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lstormhammer

Baghdad by the bay

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Alright, more legal mumbo and jumbo.

 

Baghdad by the Bay is a Storyteller system game, the books to be used are Hunter’s Hunted, Project Twilight, Vampire: The Masquerade and Mage: The Ascension. All of these books are owned by White Wolf Games.  Reaper Miniatures takes no responsibility for this thread, but does ask players to self-moderate. There. That was easy enough!

 

--begin--

 

And now: the game!

 

A city like no other, many people have described it as. A place of perfect weather all year round. Cool winds from the Pacific with fog rolling in almost every night. A shining jewel, beckons all to come through her golden gate and to the land of plenty. Over one million people call this special city home, with another million and a half flooding her streets every day.  Tall skyscrapers reach the heavens like silent sentinels of commerce, their peaks rising above even the fog to look like floating castles in the sky. Every faith, creed, race and orientation can be found here, living shoulder to shoulder and making their dream a reality.  This is the city that survived earthquakes, storms, terrible fires that almost brought it to her knees. But the city continues always. For no other reason than it is San Francisco. Baghdad by the Bay.

 

Another day begins in this magical city, and Cleopatra Melchar already has her work cut out for her. Already she’s been to the flower distributors, picking up the usual assortment of roses, dandelions, lilies and all the usual accoutrement needed to help run a flower shop. Pulling the company vehicle (a faded blue Toyota pick-up) around to the back of the florist shop, she begins unloading and putting them into the large walk-in refrigerator.

 

She checks the time, still another half-hour before opening. Plenty of time to count the register’s till, and hit the Peet’s Coffee at the corner. Early as mornings are, nothing says ‘wake up’ like something warm in the belly.

 

As she continues with her counting of 20’s, 10’s, 5’s and singles, she hears the bell over the front door merrily jingle. Who the #### could that be! She thinks, the door was locked. If Eric forgot to lock the door again, she’s going to do to him what she did to her male cats…

 

Her blood chills as she sees the man standing at the counter. His pale two-piece suit does its best to hide his rotund girth, but not all the way. Had it been a simple vagrant, he could have been shooed away. The man’s skin is so tan it’s almost nut-brown, a thin goatee and waxed mustache are coal black, thick eyebrows of matching color, and a toothy smile showing brilliant pearly teeth. Atop his head is a classic Fez with tassal, but no Shriners symbol. He speaks to her, and she calms down a little. At least he’s just a customer. Or one who couldn’t read the giant ‘CLOSED’ sign on the front door.

 

“Excuse me?” he says, his accent hard to place. One would think middle-eastern, but that’s not quite right “You’re open, yes?” he smiles again to her. Must be new to the City, smiling widly and nodding to her. Works for most of them. “Flowers, you have. I would like. Carnations, please…”

 

A little early, but what the hey. With a mental shrug, Cleo says “Sure, give me a sec to open things up.”

 

The fezzed man nods, smiling to her. “Of course.” And he sets a bag and brown-paper wrapped package on the counter while he goes and looks at the flowers from the night before.

 

“At least he’s not stuffing a gun in my face.” Cleo murmurs to herself. She quickly turns on the cash register and puts the money tray in it. She turns on a few more lights and helps the polite, but strange fezzed man.

 

Carnations, he asks for again. A half-dozen in white. A simple enough request. He’s even happy with the day-old ones. Fine enough. She takes them from the black bucket and around the counter to wrap, add complementary tiny colored flowers, and hands them to him. A card? No, he needs none this time, but thank you. She rings up the first sale of the day, even giving him 10% off for the day-old floral. He smiles again, pays for it with a fresh-faced 20, and takes his bag and leaves the florist.

 

“Strange…” she murmurs to herself after the man leaves. She gives him a ten-second lead, and walks over to the door. What’s this? The dead-bolt is locked! How the heck did he get in?

 

With goosebumps on her skin, she goes back to put up the flowers for the day. As she comes closer to the register, she sees the brown-wrapped package still on the counter…

 

--

 

Meanwhile, across town in the Avenues, a Dot-Com company goes through it's death throes. Promises to investors can't support a company for long, and finally the extravagant spending has to end. The signs were on Drew Preston's wall, but at least they were paying him well. Oh, well Drew thinks. At least he's got enough for a couple of months of living here. If he sticks to microwave Ramen and fried egg sandwiches, that is.

 

In-Too-IT has finally expired, and Drew's another casualty. No paperwork to sign, no security guard to escort him from the building, just an envelope with his last check on his keyboard and the passwords to the server changed on him. So much for company loyalty.

 

Packing up his possessions, some of them brought from his home, others to come home with him as a severance package from the company. Drew looks up over the low business-gray cubicle wall and sees the strangest thing, even stranger than the mail room guy who used to jump up and leave footprints on the ceiling.

 

A dark-skinned man in a white suit with a red fez. He seems to be speaking animatedly to one of the few surviving techs, another man who will go home to a impromptu vacation. Someone's brilliant idea of sound-damping walls keeps Drew from hearing the conversation, but from watching the man, he can tell the fezzed man is not happy about something.

 

'Good luck, fella.' Drew thinks before heading to his overpriced hovel in the Sunset District to begin searching for tech positions on websites. Easier than hoofin' it.

 

--

 

Meanwhile, in the SoMa area, Brody Rutherford does some under-the-table electrical work for a friend of a friend. At least they're paying cash, and they're not worried about forms. So he'll keep collecting his unemployment check. Just a few more months of this, maybe something will crop up. Anytime now he thinks to himself. His current employers want him to revamp the electrical system so they can turn an old warehouse into a club. After finally getting it out of them what their plans are, and looking at their shoddy wiring, this is going to cost more than he thought. Good thing they're paying cash.

 

He finally finds the fusebox in the basement, the walls made of brick and the floor thick with dust. Rat droppings in the corners and the reek of urine greet him down here. Good think he's got a drop-forged wrench to crack someone's skull in the tool chest.

 

After blowing the dust off the box, and wiping it with a cloth, he cracks open the paneling and takes a look inside.

 

Brody jumps back slightly as a tiny rat skeleton drops to the floor, how the little bugger got in there is anyone's guess. More dust on the inside, and with his handy Mag-Lite shining in, he sees this entire setup is at least forty years old. A glance at the inside of the hatch shows a schematic that could make no sense to the sane, so no luck there.

 

Thick fuses, corroded beyond belief are wedged into the clamps. There's even a butter knife epoxied in here. Who the heck did that? Blowing more dust out of the fusebox causes him a sneeze. Then he sees even stranger things. Someone's scrawled all over the inside of this fusebox. At first he thinks it's some kids playing around, and most likely it is. But these are just plan strange. Either someone decided the weird motif included the fusebox here, or this is someone's idea of a joke. Something about those symbols just causes the hair on Brody's arms to stand on end. Either way, a complete overhaul of the electrical system is needed here. It's a miracle the place didn't burn down before now....

 

--End--

 

--lstormhammer

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Drew watches the Fez-man walk away in disgust as he gathers his things and hms in quiet curiosity.  He packs the last few things away and tucks his shako hat low on his head.  Gathering his box into his arms, he wanders over to the tech the strange oriental man was talking with.  He sets his box on the corner of the cubical, like the office supplies of Damoclese and nods to the gentelman.

"Well," He says, "I think I have evreything even the Magneo toy I swore I'd never keep. I guess it's so long and good luck then."  He takes his hat off and slides his hand over his close cropped hair. "One thing though, who was that fat man... and what did he want?"

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Brody pulls trusty paper-pad from backpocket and tries to copy the stuff he sees inside the panel box.  It could be the wiring instructions....  even if there froms mars or something.  

 

looked at the rat skeleton, "They better pay for this."  

 

Call the soon-to-be club owner " The panel box itself is going to need to be replaced.  total stock.  I may have to dig a little into the foundation to check the wiring runs under,  and not to mention the walls"  Oh, and by the way.  you may want to call an exterminator or two, or three. this basement needs a serious face-lift"

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Cleo frowns at the weirdness. This is going to be one heck of a day, I can see that already. She crosses over to the counter and stares at the brown thing a moment, wondering if there was an alien inside, or just a danish. Stop being such a scaredy-cat. It's just a #### brown, paper-wrapped package. I can't be his lunch... maybe a snack, or a bomb...but not his lunch. Just be glad it isn't on the ground in front of the door. Still, she's paranoid, so Cleo leans down and listens to see if there's a ticking noise. Hearing none, she picks it up, checks the heft, then sees a place to stow the thing. Barring that it doesn't go off and destroy the shop, he'll probably be back for it. Wonder how he got in, anyway...

 

Shrugging the incident off, Cleo checks the time and decides she still has enough time to grab some hot chocolate. Double checking all the doors, she takes off for Peet's.

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OMG! He gets a posting up before midnight! The world is astounded!

 

--begin--

 

Drew’s now ex-coworker shakes his head. "Damfino, Drew. He was babblin’ so bad I could barely understand him. Sumthin’ ‘bout a package or what-not." The man shrugs. "Heck, with all this, I couldn’t tell you what’s what." The man looks at Drew’s envelope and his belongings. "They got ya too, huh? Dang. Well, it’s off to the Unemployment office with me, as well. Good luck, man."

 

Outside in the hallway,  Drew turns the corner  towards the elevators. It’s only a three-story building, but who wants to do stairs. Besides, it’s Friday, and he’s got an event to go to. Nothing like a rifle line to get the blood pumping on a Saturday.

 

But there, waiting for the elevator to arrive is the Fezzed Man, his ire has yet to die down as he repeatedly jabs his thumb into the ‘down’ button on the elevator. His words are a mishmash of languages. But at least he’s not screaming anymore. He stops suddenly, almost sencing Drew watching him, and he turns, smiling to the ex Dot-Commer. "Oh, excuse me. Impatience and not understand." He smiles those too-perfect teeth at Drew once more.

--

 

Over the phone, Brody’s employers sound about as happy with the assessment as being told they need to swallow caster oil. "Nononono NO! This can’t be happening. Look… is there anything you can do about it? I mean, it’s only electricity, right? Can’t you just fix it and be done with it? What do you mean ‘rewiring the whole place’! I don’t wanna hear that, I wanna hear ‘can do, no problem’. This place is supposed to be opening in two months. It’s gonna be big, and you’re gonna help with it, right?"

 

It’s hard to tell what’s worse, the poor connection on the phone with the club owner, or the constant sniffing that belies recreational pharmaceuticals.  His funeral…

 

--

 

Peet’s Coffee is just fine and dandy, the line was a little slow. Why can’t people just order ‘coffee’, and stop giving it silly names? The hot chocolate is delicious and warm, especially with the chill wind kicking up over the Avenues. Even in the middle of summer , one can wear a jacket if one felt like it.

 

Back at the Florist, the doors are all locked firmly, and no amazing fezzed man opening them up. There’s a message on the machine, the tiny red light blinking softly. Playing the message, it’s Eric. Cleo can just hear his voice in her head, yet another excuse to take the day off. Cleo could play in Vegas with her luck. Eric once again had ‘something come up’ which is Eric-speak for ‘I found a new boytoy, can’t come in!’. Even his cute and ever-so-hip ‘Taa-taa!’ rankles her nerves. Great, a double-shift and no chance of relief. Maybe she should have him fixed. He’s certinly get around a lot less. Maybe even work his own shift once in a while.

 

But that twine-wrapped package on the counter. What the heck is that about? Better put it under the counter until the guy returns.

 

--End--

 

--lstormhammer

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Brody scratches chin.  "This is how this will happen then,  I'll get your place up and running,  and I will do it in record time.  Although it is already out of code.  If you get some kind of surprise inspection and they look close enough it won't pass.  I'll do the work I'm paid for, no problem there.  just giving you the courtesy heads up.  Were you able to get the old city plans for this building yet?"  

 

**This shouldn't be a problem**    Brody heads back up to his truck to get some of his other tools and wiring books.  First I want to cross check these scribbles to see if this makes any sense.  if not the I will just make the junction box look nice and new.

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Sighing, Cleo punches the button of the answering machine to listen to the pathetic whine of Eric's voice pierce her already tortured ears as she places the package under the counter, safely ensconced in a place where no one often looked so it wouldn't accidently fall and break whatever might be breakable inside.

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Drew carries his effects out to the elevator lobby, feeling... supprisingly relived that he's done with this place.  There are some good memories locked up in this place, but the last few months, well let's just say the less said the better, shall we?

 

He offers a friendly smile to the gentelman by the elevator then almost does a dubble take when he really looks at him.  He chuckles softly for a moment, funny how these things work out.  Drew nods to him, and gives a little rueful chuckle. "Rough luck, eh?"

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Hey all. A short one, but not bad. Next posting will be over the weekend.

 

--begin--

 

The fezzed man smiles at Drew. “Yes, ups and downs, as it were.” The man glances at Drew's shako. “I see we are men of unusual chapeaus, no? It is nice hat. Very Johnny Reb.”

 

His attempt at humor is mild, at least an ice-breaker. The first minutes are always the toughest.

 

The elevator dings quietly, and opens before the pair of them. The Fezzed man steps in, holding the doors for Drew. “Going down?” he asks, one bushy eyebrow raised.

 

--

 

“Plans? Wha-? No, we haven't... is that important?” the club owner asks. Too much hat and not enough cattle on this one. “I mean, if you could- y'know, get them. That'd be cool.”

 

What kind of idiot wants to renovate this place and doesn't have the plans for it? With a shake of the head, Brody contemplates charging extra for the job.

 

--

 

Cleo safely stashes the item under the counter, noticing it's heavy for its size, maybe a box filled with something, or a hardcover book. So what's with the brown paper wrapping and the twine around it. Guess the guy's just old fashioned, that's all.

 

Another sip of cocoa and a glance at the clock. Five minutes after the time to open! Where the heck did the time go! No mad rush of people like Valentine's Day, but why risk it. She opens the door and begins another day in the life of Cleopatra Melchar.

 

--

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Drew chuckles at the Fez's joke and shrugs. "Somthing like that."  He falls silent, not really in the mood to talk right now after looseing his job.  LLooks like he may not be able to go to gettysburg this year..  

 

When the elevator arrives, Drew nods to the gentelman and indicacates he should go first, then follows and leans against the far wall... he snorts a laugh when he realizes this is the last time he has to hear the #### elevator music in this building.

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Brody hangs up the phone and can only think to himself [/i]I want to get this over with quickly.

 

Brody looks over his supplies and and then checks his watch.0905  well getting the plans now will be a hassle.  crowds are tough this time a day, but the plans in this case are an unwanted necessity.  Brody hops up into his truck and heads downtown to see what he can do about getting the layouts of the rubble he is trying to wire.

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Cleo does a quick sweep around the store after she unlocks the door, fixing arrangements, replacing droopy flowers, and making certain everything has enough water. Once her initial rounds have been completed, she hops up on the stool behind the counter near the cash register and plops open her Art History book and catches up on her chapter reading. Why was it that professors always seemed to assign a quarter of the course book to be read over a two day period? Didn't they understand that students have lives, and jobs, and other classes to contend with?

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Hi all!

 

See? One posting tonight. Sorry about the lateness and the lack of posting of recient memory.

 

--begin--

 

The Fezzed man smiles to Drew once again, trying to strike up another conversation. He looks at Drew's personal affectations and clucks softly. “Such a shame it is to loose a job. It leaves one...” he rolls his hand slightly, coming up with the word “Disjuncted, yes?” He shakes his head again. “Such a shame. Once was a time a man had his position, and was happy. Now it's this and that. People moving around like grains of sand.”

 

The man looks at Drew, cocking his head to the side. “What was it you do-- I mean, did here? Maybe I know someone who is looking?”

 

Strange chappo, but any nibble's good in this market.

 

--

 

Only a madman could have designed Market Street. The wide boulevard slashes southwest across San Francisco, a main access road for most of the city's traffic. Even now, shortly before noon, traffic has clogged the streets to a near stand-still. The traffic lights do their best to ferry people back and forth to their destinations, but impatience will kill the best-laid plans. The trip should take Brody an easy 20 minutes between the soon-to-be club and City Hall Park, and the Public Library over on Larkin Street. Instead, some poor sucker got the bright idea to jaywalk in front of a minivan. Wrapping up the remains took another half hour, and snarls traffic worse than before.

 

When Brody finally gets to the Library, he heads downstairs to Public Records. The thick musty smell of ancient paper is somewhat abated by the fans blowing gently in the room, but mostly just stirs up dust.

 

A weasel of a city employee looks Brody over, and asks “Wha'cher need, buddy?”

 

--

 

Wow. Carlos at the distributor must have gotten in a really fresh batch today. The flowers almost burn with intensity, the bright plumage takes the color out of that which surrounds them. They would be beautiful to look at, had Cleo a chance to admire them. Some people walking on the streets have noticed, and come into the florist to buy a bouquet. Sometimes all it takes is flowers to brighten up someone's day.

 

...unfortunately, it would be nice of Eric had showed up! No chance to study, wrapping flowers, selling cards, more flowers from the back, special orders, more wrapping, more flowers. It's insane! She gives up on study before the madness began and tucks her notes into the book, stuffing the textbook under the counter for a while.

 

As Cleo continues her marathon selling spree of flowers to customers, she notices a man standing by the mums. Tan raincoat, a mop of raven-black hair and a five o'clock shadow on his strong jaw. It seems the other patrons are paying him no mind, but that's nothing unusual, A big city like this, one doesn't strike up conversations with strangers, who knows if they're sane or not.

 

--End--

 

--lstormhammer

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What a strange fellow, Drew thinks as he rubs his chin in thought.  Well, I'll be able to grow my beard back  Then he shrugs and answers, "Well, I was going to sit on my laurals for a bit, then get back into things.  I write code, the usual.  Some crypto too.   Nothing exceptional.  What are you working on?"

 

Drew is already about a thousand miles away, planning his weekend, and intending to get some serious loafing in over the next couple weeks.

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"A cold drink,  but that's besides the point.  I am looking for floor plans.  specifically the plans for the building at 3333 W Reno.  and if i could get a copy of them that would be outstanding."  

 

Brody looks over and around the counter for the ledger to sign out document copies.  "how much will this be anyway" Brody asks knowing that since he is doing this job he will have to pay about 50% more to keep his name off that book.  this 100 should cover it  

 

While waiting for the weasel to come back with the plans Brody pulls out his handy-dandy notebook and starts going over the wierdo symbols he copied off the walls and off the inside of the box. always liked a puzzle,  this should make sense one way or another.  too many symbols look a lot alike

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