The Fragile

Chapter 3

The Mop-up Crew

The sun sets over the city. Whisps of twilight touch the last western clouds as our coterie wakes to the scents of the living world.
Khalid and Dimitri stir in their shared apartment, and Michael in his, highlighting to all that the time has come to finally resolve the issue of a communal haven for the coterie. One that will serve the needs of the group and lend itself to defense as well as luxury.

After some brief communication, the three of them meet at an In’N’Out Burger along the 10 Freeway to discuss options. They enlist the help of their lawyers and get to work. Within days, they have purchased an unassuming yet spacious older office building Downtown, nestled in between larger, more modern skyscrapers. The Building is located at 518 West 7th Street, and comes complete with a basement, three levels and internal access to a garage in the back.
They decide to invest some serious capital into renovation work, and have the place fitted with modern furnishings, security and all the comforts a vampire could desire. They even have a short tunnel made off the books that gives them direct access to an old side tunnel of the underground transit system.
They manage to accomplish this in a mere 6 days.
As the renovations are taking place, Dimitri has an old loyal friend flown in from Russia, a fellow mobster and wetwork specialist who goes by the rather appealing moniker Zhaba. If at all possible, Zhaba manages to unsettle all assembled even more than Dimitri. A herculean feat to be sure.

Having finally settled in, the group return their attentions upon their neglected thirsts, and enjoy a night of hunting to regain some sorely needed sustenance. Several hookers, gamers and drug pushers donate their precious blood to hungry lips.

By now, it is Monday the 12th of July. As the group wait to hear back from Montero concerning the meeting with the Tremere and Archon DiPadua, the doorbell rings. Security cameras reveal it to be none other than Ariane.
Michael welcomes her into their new home, asking how she found them so easily.
“I could smell you a mile away” she retorts.
She complements the group on the new place, has an awkward greeting with Zhaba, and gets right down to business.

The meeting with the Tremere is still on hold pending a reply, so Montero has asked that they look into a rather blatant breach of the Masquerade being perpetrated in the Prince’s domain.

Apparently, six Caitiff have newly moved into a gang infested neighbourhood and have started lording it over a group of locals, enjoying the benefits of vampirism without the consequences. The Caitiff seem to be oblivious to the rule of Lextalionis and must be eliminated if possible, and one captured for questioning. She also mentions that due to the suspicious nature of this sudden appearance of so many Caitiff, there is a chance it might all be a trap set up by Phillipe de Lyon. Caution is in order.

The Coterie, with Ariane and Zhaba in tow, make their way to the low income suburb of Gardena, deep in MS 13 territory, where the Caitiff are holed up.

After scouting the place, they discover a party in full swing. Loud music, booze, easily 50 people in and around the property, and several armed ghouls bearing MS 13 gang markers. Clearly these people are not helpless. Using Auspex and Khalid’s ingenious surveillance techniques They discover that all six vampires are within. One upstairs having sex, the others below partying.

After some discussion and planning, the coterie acts. Michael and Ariane (shrouded in shadows) guard the back of the house, Dimitri takes aim with his sniper rifle at the front door from his obfuscated position in the car, and Khalid uses his blood magic to cut the power to the entire street, instantly killing the party mood of the revelers.

The party goers seem to reach a consensus to move the festivities to an abandoned warehouse near Longbeach and begin to pile into various cars. Michael and Ariane, seeing the guards in the back leave, take the opportunity to enter the back of the house. They find two girls passed out on the furniture downstairs, and the last of the party goers filing out the front door. They sneak upstairs, where the sounds of sex continue regardless of the power outage.

Michael surprises the naked vampire by Dominating him to kneel before him, and strikes him hard across the head with his shotgun. The vampire doesn’t pass out, so Ariane produces a wooden stake and impales him through the back, causing him to fall limp on the bed. At that moment, Michael is grazed by a bullet as one of the Ghouls ambushes them from the landing. Michael returns fire with his shotgun but fails to kill him. The Ghoul is wounded on the floor and attempts to continue shooting when Ariane kills him with a shot to the chest.

The majority of the revelers revving loud car engines outside, combined with music, fail to notice the gunshots upstairs, and begin driving away. One unfortunate ghoul does attempt to aid his master upstairs but is promptly shot in the head by Dimitri for his troubles, leaving him to bleed his woes out onto the hallway floor.

Michael and Ariane grab the staked vampire just as Michael notices his Obtenebration shadows have suffocated the hapless girl in the bed. Her lifeless eyes stare up at him as he flees the scene with Ariane, etching the scene in his mind for another time.

They follow the revelers to an abandoned warehouse in Longbeach, where they anticipate the proverbial shit will hit the fan.

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