The Fragile

Chapter 4

Events take a turn...

The hour approaches midnight. The coterie are driving south on the 405 highway to Long Beach, following a convoy of Caitiff, their ghouls, gang bangers and assorted party goers as they make their way to a rave in a disused warehouse in the dockland area.
As they approach the building, they can hear the thumping bass of the rave in full swing. Hundreds of people line the outside of the building waiting to get in. The parking lot is full of cars and milling ravers bedecked in glow-sticks and the latest fashions.
The Caitiff and their friends bypass the line rapidly and are ushered in by the bouncer, leaving the coterie outside to contemplate a course of action.

Michael decides to reconnoiter the building’s exterior for alternate routes in or out. He finds several, but all seem securely sealed. He also notices the fence around the warehouse has clearly been broken open, and the CCTV cameras disabled. In the distance he recognizes the port cranes, and remembers a night a few years back where he was injured by a hand grenade.

Calvin, meanwhile, is also at the rave. He and his friend Zack came to score some drugs from a guy Zack had met once, to fully enjoy the pre-dawn skydive they have planned, but not before enjoying themselves a little in the mean time. Calvin takes to the dance floor with some girls.
It doesn’t escape his notice however, when the Caitiff and their ghouls enter the rave. He decides to keep an eye on them.

Outside, Khalid has devised a way to look inside the rave without risking entering themselves. He uses his hacking skills to access the cell phones of people inside to get an idea of who’s inside and where the vampires and their hangers-on are. The plan works. He spots them milling by the bar and on the dance floor nearby. To his amazement he also spots Calvin dancing.
To help narrow the search, and isolate the vampires and their phones, they open the trunk of their car where the staked Caitiff is lying, and take his phone. Khalid uses it to great effect.

While Khalid hacks the phones, Dimitri calls Zhaba, telling him to clean up the mess at the MS13 gang house they just left. Zhaba agrees and heads over there to take care of things.

Inside, it doesn’t take Calvin long to sense the presence of another vampire, who is trying hard to not be noticed in the immediate vicinity. This peeks his interest, and he starts to actively search for this individual, his senses landing on the very man Zack is buying drugs from. The man looks like a big black man in casual street clothes, but he sees there is more to him. He brushes up against him surreptitiously and gets a reading off his jacket using his Auspex. The jacket is disguised. It is in fact a blood stained, dirty tweed coat. He is also suddenly overwhelmed by the sensation of hundreds of voices screaming directly in his brain as if in terror. A cacophony of anguish that sends him reeling.
Calvin decides he needs to get a closer look, so he blends in with the crowd, and gets behind his target. He arrows into his mind telepathically and discovers two morsels of information: Firstly, that he is his intended target, and secondly that his name is Phillipe.

After some deliberation, the others outside decide that the best course of action is to flush out the vampires. They decide to call the police and inform them of the illegal rave, and watch as the rats scurry. Michael calls his man in the LAPD, Gabe Andrews, and passes on the hot tip.
With the police alerted, they move their car a block away to a dark alley so they can see what happens without attracting attention.

They also call Calvin to warn him of the impending police raid and to let him know where they are. He makes his way out of the rave and joins the others in the car, leaving Zack to go his own way.

To their annoyance, it appears as though the Caitiff are warned by someone that the police are coming. They immediately disable their phones, making it harder to track their movements.
It doesn’t take long for the police to arrive. They swarm the compound with multiple cars and helicopters. The ravers scatter into the night trying to evade capture, and some do so successfully.
As the police arrive, Calvin and the others gifted with Auspex keep tabs on the Caitiff inside. At first there seems to be no change, but it slowly becomes clear that their undead auras are fading. One by one they wink out, making it clear that they have met their final death. It is not clear what has killed them, but they can hazard a guess.

They keep tabs on Phillipe, to track his movements, and as they make their way out of the dock lands, they notice he is following them.
Michael suggests to the group to ambush him in a location of their choosing where they can have the advantage. He suggests somewhere open, like Bixby park in Long Beach.

They make for the park, and once there, get out of the car.
Michael helps Ariane steal a car so she can make her way back to the club to take care of the bodies from the club that were no doubt taken into police custody. She drives off to ensure the Masquerade remains upheld.
They take up positions around the park. Calvin on a fire escape on the western edge of the park to get a high vantage point. Dimitri and Khalid in cover by a park bench.
Michael decides to scout ahead into the park itself to see if the coast is clear, and is suddenly shot by a sniper. The bullet passes clean through his leg, but is a nuisance nonetheless. The implications on the snipers presence still reeling through their minds, they join battle with their unknown assailant.

Phillipe arrives at the park out of sight, and immediately makes a b-line for Calvin on the fire escape.

Calvin helps Dimitri to locate the sniper, relaying his position via their phones. Dimitri shoots and kills him with a clean shot of his Dragunov.

Suddenly Phillipe attacks Calvin on the fire escape, lunging for him.
Calvin responds by vaulting off the fire escape.
Phillipe grabs his coat and it rips, leaving Calvin dangling.
Khalid burns his face with sorcery and causes him to let go.
Calvin falls and lands deftly on his feet on the ground.

Michael, who was running towards the sniper, changes his course to help Calvin seeing that target is eliminated. He takes a running leap up to fight Phillipe on the fire escape.
Dimitri attempts to shoot Phillipe with his Dragunov, but misses.

Michael lands right next to Phillipe and blasts him with his shotgun, doing minor damage. He is rewarded for his efforts with a solid punch to the chest that sends him sailing backwards and off the fire escape. He lands roughly on his back and head, which sends him into torpor.

Meanwhile Dimitri fires at Phillipe again and misses a second time.
Calvin, now on the ground, charges towards the building where the sniper was felled, and finds the prone Ghoul lying next to his sniper’s perch in a growing pool of blood, clinging on to the last threads of life, the kindred vitae in his veins seemingly refusing to let him die. Calvin bites and drains him. He uses his Auspex to discover his purpose there. He discovers the Ghoul’s target is him.

Phillipe leaps off the fire escape and runs after Calvin.
Dimitri fires a third time and finally manages to hit him in the head with a sniper round, but it fails to injure him. Instead the round pancakes on his skull and falls to the floor.
Khalid tries to intercept the speeding Phillipe and misses, but manages to ignite his pants with more sorcery, causing more damage. Phillipe seemingly ignores this attack in favour of pursuing his quarry.
Phillipe dashes into the building where Calvin is still standing.

Calvin decides to exit the room through the window to regroup with Dimitri in the middle of the park, who has more guns.
he times his leap out of the window so that Phillipe doesn’t see him leave, and lands safely on the ground once again.
Dimitri sees Phillipe appear in the window where Calvin just exited and shoots him.
Phillipe in turn vanishes from the window and out of the range of their collective senses, evading the coterie once again.

Taking stock, they inspect Michael’s torpored form. Khalid attempts to use his Sorcery to force Michael to spend vitae in the hopes that this will heal him and induce consciousness. He does succeed in healing the wounds, draining him of all his blood in the process, but his state remains unchanged.
They decide to play it safe, and ditch their car in favour of a new one which they steal from the street. They transfer the staked Caitiff, and Michael’s torpored body into the new car and flee the scene.

They drive to the communal haven Downtown without further incident, although Calvin, who is feeling a little paranoid, decides to check into a random hotel. Zhaba also returns.

The following evening they regroup and discuss options.
The staked Caitiff they brought back from the raid represents a loose end, and they decide that eliminating him is the only viable solution. They share his blood and then Calvin diablerizes him. The ensuing waves of ecstasy Calvin experiences as the final vitae fills him are beyond any rush he has experienced thus far, and he enthusiastically shares his experience with the others, regaling them endlessly with the sensations he is experiencing.
Khalid, meanwhile, attempts to contact his sire Mustafa by leaving him a message. He does not hear back from him.

Michael’s torpored state makes them vulnerable. They decide to await Michael’s reawakening from torpor in the relative comfort and isolation of a private island in the Caribbean. Calvin ensures the place fulfills their needs.
They spend a month on the Grenadines, relaxing, learning Sorcerous rituals, and generally engaging in some lighthearted fun at Michael’s expense. Several humorous photographs are taken.

After a month, Michael finally emerges from his wound-induced slumber. The coterie, knowing full well that he will wake drained of all blood, take precautions to avoid any problems. Calvin has been stocking up small amounts of his vitae all month, and now provides a flask of it for Michael to consume. Khalid is also ready. He prepares a ritual to calm Michael’s beast.
Michael rouses violently, his face distorted with bestial frenzy, his eyes blazing with rage and blood lust. Khalid immediately envokes his spell, piercing his own hand with a needle to drive the power home. Michael’s beast subsides, his face returns to normal. He sees and smells the flask of vitae, and guzzles it down, sating his appetite.
The coterie whole once again, plans are rapidly made to return to LA and their business there.
They fly home on the Lear Jet provided by Calvin, and land safely in LA.

Ariane calls to inform them that in their absence the meeting with the Tremere and Archon DiPadua has finally been given a date, and is set to take place the following week.

In addition to this, Dimitri receives a phone call from Oyabun Takuya Shiraywa, who invites him and Khalid to join him for dinner to further discuss their mysterious arrangement.

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