The Fragile

Chapter 5

Important meetings

We are all driven by hunger. Hunger for sustenance, hunger for success, hunger for truth. However there is one hunger that drives us more than any other. It causes us to break down barriers, climb mountains and sacrifice our own values. It is love. We all crave it, as it nourishes a part of us in a way that nothing else can.

The urban sprawl of Los Angeles breathes a sigh of relief as the sun sets once more, as the oppressive summer heat abates.

Dimitri, Khalid and Michael awaken in the communal haven downtown, and Calvin, having gone home, finds himself there.
It’s been about a week since their return from the Grenadines, where they managed to recuperate from injuries and take time to assess their predicament.
Similarly, their last few nights have been spent recharging and hunting.
There is an important meeting looming with several elders of the city the following night, and it preoccupies their thoughts.

For Dimitri, however, there is another matter that needs to be taken care of, and it isn’t long before he receives a phone call from the Yakuza. His meeting with the Oyabun is set for this evening, and an invitation is extended to not only Khalid, but Michael as well.

Khalid and Michael both agree to go, but Michael is uncertain of the Oyabun’s intentions, and doesn’t trust the situation. He places a call to Jonah Hunter, and asks him to offer some backup in case the meeting goes poorly. Jonah agrees to meet them on the way with some backup.
The three of them drive the short distance to the Oyabun’s offices downtown, and are met halfway by a blacked out van and a small posse of bikers who do their best to remain incognito. Michael explain to his companions what is going on, as Reggie discovers they are being followed.

They park in the garage and are escorted by armed Yakuza soldiers to the penthouse offices. It isn’t lost on any of them that these men are all ghouled.
Oyabun Takuya Shiraiwa is a welcoming and hospitable host. He offers his guests refreshments and clarifies his offer and what he hopes to gain from them in exchange. Michael, realizing there is no need for his backup to stay, gives Jonah a call once again and lets him know he can go.

He goes on to say that he suspects his rivals in the city, Salvador Garcia and MS-13 of engaging in inordinate amounts of human trafficking, beyond what he is used to seeing. He suspects that there is something foul afoot, and wants to confirm his suspicions. He needs to hack Garcia’s computers, and find out where he is taking them, and then if needed, to break into whatever facility is holding these kine, and disrupt his operations.

Khalid would be needed to hack Garcia’s system, as his men had been unable to penetrate the firewalls in place despite their best efforts. Michael might be needed in the event that they need to break into any secure facility, as he has experience with that sort of job.
In exchange, Dimitri would be granted territories to found his own Russian syndicate within the city.

The deal is struck and Khalid immediately goes to work on the Oyabun’s computer. It doesn’t take him long to discover that there is some form of Thaumaturgical protection on the target computer, and cannot be breached by regular means. He flexes his hacking skills, and after four hours of work, manages to piggy-back onto another signal to gain access.
Khalid retrieves 4 Terabytes of data from the target and hands it to the Yakuza, including the method by which to access the terminal in the future. He naturally makes himself a copy of the information.

Meanwhile at Calvin’s house in Malibu, Ariane shows up at his door in a state of anxiety. He lets her in, and tries to calm her down so she can explain herself. She tells him she thinks she’s being followed.
Calvin offers to take her to his cabin by Lake Arrowhead in his helicopter, being fairly sure that whomever is following her will likely not be able to follow by air. This seems to calm her down somewhat, and she gladly takes him up on his offer. Calvin starts to think that she might be delusional.
They arrive at the cabin and get settled in. Ariane makes use of the jacuzzi and starts to finally relax, making small talk with Calvin. Calvin isn’t interested in small talk however, and eventually he calls Dimitri to get an idea of the situation. He explains to him where they are and insists they join them, it’s not that far to fly after all.
By the time Khalid has finished his hack, the coterie is reunited once more.
Having concluded their business there, they make their way home.

The night passes without further incident, and they retire.

The following evening arrives, as does the scheduled meeting. The coterie doesn’t waste any time, and and hour after sunset, makes their way to Montero’s office downtown. Once there, they are escorted in to a large sterile looking conference room with a large table surrounded by chairs.
When they arrive, they see Montero, his ghoul assistant, and Arianne in the room. After some brief greetings, they choose their seats and sit down.

Soon after, the doors open, and in walk three figures, Dante Littleton, Rosalyn Jones and the Sherrif of Los Angeles Vanessa Holm. The newcomers take their seats but not before enduring some elicit scrutiny from certain members of the coterie, who wish gain some insight into whom they’re dealing with. A few moments pass before the doors open again. Archon Frederico DiPadua enters quietly, not taking any efforts to disguise his rather disturbing appearance. He sits down near the coterie and seems to scan the room.

The elders in the room begin questioning Arianne about her motives.
Arianne pleads for Phillipe’s life. The coterie give her a hard time, pushing her to provide some concrete answers and offer something in return, given Phillipe’s actions.
Calvin pushes her for answers, and Arianne attempts to use her powerful Presence on him, but he manages to resist for a turn, quashing her hopes of silencing him. Montero, too, seems riled by the Caitiff’s outspoken manner, and breach of the etiquette of the proceedings and orders him to shut up.
The other elders present, however, seem happy to watch a Caitiff ruffle the feathers of the former Archon and in so doing also show the room their lack of respect for Montero and his authority. Clearly there are personal dynamics at play here that the coterie is only witnessing for the first time.
Arianne reluctantly admits she loves her childe, and begs for clemency from DiPadua for Phillipe. She offers to bring him in so he can face justice, even going as far as to offer her life in return for Phillipe’s,

Eventually Dimitri chimes in revealing that he suspects Phillipe of infernal dealings. DiPadua’s ears prick up at this, and he gives a nod to Dante, who immediately enacts a Thaumaturgical ritual to immobilize Arianne instantly. The elder looks on helplessly as her body becomes utterly rigid. She is unable to move or speak. Thus gagged, She is ushered out of the room by the Sheriff.
Montero adjourns the meeting, and the others begin to excuse themselves. The coterie make their exit, but not before being pulled aside by the Nutha Archon. DiPadua requests to meet with the coterie soon to discuss their witness accounts in more detail, especially those concerning infernalism.

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