar, and were able to find out by interrogating him that they were working for the Joker, and that the man is getting frustrated with the lack of clues on the whereabouts of Cesare and Caligari.

The police show up and are baffled by the crime scene – they were easily able to rule it as an act of self defense, however they could not figure out the knife wounds nor could they figure out how the metal bar got wrapped around the one thug, despite Clarence telling them that he was the one that did it. Stix walked out due to his disgust with the police, using his mind powers to convince them that he was not the one that they were looking for, but the rest of the crew was questioned. Sadie was too shaken about what had just taken place, especially with a corpse still on the ground and fresh blood splattered on the floor, so she was unable to really press charges. The police then began to a little clean up before leaving without charging anyone with any crime.

While they were busy with the police, the Professor pulls Clarence aside to talk to him about magic. He begins by saying that he inherited the work of a fellow colleague after his death, Herr Professor Wittelsbach von Dusseldorf, and was amazed by the fact that his notes on magic happened to be factual after he tried it. He wants to know if Clarence can help him with a spell, which Clarence tells him that Stix may be the better one to talk to, since his own powers are more physical than anything. After they meet with Stix, he learns that their powers are different in the fact that they are psychics, who are able to perform things more naturally versus setting up spells. Nevertheless, the Professor believes they can help and mentions that he wants to try a tracking spell to find Lizzy, though it will take some time and energy. He will let them know once it’s done, which will be in an hour, and that they will meet at a cafe known as the Purple Onion. By the time they go, Sadie is with them because she wants to know about the whereabouts of her boss, while Clair is there for sheer curiosity. The spell did work, she is actually in the bell tower of the Gotham Cathedral.

The group walk into the Cathedral with no issues and are greeted by the resident Priest. He originally tells them that the bell tower is closed in the evenings due to the fact that there is no electricity up there, but after some gentle “persuasion” by Stix, he gives them lamps and sends them on their way up the stairs. They were the first to arrive, and Clair, out of breath and smoking a cigarette, answers Lizzy’s call when she asks who is present. Clair and Clarence search for any traps, Stix goes to untie her and Sadie catches Lizzy’s body as she slides down from the bell.

She confirms their suspicion that the giant was Cesare after all, who caught her by surprise and tied her to the bell “for her own protection”. Strangely enough, his eyes were closed the whole time he was tying her, telling her that she was beautiful and that she was in danger, however, he predicts that this way the first people to come to rescue her will be her allies and she will finally be safe. Lizzy then decides that she will make good on the threat that she and several others have been saying this whole time – she is finally going to move to Metropolis after this ordeal. She decides to sell the business to Sadie before she leaves, believing that it’s in capable enough hands to live on without her.

Meanwhile, the rest of them search the room for something that can be used to locate Cesare. They find a small scrap of cloth that could belong to him, which they give to the professor once they return from the bell tower. The professor took the cloth and tells them to meet him at the usual cafe, but this time he did not show up at all. Stix and Clarence find out where he lives, and were easily able to open the door. They find the professor, passed out, in the middle of a giant pentagram surrounded by candles burning everywhere. Slapping him awake, Headley jumps up with a bolt and backs away afraid as soon as he sees their faces.

It takes a long time and a lot of alcohol before he finally tells them, reluctantly, that he performed the ceremony and was attacked psychically to an inch of his life. The psychic force told him that if he goes anywhere near “them” again, they will kill him. He was able to describe them as beings beyond the stars, who live in Arkham’s basement. Despite what happened, he believes that they had messed with the wrong person, and that he will personally bring them down if it’s the last thing he will ever do. Headley then asks for their assistance, and will offer his own in exchange. He believes that Cesare is one of the keys to this – he is one of their creatures and needs to be found before more damage is done, and it’s likely that Cesare is under their control. Hedley then asks them if the group is familiar with the Eagle Diamond, seeing that it actually belongs to those beings. They mention that they are, and Headley tells them that he feels sorry for the guy that has it – anyone with telepathic or empathetic abilities may end up merging with the device. Stix scoffs, knowing who exactly has it, and says that he is not sorry for the guy at all.

Clarence and Stix come up with a plan to investigate Arkham further by going through Johnathan Crane. Seeing that Crane is a man, they believe that they can use Sadie to their advantage, and begin to discuss this further as they leave. Headley mutters to himself that he needs to learn spells to seal one’s mind from invasion.

Back at the bar, Clarence and Stix try to convince Sadie to join them for dinner with Crane, sweetening the deal by telling her that he is a handsome and successful doctor. Sadie believes there is more to it, but then is intimidated by Clair into going, saying that she needs to do it for Lizzy. Clarence gets into contact with Crane, who happens to have an opening the next evening at his favorite Italian restaurant, Vesuvius, and that they should join him at his private dining room there. The group agrees to meet him there at a certain time that evening, before sending Clair to investigate the restaurant and Sadie off to buy an attractive red dress. Clair finds out that the restaurant is top notch, and that there are many rooms to the place, but nothing else to note.

Stix and Clarence meet up with Crane the following evening and are seated for dinner. Clarence leaves the table for a bit and comes back with Sadie, who brought along her “grandmother”. They give the excuse that they bumped into Clarence on their way over to their own room, and instead wanted to dine with him. Clarence gives up his seat for Sadie, and Crane resumes his conversation. Completely ignoring Sadie (which she found extremely unusual), he tells them about the unauthorized experiments that Caligari was performing at the asylum, and after the interrogation, he was “let go”. When Clarence asked where, Crane clarified that he was let go as a staff member to enroll as a patient. Clair uses some her knowledge of psychology to describe what she thought of Caligari, which caught Crane’s attention and made him much more fascinated in her than the much younger woman next to him (to Clair’s satisfaction). Food was served and found to be quite delicious, and wine was poured to no end.

As the night went on, Stix found Crane’s conversation so fascinating that he did not hear the thump of his companions falling face first on the table around him. Crane then grinned and complimented Stix on his endurance, finding it quite satisfactory for the experiments that he is about to conduct. Stix finds Crane’s words strange as he snaps to attention, seeing the fate of everyone else before his vision fades to black from the spell that hit him from behind….

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February 8th, 2015
Desires

June XX, Gotham, 1931

The focus falls on an abandoned copy of The Gotham Times. Seymour Smiles, ace crime reporter, has made the front page again, with the following headline in bold print: “ What in the world did they think they were doing?

Clair Burnham was sleeping restfully in her bed, when she had the strangest dream. She was a tiny mouse in a field, and saw a great owl flying in the sky. It lands next to her, and stares at her with big eyes, saying “Hoo!!” in a large, booming voice. She then wakes up in a sweat, screaming.

She thought nothing of it though, and began her day with the usual – selling fireworks and cigarettes to small children. Three people then come walking up to her usual stand: one tall, one short and one very heavily armed.

Defensive, Clair asks them if they are working for Falcone or the City. The tall one, known as Mr. Stix, tells her that he has heard about her reputation in Metropolis and thinks she would be good for the job he plans to pull – he plans to heist the Gotham Museum of Natural History, and needs help in acquiring his items and moving them.

Clair wants to know what she will get out of it, and Mr. Stix promises a portion of the profit, which should be an immense sum of money. If she is interested in finding out more, she can join the rest of them for a “cup of tea”. Clair, preferring her liquor, suggests that they go to Lizzy’s establishment instead, and immediately closes up shop.

Once there, the four sit down in a booth and discuss the finer details of the heist. The target is the jewelry exhibit, specifically the “House of Morgan”. The three gems that JP Morgan had donated to the museum – the Star of India, the DeLong Star Ruby, and the Eagle Diamond – are extremely valuable, and thus are under heavy security. While Clair thinks that the little ones would be better targets because they are easier to move, Stix is much more interested in the Eagle Diamond due to inherent properties that he does not want to discuss. The smaller gems are definitely also included in the deal, though the true prize will not be fenced at all.

Since he has heard all of this before, Clarence Fitzclarence wanders off outside to look for something more interesting. His eyes land on a large metal clip on a police officer, and instantly tries to pickpocket. The police officer took notice and begins to yell at him, eventually pinning him down. Clarence at this time uses his telekenetic powers to send the money clip into the alleyway, distracting the police officer with his whining. Stix hears the commotion and steps out, asking the officer if he has a problem with his friend. The officer, none too thrilled, left only after Stix uses his powers of persuasion to suggest that the money clip was left at home. Clarence was chastised by Stix for going after small game, though it did end up being a sizable $50 sum.

In the meantime, Clair begins to accost Clyde Parker, their gunman, who was very uncomfortable with the attention he was getting. When she got way too close for comfort, he pulled out his snub revolver in hopes that she would be shocked enough for him to get away. Unfortunately for him, she had the opposite affect of finding it erotic, which forced him to try to escape. She follows him under his chosen route under the table and grapples him with unnatural strength and will for such an old person – Clyde only managed to break free just as Stix and Clarence return to the table.

After wagging his finger at the two, the group eventually decides to go and explore the museum to figure out how they were going to do this. Once inside, they discover that the target is on the third floor, guarded by state of the art security cameras and little alarms on the glass. Clarence tries to get a feel for the cameras and alarms to figure out where the controls are located, though struggles to do so. Clair notices the ivy on the outside wall leading up to the window, and makes a note that it would be a good point of access later. She also tries to get a sense of security in the area, though ends up getting into a fight with a guard. Stix also makes an attempt at this by asking the front desk, though gets a nasty flash with the words “These are mine, stay away from them.” Disturbed, he takes a quick break to mull that over and to treat his newly acquired headache.

After some further searching, the four of them come back together and decide that they are going to come back at night. As they leave, Clarence uses his powers to break the locks on the windows, giving them easier access on their way back.

The group returns at 11 pm to explore the building. Once they arrived, Stix begins to feel a general presence in the area, which feels familiar in a bad way. Clarence begins to use his manhole cover to fly up to the third story window. The manhole cover had different ideas, however, and took off like a rocket into the air with Clarence holding on for dear life below. They pass by several bewildered observers, including Batman, before a voice in his head spoke.

“Well, a friend of Mr. Stix, I see. I’m not fond of Mr. Stix”, said the voice as the manhole cover is flung to make impact with a building. Before it hits, it shoots straight up again, and the voice begins to make a deal, “… If you go away, or if you hurt Mr. Stix, I will reward you.” Clarence agrees to the voice’s terms and is released from mental control. Clarence drops down to the ground in front of a group of thugs who were mugging an innocent bystander, and to intimidate them, he chucks the manhole cover straight through the brick wall next to them. Suddenly he feels a presence behind him, whispering “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men”, before turning around and discovering that he cannot see the Shadow. “Next time, I’ll stop you”, he tells Clarence before he goes to deal with the thugs. Disturbed by the recent turn of events, Clarence immediately leaves and just goes straight back to their hotel instead of trying to deal with anything more that night.

Thinking that Clarence was not going to come back, Stix and Clair try to climb up the building themselves. Once they were up there, they saw that the gem cases had already been looted and gems and scattered about – the worst part being that the large gems, including the diamond, were already missing. A guard came in at this moment and saw Stix at the window, then runs to pull a fire alarm for help. Clair throws a flash grenade, blinding the man in hopes that he did not get a good look at them, before the trio drive off to the hideout.

Clarence was already there, and the two pyschics discuss the recent disturbances in their head, to the disbelief of the two more mundane people in the room. The group decide that the best course of action is to find out who stole the gems and steal it from them, though a good night of rest is in order first.

The morning newspaper, with another front page article by Seymour Smiles, describes in great detail what had happened at the museum. The initial investigation discovered that the museum’s security for the jewels was actually a farce, with the explanation being that they didn’t have the money to properly protect them. While the gems are insured, the director needs to check the policy if that is still the case since the security system was not working properly. The missing jewels have an estimated valued at $600,000, and whoever loses the battle, either the museum or the insurance company, would surely go under.

Due to her previous association with him, Clair contacts Smiles to see if he has any more information. He tells her that there is a rumor circulating around the Museum director, Charles Romm – he may have actually been involved for an insurance scam. Smiles also notifies her that the museum guard is down at the police department giving a description of the suspect to be sketched. After the call, the party decides to split up into two – Clair and Clarence go to the jeweler shops to see if anybody has started selling yet, while Stix and Clyde go to speak with Romm.

Clair gets into contact with some of the jewelers that she knows, though unfortunately for Clarence, they do any illegal business outside of the shops, leaving him with no opportunity to steal. They do find out though that the jewelers are actually hungry for the gems to turn up after hearing the news, but nothing has come up yet. The other party manages to make their way to Romm’s apartment, but could not get him to open the door. The pair decide to leave for later that night, with a more skilled person to help them break in. After getting back together, the group share what information they have. On their way out, they manage to find the evening paper, which to Stix’s luck, depicts a man with very owl-like features.

The drive back over to the apartment building was uneventful. Clarence uses his abilities to lower the ladder to let the other three up. Clair opens the window stealthfully and the three of them climb in to find empty wine bottle strewn around the place and an unconscious Charles Romm passed out on the floor. Stix questions Romm about what he knows about the missing jewels. Frightened, the director rattles off general history, until he was threatened enough to focus on the real question. He claims he doesn’t know why they are missing – he had the perfect plan to fund the museum by stealing the jewels using a cat burglar that they got in contact with, but then they were stolen before he was supposed to implement it. Deeming it to be the truth, Stix uses his power of suggestion that this conversation never happened, and that he needed to go to bed.

The next day, the paper reports that suspects to the robbery had already been caught. Jack Roland Murphy, known as “Murph the Surf” in the surfing community, is labeled as prime suspect, though still at large. The accomplice to the crime is currently being held in custody and is being interrogated.

Under the guise of his being his lawyer, Stix was able to get into the police station in order to interview the accomplice. He immediately confesses to the crime – it was Murph’s idea to do it, on a whim. After all, they were only in Gotham for a few days. The accomplice mentions that they had done it while on drugs, and that the glowing eyes will be so happy about their success. The mention of glowing eyes hit Stix with a memory so powerful that it gave him a headache. The accomplice then recognizes Stix as “the Owl”, and that he really admires him.

Stix remembers red glowing eyes to be the psychic mark of Eddie Manadora, a fellow psychic and a sort of rival from their time in training with the Silver Legion. Both of them were in class when they learned that diamonds found in places where they shouldn’t be have special properties that can enhance abilities, and the recent events that happened begun to make sense. While Eddie was not as powerful as Stix before, the possession of the Eagle Diamond appears to have turned the tables.

The entire police station then erupted into cheers as it was announced that Murphy was caught after a murder – he broke into an apartment complex, and knifed the occupant. After Murphy had been processed and thrown into his own cell, Stix confronts him. Murphy admits that he has no memory whatsoever of what he had done with the jewels. He also doesn’t really recall why he is in Gotham – the last thing he fully remembers was being in Star City.

The police then report that two of the gems, the Star of India and the DeLong Star Ruby have been found. The Eagle Diamond continues to be missing, however, and only Stix knows why…

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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.”

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December 07, 2014
Rage - Session 2

Near Tammany Hall– March XX, 1931
Nick Nygma shares details about the recently deceased Richardson and his bodyguard to Smiles, and tells him with disturbed glee about the details – the victims were shot clean through the throat, and the bullets fragmented on the pavement below. Because of that, he is unable to do a ballistics match on any guns. As they discuss this matter,Detective James Gordon comes up to Smiles and shoos him off of the scene again, telling him that his people will deliver information to him when it is ready and safe. Smiles burns the midnight oil to publish the information on the incident for the morning newspaper, and falls asleep at his desk

Carmine Falcone’s butler calls Cecil Kent in the morning about the murder, and tells him that Falcone wants to see him personally at his residence in a couple hours.

Lizzy Brown is alright with Richardson being killed because she knew that Richardson only paid attention to the wealthy constituents in his district. Max Hammer, who is currently at the speakeasy enjoying a cup of coffee, also reads the story, as well as the statement that the mayor will be making an important announcement at noon that day about the most recent murder, as well as the alcohol shortage issue.

At this time, a brute of a man comes into the bar and wants to talk to Lizzy in a private location, mentioning that Falcone is losing his grip with the alcohol business. Lizzy says that “private” is her and Max, though the large man disagrees. He hands her a handwritten note, which states a question whether or not Lizzy is interested in receiving booze from a loser or a winner. The man represents certain “interested parties”, and when asked, will not divulge the name without an arm wrestling contest. Before taking his leave, the thug states that he will be back tomorrow to know what the answer is – reminding her, that in this sort of business, all offers are limited.

Max has a feeling that he has seen this large man somewhere before, and chooses to shadow him. It takes a decent wad of cash to a cabbie to follow the man’s dilapidated Model T, he is taken to an old warehouse in the Harbor District. He takes note of the location, then does a stakeout to see if he can learn more about the people coming and going of this place.

Meanwhile, Cecil arrives fashionably on time and is greeted by Falcone as a member of the organization. He tells Cecil that he appreciates the initiative that he had taken in the murder of Johnny the Bottle, and is calling a council of war of interested parties to participate in solving it. Others begin showing up, including Wilson from Tammany Hall, Sal Maroni and his men, as well as Detective James Gordon, who looks uncomfortable in this situation.

Gordon states what is new with the case – Nygma does not know if the murder of Richardson is a copycat case or not. The reason is still the biggest question with all of this – with Johnny, every single bone was broken. With the new murder, the job is not as thorough. Gordon turns to Wilson at this point to see what he knows. Wilson says that the Mayor was very upset about the turn of events. The councilman was the Mayor’s best drinking buddies, and the Mayor wants to highlight his death and take a course of action about it. Falcone turns to the rest of the council and asks if they should let the Mayor do what he wants. Maroni doesn’t care, Gordon has no comment, Cecil has no reason not to let him run his mouth, and Falcone agrees.

Falcone states that they seem to be a target – Maroni thinks its the Black Mask, while Gordon and Falcone do not think so. Gordon says that the guy is the worst nightmare to meet in the alley. He loves his knives and his modus operandi does not fit this case. Gordon asks Falcone why Falcone hasn’t attempted to get rid of the Black Mask yet – Falcone admits to several failed attempts and that he had determined that the task is too much of a risk to his subordinates, who have already lost too many fingers trying. Cecil wonders if the murderer is going after targets of opportunity in the organization, and suggests that guinea pigs be sent out to see who would be attacked next. Falcone disagrees with the idea – he does not want any harm to come to his folks because he values loyalty. After some back and forth conversation, Falcone dismisses the new folks – Gordon and Cecil. On their way down, Gordon asks how a small time operator like Cecil is involved, and warns him to be careful about his relationship to Falcone. The relationship does prove to be valuable to Cecil however, when Falcone contacts him later and bumps him to the front of the line to receive alcohol as thanks for helping him out.

Cecil then goes to meet Clair Burnham in the rain, smoking in front of a bunch of kids buying fireworks. He brings her a bottle of Russian vodka, and she is not sure what to make of it. Cecil asks if there are any major purchases of fireworks in the last couple months. Clair is reminded of a man that had bought 500 pounds of fireworks from her a couple months ago who paid all in cash, including extra for silence fees and to stop sexually harassing him, and that it may have been used in that explosion a short time later. After some failed sexual passes and pleas for a favor, Cecil believed she was only making stuff up to get his attention.

After that meeting, Clair runs into Smiles and Harvey Bullock at a local hot dog stand, and the two of them listened to his side of the story for a free meal. Harvey believes that while he may have broken the law in doing what he did, the law was actually wrong since it ruins so many lives in the first place. As he tells his sob story, the radio broadcasted the Mayor’s message – he is willing to pay a $25,000 reward for the head of the guy that killed Richardson. The Mayor was very emotional and angrily stated that he wanted the killer dead as a bunch of aides quickly pulled him off of the air. Smiles returns to the office to write a quick opinion piece based on Harvey Bullock’s thoughts on the current prohibition law, but it was not quite good enough to make editorial. The uptick in recent shootings due to the Mayor’s message did keep him busy writing, however.

Meanwhile, Clair goes back to her stand, and then is greeted by Nick Nygma. He is exploring some possibilities on the case, thinking that someone had sold large quantities of explosions to the bomber from a couple months ago, and wants to procure a sample of her explosives to compare to the residue left from the bomb. He then tells her how fascinated he is by her body, that it is truly a marvel that she is still alive, and he would love the chance to examine it more.

Back at the warehouse, Max sees more people coming and going. He doesn’t notice them specifically but he thinks he has seen these large, thuggish men before. At this time, Lizzy makes the call to smuggler contacts to see if anybody recognizes the guy that came in earlier. The contacts do not know who they are, but are approached with the same offer. Max returns to Lizzy and tells her that they need to go to the warehouse, and that they may need Clair’s expertise in getting in. They go to visit her at her stand, but the only thing still left is a note that states “_Gone for the rest of the day – XOXO_”, which was met with a couple of raised eyebrows. Cecil is called instead, but was unable to reach him. The two of them felt best to leave Smiles out of the picture at the moment.

At Clair’s place, Nygma is examining her body thoroughly, thinking that it is a miracle of science that she had lived as long as she had (according to him, she should have died three times over by now) and that the contribution could be revolutionary if she donated it after her death. After his examination, Clair asks to examine the bomb residue, just to get her hands on it, though Nygma refuses. He does offer her the chance to watch as he examines both at his lab, however, which she agrees upon on the condition of a free dinner. Max reaches Clair’s home phone number at this point, and informs her of the plan to get into the warehouse. Since that plan does not happen until early in the morning, Clair decides to live a little and go to both the lab and the warehouse after. After a dinner of cold cut sandwiches, Nygma brings Clair down to his work station and eventually matches her explosives with the bomb residue. Nygma gets excited that they got to examine this together, and lets her know that he finds her extremely attractive under these circumstances. The scene ended quickly after that.

Meanwhile, Cecil finds himself at the Cotton Club. Cecil originally wanted Jeeves in there with him, but due to his outward appearance, Jeeves was concerned about how he will be treated and would prefer to stay outside. Cecil gives him a bottle of decent stuff to occupy him while he waits, and Cecil goes inside to meet with the owner. After a couple questions, the owner tells Cecil about how is business took a bit of a hit after the bombing, and that some of his favorite people and their children died in the accident. Not getting anything useful out of him, Cecil decides to go enjoy himself instead at the party and has a fantastic time.

After Cecil leaves, Jeeves tells Cecil that he feels like they are being followed and has a bad feeling about it. Cecil, fearing for safety, heads to one of Falcone’s casinos. As he steps out of the car, a noose goes around his neck and he is dragged five stories up before being laid on his stomach and a hard weight on his back. The man wanted to know what Cecil knows about these killings and why does he work for Falcone, followed by needing a good answer on why he shouldn’t drop him on the pavement below afterword. Cecil says that he doesn’t know more than anybody else, and that he receives liquor from Falcone so that he can provide liquor to other people so that they don’t hurt anybody else. The man tells him that Falcone is going down, then instructs Cecil to count to ten before getting up. Cecil turns around to get a good luck at him after the count of 5 and sees that it’s Batman – who is nursing a damaged jaw but otherwise seems in fine health, who looked back at Cecil before taking down a stairwell. Cecil waits until the count of 15 before getting up and out of the situation itself. After calming down Jeeves, the both of them go to Falcone to report the news. Falcone is starting to believe that the Batman really needs to be dealt with, but not now.

With smeared lipstick on her face and an unusually nice disposition, Clair is picked up by Lizzy and Max, and the three of them begin to head over to the warehouse. On the way there, Clair describes in detail about her night and what she had learned from Nygma about the Cotton Club explosion. Once they get there, Lizzy gets out and wants to discuss business with the guys that are moving merchandise around. They tell her to come back and do so tomorrow, but she brands herself an opportunist and wants to do it now before her competitors catch wind of all of it. The guy goes to speak with his manager and comes back stating that he is willing to talk about her joining the business, but quickly states that she will die if she talks about this guy to anyone.

Lizzy brings her two associates with her, and they are stripped of all weapons, including their holdout items. They are then led to the office, and Sal Maroni is sitting there, waiting for them. Maroni actually recognizes Max as former Detective VinSant and says that “now he has room to negotiate”. At this time, it finally dawns on Max that he had seen the thugs around him at Johnny Moroni’s apartment.

Sal says that he and Johnny had a bit of a disagreement – he wanted to start his own liquor business, thinking he could do better than Falcone. He went through his own channels and started supplying without wanting to bother his wife and son. Now that Johnny’s dead, Falcone’s business is tapering off, while his small time operation is still running. Lizzy and the gang believe Sal’s grief when he mentions his son, and does not believe that he is the cause of his murder. Sal tells Lizzy right now that he cannot handle a large order, but he believes that Falcone’s boys will be meeting some accidents soon. Slamming his fist down in anger, he tells them how frustrated he is by being second in command and wants to be number one. Lizzy tells him that she only wants a small amount of alcohol as to not draw suspicion on herself – Maroni thinks of it as a good idea, and that he wants for her to be an ambassador of his own business. In exchange for her help, Lizzy wants Joey Massino to be dealt with first – just off their backs, not killed, and Sal sends some of his men on it, effectively sealing the deal.

When asked about the murders, Sal doesn’t know who killed Johnny and cares a lot, however, he does state that he doesn’t mind Bill Peterson’s death. Clair asks directly if Sal attempted the assassination on Carmine Falcone, at this point he shot her a dirty look and asked Lizzy to shut her up, preferably using the gun he slid over to Lizzy. Lizzy deflects that she just wants to focus back on business, and gets a crate of wine for doing such a great job. They get all of their stuff back as they leave, though Clair’s garrote was damaged due to the guards playing with it, much to her disapproval.

Smiles gets a call at 3 AM from an unknown person who promises a wealth of information related to the case. He follows the instructions to retrieve a key from a local speakeasy, then use it to open a locker at Gotham Central Station to find out what it was. On his way to the station, he saw that he was being watched by a classy looking African American woman with a dancer build, and felt that what he was going to find out would land him in big trouble. As he opens the locker, he finds legitimate photos of Clair selling lots of explosives to the man who later set up the explosion at the Cotton Club. Not only that, the photos also incriminate Sal Maroni as the man who had paid him off and sent him back to Metropolis. Needing another person to know some of this information, he contacts Detective Gordon and has him meet him at the station. Smiles does not fully trust Gordon and only shows the photo of the man putting the bomb in the trash can. Gordon recognizes the man as the Louie “the Lucky Louse” Logan, a low-quality assassin from Metropolis, who is wanted for another bombing that had happened there weeks prior. Gordon warns Smiles not to publish what he has – that dangerous people may think that he may know more than what he does, and that may get him in grave trouble.

At this time, another murder happened, this time with a witness. When they got to the scene, they learn after some investigation that the man that was killed was named Big Eddie, a member of Falcone’s prostitution business. Big Eddie, who turned out to be physically small except in one way, was breaking in a new girl by himself when a man came in, broke both of his arms, beat him with brass knuckles and pushed him out of the window. The girl describes the assailant as Batman, even described the clothes that he was wearing. Smiles writes up the facts for the newspaper for the next day.

Cecil hears about the news and goes to the war council meeting at noon. Cecil wants to know if there was any reason why this guy would die in particular. Falcone thinks he is a target of opportunity since he wasn’t much of a loss – Eddie wasn’t the head of the ring after all. Cecil mentions Batman, and tells the rest of them about his own encounter. Gordon pitches in and doesn’t think that the girl is telling the full truth on who she saw.

After Cecil finishes up his meeting, he goes down to Lizzy’s place, and is surprised to see that Smiles is already there, enjoying a meal. The two of them exchange a quick spat before Lizzy and Max state their intention of sharing information. Hammer begins to tell about what had happened previously at the warehouse, but tries to leave out information about Maroni, only referring to him as the “associate”. Cecil determines that Hammer is lying, Hammer did not implicate Maroni’s name. Clair’s turn involves the explosives that she had sold, and how they were a match with the explosion that happened at the Cotton Club a few months back. Cecil then takes his turn talking about the war council and how scared everybody is, as well as his run in with the Batman.

Smiles’ then had his turn to speak, where he said he had dangerous information but did not want Cecil to hear any of it – Cecil was the reason he was dragged into Falcone’s office previously and put in a dangerous situation. Tensions escalated between the two, and Smiles was getting ready to leave before Max stepped in and said that nobody was going anywhere. Cecil used his silver tongue and promised that Falcone will not hear about it, and Smiles reluctantly shared his photos, including the one that implicated Sal Maroni in the bombing. Cecil was able to put two and two together and learned that the “associate” that Max and Lizzy referred to earlier was also Sal Maroni.

Cecil asked Smiles to go to Falcone with this information, and Smiles was very hesitant about it – people that work with Falcone more or less tend to be owned by him in some way in the end. Cecil said that there was no way for him to publish otherwise without risk of harm, yet there was no way he could keep his mouth shut about it either. The two of them argued about it, while Lizzy received a call from an unknown person. They asked if there was anybody in her organization that was pro-Falcone, and if so, they needed to die – the balloon has gone up, and trouble was on its way. At this time, gunshots could be heard not too far from the building, suggesting that a gang war has begun. The group disbands shortly after.

At the end of it, Smiles goes up to his editor directly and gives him the photos, as well as a story to go along with it, hoping that the fact that the gang war had already started lessens the chance of him being killed over it. Though only time will tell what dangers will lie ahead for him as well as the rest of Gotham.

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November 16, 2014
Rage - Session 1

Gotham City– March XX, 1931

Mysterious Narrator: “The city is pretty while it sleeps but people are about to wake up to see the effect of their choices. It is going to get ugly out there”

Seymour Smiles receives a phone call at about 4 AM on a foggy, gray March morning. His editor immediately alarms him to a crime that had happened to one of Gotham’s most important persons – Johnny “The Bottle” Moroni, the city’s prime distributor of alcohol, was recently found dead in front of a small Italian grocer near Mall Street. This proved to be an interesting case from the get go – he was Carmine Falcone’s only man who knew where and when the goods will arrive, and without him and his impeccable memory, shipments of alcohol will stop and run Gotham dry in a matter of days.

The scene of the crime was very busy, and after distributing some hot coffee and donuts, Smiles gathers some information about the crime itself. It seems, after a successful shipment, Johnny was found on the ground with a .22 caliber bullet in the back of his head. The cop also noted that it was “accidental”, as stated by Falcone, and that he wants to find out who “accidentally” put the bullet in there as soon as possible. Smiles tries to approach Detective Gordon, who was arguing about how to handle interrogation with Harvey Bullock, but was shooed off of the premises shortly after Harvey left.

Cecil Kent, high class alcohol salesman, was beginning to receive multiple calls by concerned customers who had heard of what had happened to Moroni. He initially gives a script to his butler, Jeeves, to read to each one of them, but realizes that maybe taking his butler with him on his way to have a chat with Falcone personally was a good idea.

Max Hammer hears from Lizzie Brown about the incident, and the direct impact on her business. She wants to know if Max could find a way to get some so her business can stay afloat, and he goes off to investigate. As he goes to pick up Clair from her usual haunt, he sees her get into a confrontation with Joey Massino. Clair has debt to pay, and the previous owner sold it believing that she will not be good for it. Joey believes that she will be good on the money, however, and mentions that a “party of folks” will be coming by for her if she doesn’t have it in a couple weeks. Max enters at this point, and after a small chat with Joey, the two of them leave.

Cecil arrives at Falcone’s place, but was unable to get in with him, same with Harvey Bullock. Meeting the Penguin was much more successful, and learns over breakfast that Johnny’s dad Sal Moroni is currently in mourning and has people crawling all over the city looking for who did it. Cecil also learned during his investigation that “The Bottle” never let anybody know anything, that he was the only person who knew about the operation which leaves a vacuum of power, and that some people are already scheming to take control of distribution but it will take awhile.

Reports of a $50,000 reward for the capture of the assailant was posted. Several people, interested in a possible cut of that money, shared some information with Smiles that there are some out there that were trying to sell any alcohol that they had that either suddenly vanished quietly without a trace, robbed of what they had, or reported directly to Falcone. Making note of the new information, Smiles meets up with Clair and Max and swaps information. They decide that it may be best to check out the area where the body was found, and run into Cecil when they arrive. Clair found him to be quite handsome, Cecil found her considerably less so. Ignoring her, Cecil realizes that this place is a straight shot from a nearby dock and leaves, the rest of the party following closely behind after Max does a quick check and does not find anything worth of note.

Cecil arrives at the dock and has a chat with the persons working there. He learns that the alcohol on the shipment last night was nothing worth of note (at least to him), and there are other shipments coming on following nights – but due to The Bottle’s system, they will arrive at different docks after he meets up with them on a speedboat a little ways out and gives them a certain password. Cecil thinks about the logic and deduces what docks would have speedboats available to rent at this time of year and begins to make his way to his car.

He does spot Clair on his way out, and concerned about a possible stalker, sends Jeeves over to her. She manages to intimidate him quite well with a pair of brass knuckles and steel grip, which sends the butler back to the car in fear. Not wanting to deal with it, Cecil leaves with him in tow. Some dock guards come at this time for the rest of them, but after some talk and a bit of intimidation, they manage to leave.

Smiles’ knowledge of the area comes in handy and they were able to deduce where Cecil was going to be. They all agree to group up at this time due to common goals, and begin a search of the speedboat in question. Clair finds slips of paper with the names of the boats written on them, which suggests that The Bottle’s memory isn’t as perfect as rumored. The rest of the party thinks that the next logical place to look would be in his own apartment, seeing if there are any further clues found in there.

They arrive at the apartment building to see that it is heavily guarded by large muscular men who are checking each person as they get on the elevator. Cecil was allowed in rather nicely, while Max was rejected even after flashing his badge. Cecil’s treatment went downhill, however, when he was faced with the barrel of a gun when the elevator doors opened up on the correct floor. While Cecil left, the other three decided to climb the stairs all the way to the seventeenth floor to see if that was a better point of entry. Clair used her lockpicking skills to open the door, and her stealth to see that the place was heavily guarded while Johnny’s father goes on a murderous rampage inside of the room. The three of them decide to stake it out for awhile, to see if they leave anytime soon.

It did not take long for the room to be cleared out – as Cecil witnessed, a drive by shooting on the building happened, wiping out everyone who was in the lobby. Neither he nor Jeeves were able to get the license plate on the Model T, however, and leaves.

The rest of the party watched as the room cleared out except for one guard, so they stayed their ground as the police arrive. As the police searched the place, they were able to overhear discussion on how Johnny didn’t die by the bullet wound, but was actually beaten to death beforehand. After the police left, the party enters and notices the impressive stuffed animal collection that “The Bottle” had. They read the tags and noticed that the names on the tags matched the names of the ships that were coming in, and that three more were arriving – one symbolized by a cat, the next a dog, and the final being a giraffe. A picture was taken of the animals in order before they were rearranged, and the three left the place with information in tow.

Cecil arrives at a formal dance that evening and had people approaching him wanting alternate arrangements made due to how vulnerable Falcone was. The man himself shows up shortly after, stating that he has the best men working on the case and that any impediment to the case would result in pain. Cecil looks out the window and sees that the Batman was swinging outside of the building and hurriedly makes his way out.

Max Hammer goes to have a small chat with one of the Sullivan Boys who had made their way out of the Four Leaf Clover, their favorite haunt. He specifically asks about Black Mask on a hunch, and the mobster tells him a story about how his own gang is in a turf war with them, and how he received the intestines of one of their members in a box after an alteration. Black Mask is notoriously difficult to track down, and has pockets of places all over the city.

Smiles publishes the story he had learned previously on how Johnny was actually beaten to death, which is confirmed by the coroner’s report that was released – the report states that the body was actually beaten against the wall of the alleyway before being placed in front of the grocer.

Some time afterward, he meets up with the rest of the group to decide what to do with the information they learned about the ships from the previous day. Cecil wanted to immediately take it to Carmine Falcone, while after some discussion, everyone else decided it may be better to leak some information about the boats to the public and see who showed up, then goes to do so. Cecil on the other hand, immediately goes to tell Carmine Falcone that they knew what the ship was, where it was going to be and what the password was.

Falcone’s men summon Smiles, who takes Clair with him (Max, due to his previous life, decides to lay low). Clair, due to her nature, manages to upset Sal Moroni during the meeting, who goes into a rage and begins to choke her. Smiles apologizes for her behavior, stating that she is needed for the investigation, and the best apology that they are going to give is finding out who committed the crime. Moroni does drop Clair’s body at this point, and while she was physically weak at the point due to the pain, her attitude continued to be strong – enough to earn her a couple kicks and nearly getting her thrown out of the window. The two of them do finally inform them that they found out about the ships through the stuffed animal collection, and that the plan was that they wanted to see who was interested enough to actually show up. Falcone states that his men will stay out of this one, but that he wanted them to continue investigating and that he will be continuously on them until the person responsible is found and captured alive.

The shipyard was a mob that evening, with gunshots firing as soon as the ship arrived to port. The platform was lowered to reveal that Detective Gordon was on the boat, and the police promptly arrived to begin arresting people. The Black Mask was at the scene with his knives, and he fought his way through the police with his gang in order to get away in a police van – and due to the breakneck speed on which he moved, none of it managed to get on film. Harvey Dent, on the other hand, found no trouble getting any pictures taken and gave an official statement about the raid that evening.

The next day, the alcohol that was under Harvey Bullock’s watch suddenly went missing, which caused quite the uproar and launches an investigation led by Dent and Gordon. Bollock’s mouth tends to get him in trouble, with his own comments landing on the front page of the paper, and divides the city even further.

Cecil goes to speak with the Penguin over at the Iceberg about the Black Mask – the gentleman manages to confirm his suspicious that the Black Mask is doing quite well due to the fact that he is making his own stuff. He shares his suspicions with Smiles, as well as hunch about going to the coroner, so Smiles heads over there with Clair.

The rumors about Nick Nygma being a brilliant yet insane man were every bit true – he explained in excited and excruciating detail on how Johnny’s body was knocked unconscious with only one blow before beaten multiple times in a fit of rage by someone sporting brass knuckles. The person who committed the crime, described as a male between 5’10” and 6’5”and heavy set, was not interested in gaining any information from the victim due to his methods. They also learn from him about a person who ended up in Gotham Hospital with injuries from the Batman and may never walk from them again. After being shown multiple pictures of the scene and discussing spleens with the coroner, the two bid their farewell.

Clair goes over to the hospital to speak with the man, learning that he was a former member of the Black Mask’s gang. Batman picked him up and asked him if he knew anything about Johnny the Bottle’s murder before dropping him to the ground and breaking his legs. Noting the information, Clair leaves.

Clair meets up with Smiles to go to the Gordon interview, and runs into Cecil on their way there. He follows them to meet Gordon himself, who is a little less than pleased but allows it. He is asked about his knowledge of the boats last night, and found out that he deduced the same from the stuffed animal collection and that while he found that whoever leaked the information about the boats was an amateur, the fact that they kept the password a secret was a help. Gordon then plans to go back out for the second shipment to see who shows up this time, to see if any pieces will fit. Gordon was then asked about the Batman and while he did state outright that the Batman was not currently active in fighting crime, his appearance is to try and scare them.

After meeting with Gordon, Cecil ends up having a private chat with Falcone. He tells Cecil about an assassination attempt on his life in the previous month – a bomb went off, killing several people near the Cotton Club and nearly destroying the car he was riding ing. Falcone believes that these events are related since the killer wants to bring move on to his turf, and that further investigation into who had tried to make the attempt on his life will bring Johnny’s killer to the forefront. He wants to keep this information a secret from anybody that would spread it around, especially the press. Cecil gives his word, and goes to meet with Max at Lizzie’s bar. He believes that he can trust Max and gives him the details about what had happened, and gave him two people to look for – the person that dealt the explosives, and the person that planted the bomb.

Meanwhile, Smiles gains information about a recent murder of a city councilmember near Tammany Hall. The man, William Peterson and his bodyguard were found beaten and shot in the throat two blocks down from the Hall. When he arrived, he met up with Nick Nygma, who was able to tell with excruciating detail about how the two came up from the subway station, and were on their way to the Hall when Peterson was ambushed. The bodyguard turned around to protect him but was unable to do so before going down as well. Nygma was able to confirm that only one man took them down, and due to the bruising and other injuries, it was done by the same guy – the one that had earlier killed Johnny “The Bottle” Moroni.

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Session 3, October 19, 2014

[Gotham, January 1931]
The situation is not pretty. The Hill House has burned to the ground. Detective Michael Vinsant is a known suspect in the death of Professor Wittlesbach von Dusseldorf. He has since gone underground. Badly injured, Claire Burnham, has returned home to recover. Lizzy Brown is still cleaning up her damaged club while dealing with the pressure of the loan sharks. The antagonist in all this, the possessed arsonist, has escaped into the sewer. To top it off, Seymour Smiles doesn’t have a story for his editor. Ugly.

After talking to Dr. Dark, Smiles and Vinsant, now magically disguised as Tyrone, learn that the black crucifix draws the entities to it. It limits their ability to move around. Avoiding possession? Well, maybe if you had been trained from youth you would have some resistance. Otherwise just avoid contact!

They put together a team to search the sewers for the Entity. They pull in Lizzy and meet their new contact, Jimmy Clogs, at the Gaslight bar. Jimmy, a sewer worker with a great deal of experience dealing with the sewer’s denizens, agrees to assist them. He arms the team with melee weapons, warns them of the dangers of firing weapons in the gas filled tunnels and leads them below. It is not long before they encounter what few know lies beneath Gotham’s city streets, alligators! An alligator attacks the party. Jimmy uses his halberd and Vinsant unloads his pistol. A second alligator bites Vinsant in the leg and pulls him into the water. They are able to defeat the creatures, but badly injured they return the Dr. Dark to re-group.

Dr. Dark has an idea. If they could find Jay Peters, it may be possible to sufficiently strengthen the crucifix he is wearing so that it would be strong enough to draw the second entity into Jay Peters body as well. Both would be trapped there. Would that be fair to Jay Peters?

The entity possessing Jay Peters says that the Indians called him Wiley Coyote. He refers to the other entity as his brother. His brother is stronger. He was able to resist the crucifix. Dr. Dark refers to the entity possessing Jay as the Trickster. His brother is the Killer. He determines that removing the crucifix would kill Jay Peters. Both are stuck to the crucifix. He instructs Tyrone/Vinsant, Smiles, Lizzy and Jimmy that they have to kill the body that Killer possess. Once he is freed from that body he will be drawn into the crucifix. Remember, he is only as intelligent as the creature he possesses.

So, a new plan is hatched; find Jay Peters, perform the ritual on the crucifix, and track down and trap the other Entity.

Where would a possessed Jay Peters be? He has been seen gambling and winning lately. Perhaps the Iceberg Lounge? Jimmy calls in a favor. In exchange for shutting the water shut down at the Iceberg, he promises a night at the club for his coworkers. Smiles and Lizzy arrive at the club to case the place and find Jay Peters. In the meantime, Jimmy and Vinsant are on call ready to save the day when the Penguin calls. Although the Trickster puts up a fight, the Sewer men are able to pile on and subdue him.

Back in Harlem, Dr. Dark’s crew receives Jay Peters. Two hours later they emerge, exhausted but triumphant. The crucifix’s power has been magnified! The next stage of the plan is devised. The monster, Meister Brau, has been moving towards 34th Street, near the Arkham Asylum. Jimmy and his boss Teddy determine they can trap the monster there. The only exit will be Arkham Asylum. They wait until Meister Brau is near and they drop a flare into the sewer below. The large amount of methane build up in this section explodes with a roar! It is enough to wake the Trickster. Jimmy, Tyrone/Vinsant, Smiles, Lizzy, sewer workers and a few of Dr. Dark’s men descend into the sewer.

Before them is Meister Brau, a giant mutated white shark! The monstrosity is terrifying! It chomps a sewer man in half and swallows a second man whole! Despite the terror, the would-be heroes take on the creature and kill it. A red mist swirls up from Meister Brau’s dead form. It flies straight into the crucifix. Jay/Trickster/Killer snaps awake. He strains at binds of the straight jacket, but it holds. Seymour Smiles takes a photo of Meister Brau and the heroes. What a shot!

Dr. Dark helps Vinsant fake his own death. Lizzy adopts Vinsant’s kids. Seymour is unable to impress his editor with the amazing photo of Meister Brau, it is just too unbelievable. Jimmy returns to the sewers, happy at a job well done. Jay Peters/Trickster/Killer is returned to Dr. Dark for safe keeping. He seems the most qualified to contain this most dangerous man.

[Gotham, two months later]
Richard Dent hangs himself after Dent Construction Industries goes bankrupt. Wayne Enterprises purchases remnants of the company, saving the jobs of the last few employees. Wayne Enterprises acted on the orders of Bruce Wayne, the eccentric owner of the company who had vanished some time ago, a company spokesman says that Wayne was in a terrible car accident but still lives and expected to eventually recover completely.

Seymour Smiles receives a note, “Thanks for creating me! I will not harm you, if you don’t tell anyone where I came from. – The Joker.” Smiles began to wonder if suicide accurately describes how Richard Dent died. A couple of days later, Dr. Dark contacted the group and told them the man that used to be Jay Peters somehow escaped.

Epilogue
[View panning over the city, the moon is barely shining through heavy clouds] Mysterious Narrator: Yes, Gotham IS the city that eats its own, that is why I love this town so much.
It has been balanced on the knife edge for two years now. The leaders are clueless or hopelessly corrupt, the followers would rather fight each other to the death than work together to survive. The city is ripe for the picking if you have the wits and the strength to take it. Fortunately I have plenty of both and this town is going to need everything I’ve got to survive. Because I’m going to kick it off the edge and let it fall.

There are a few outliers like the Bat-Man, people who don’t know when they are beaten. But nobody listens them and they don’t even know who their real enemy is. They’ll be just short of dead when they finally figure it out. Heh, if people think this Joker is a terror wait until the day they find out what the Bat-Man is really like.

The voice fades out and you can hear shots, crashing sounds, and gunshots. A spotlight shows against the clouds calling out for the Bat-Man.

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