Battle of Chicago 2014

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This page is about the fictitious setting for the MES chronicle of Vampire: the Masquerade (C/A/I) in Chicago, IL. In the Masquerade Camarilla/Anarch/Independent venue continuity, this city was run as a GL Dark Place on the Map until March 2014. Before that, the city was leased to the GL ARST Masquerade Camarilla/Anarch/Independent, to be run along with the GL Dark Places on the Map. The GLRE 2014 Masquerade story was designed to construct the narrative of the city's transition to integrate a local PC venue into the established continuity from the DPOM historical basis.

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This page contains information about the Chicago, IL that is relevant to the MES Camarilla/Anarch/Independent continuity.

ST Contact for the events on this page:
GL ARST Masquerade CAI and iVST Rocky Batton

The Field of Battle

Battle Map of Chicago

The digital Google Map used for planning Chicago leading into GLRE, including points of interests, can be found at this MAPLINK.

CodeZone Name
DTDowntown
OO’Hare Airport
MMidway Airport
1Calumet City
2West Calumet City
3North Holland
4East Harvey
5Homewood
6South Holland
7Forest Preserve
8Lansing
9Glenwood
10Chicago Heights
11Flossmoor
12Frankfort Square
13Tinley Park
14Centennial Park
15West Chicagoland
16Palos Hills
17Orland Park
18Blue Island
19Oak Forest South
20Harvey
21South Railyards, Whistler Woods, and Kickapoo Meadows
22Morgan Park
23Lake Calumet
24Avalon Park
25South Chicago
26South Side
27New City
28Union Stockyards
29Chicago Lawn / Clearing
30Chicago Hills
31Hickory Hills
32La Grange – Westchester
33South Downers Grove
34North Downers Grove
35Lombard – Elmhurst
36Roselle
37Schaumberg
38Wood Dale
39White Pines
40Franklin Park
41Oak Park - River Forest
42Cicero-Berwyn
43Lawndale
44West Town
45Elmwood Park
46Logan Square
47Lakefront – Wrigleyville
48Evanston – Lakeview
49North Chicago

Prelude

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In 1993, Lupines attacked a Kindred social center in Downtown Chicago called the Succubus Club, killing many of the domain's most prominent Kindred. In retaliation, Prince Lodin of Clan Ventrue called a bloodhunt on all Lupines in the city. Months of open war against the Lupines in the alleys and streets ensued, and by the end of the year, Lodin and many of his closest allies, as well as many Camarilla citizens, even the Elders and Methuselahs among them, had met the Final Death. By 1994, the last Camarilla citizens were fleeing the Windy City, and it was lost to the Camarilla. Lupines settled in, and opportunistic Sabbat packs roamed the metro area unhindered.

So Chicago remained for 21 years.

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In Spring of 2014, Archon Samuel Vesper called with the authority of Ventrue Justicar Jan Pieterzoon for the Camarilla to mobilize to recapture Chicago, the domain of the former Prince Lodin of Clan Ventrue, a city held by Lupines for 21 years since the collapse of the Camarilla court there. The Camarilla set its sights on the Windy City, with the tactical goal of reclaiming the major metropolis for the Camarilla and undoing Lodin's Folly.

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Mobilization for War

In May of 2014, in collaboration with Archon Samuel Vesper, Clan Tremere began to assemble materiel, including establishing a forward operations base in nearby Hammond, Indiana. As Clan Tremere assembled its compiled resources, they also sent preliminary scouts into Chicago itself to reconnoiter the city after 21 years of neglect by the Camarilla and to claim footholds for the coming assault. Surprisingly, probing the lesser Chicago Midway airport, which was anticipated to be an easier gain than O'Hare, the scouts discovered heavy control of Midway by Lupines behind the scenes and, more disturbingly, with many mutated Kine among them. In short, Midway was an unxpected fortress of the Lupine opposition. Further challenges were discovered in the Lake Calumet area, where Lupines were deeply entrenched, and in the Lawndale neighborhood near Downtown, where the Archon discovered Lupine factions fighting over a cache of the heavy arms and ammunition that had been shipped into the city over the last couple months. Additionally, intelligence revealed that the Succubus Club, Chicago's historical Elysium destroyed in the Lupine assault of 1993, had since not only been rebuilt, but was also firmly in the hands of the Sabbat.

Having gained an initial picture of the lay of the land in Chicago in May, the Tremere and the Archon opened up the call for assistance to the other clans to mobilize from the foundation of a campaign laid by the warlocks. And mobilize the Camarilla did, though Chicagoan Kine wouldn't have understood the forces taking over their city as the city warmed up for the summer.

In the heat of the season, generous humanitarian forces acted to provide temporary homeless and rehabilitation centers for the homeless, removing them from their cardboard hovels in Downtown to other parts of the city, giving them shelter, food, water, and air conditioning to weather the season. Meanwhile, blood drives all over the city made it clear that the city's health industry, led largely by the local Kindred Hospitals network, was serious about gathering needed medical supplies.

In a citywide effort to weed out corruption, Chicago's internal affairs in the police began to crack down on "dirty" precincts and a rash of corruption in the security and administration of Midway airport. Meanwhile, Midway personnel came to high alert as their computer systems came under fire from viruses and direct assault by hackers of every stripe, debilitating the entire airport.

Always vigilant for the public safety, despite major administrative changes as Kindred Health acquired Resurrection Health facilities across the city and rumors of a potential strike by Cook County Health Services, health officials released a public health warning about potential clouds of chemicals drifting through the city likely to induce hallucinogenic effects. The reports of these gas clouds further disturbed the public as specialists indicated that some concentrations were near Midway airport, and that the chemical gas might also be dangerously reactive with jet fuel. As a result, flights in and out of Midway were shut down completely in the last weeks of June, causing huge transportation delays in the region, and police and medical personnel were mobilized to assist the populace. Public frustration with transportation problems were only exacerbated by a shift in Chicago L train schedules (and other forms of ground transport) that made it nearly impossible to get around town unless one was "in the know," especially at night. Meanwhile, freight keeps rolling into the city's railyards in the southeast end.

Meanwhile, the nuisance of undesirable elements in Chicago's Kine population gained friction to the point that open conflict between street gangs and biker gangs on the streets of the city gave residents increasing cause for concern about public safety. As a show of public safety, police presence on the city's streets, uniformed (and heavily armed) reminders of the safety of Chicago, was stepped up toward the end of the month, making Chicagoans realize that their police were out in force to protect and serve, especially Downtown around the Hilton Chicago and the Columbia Yacht Club, where the former icebreaker MV Abegweit is moored.

For all Chicago's problems in June, some things did turn for the better, especially Downtown, where the port began to run smoothly with better central coordination that ever seen before, and the presence of helicopters above the city showed that authorities were in the watch for trouble in the city. And for all the chaos at Midway, O'Hare was running like a well-oiled machine. For all the city's travails, the most interesting news seemed to be that the St. Stanislaus Kostka, an Orthodox church that had formerly been purchased and converted to a Jewish synagogue, had exploded as the result of a gas leak. Local financial news reports that a lot of money is moving downtown, including the unexpected sale of the Succubus Club to new owners.

From the Camarilla's perspective in the mansion and ballroom atop the Hilton Chicago, the Windy City is already in their hands on paper and in the broad strokes of power. Now it remains to rid the streets, warehouses, canals, ports, homes, and Superfund scars of the urban landscape in the city that should command Lake Michigan and will again.

The Battle of Chicago

Campaign of the Battle of Chicago

Parlay with the Lupines (Downtown - Lawndale - Midway)

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Ride of the Valkyries (O'Hare Airport - Franklin Park - Midway Airport)

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We gathered the team, it was a motley group. Ventrue, Tremere, Giovanni, even a Daughter and her Toreador, a Daughter, and a Ravnos. We loaded up on armor and weapons and headed out to O’Hare. Seeing all was well Prince Boris Baeronisky lead the team to Franklin Park. The thought was to head straight south from that point to clear a path through the city. When he checked in with Orenna Komnenos she ordered the group to Midway. Knowing that the area was not in control of the Camarilla when we left Prince Boris Baeronisky asked if it was correct to go to Midway. The answer was yes we should head straight there. When we started to land we noticed many shapes in the woods and in the towers of Midway. Still Linked to Orenna Prince Boris Baeronisky asked for clarification and was told to head outside of Midway to prepare an assault on the airport.


That was when things went all to hell. The helicopters just fell from the sky. Yea the Tremere just walked out of the plane and floated down. The Giovanni seemed to disappear and reappear on the tarmac. The rest of us just held on for the ride. And the landing was not one of the better ones. Needless to say we were down in a ball of flame and metal. When we landed Prince Boris Baeronisky gathered everyone and made a circle around the less combative kindred. Heading to the terminal for a defensible position and getting out of the open they were hit hard with gunfire. There were strange looking humanoids on the terminal and shooting through windows. We slew most of them as we headed to the luggage area of the terminal.


When we got to the Luggage area there were more of these humanoids and some really ugly werewolves. We got separated and Prince Boris Baeronisky saw the Prince of Cleveland wielding a glowing sword make a swath through the attackers. Everyone was pulling out the stops and using whatever they had to avoid and group up on the lupines. The groups came together and separated mixing mental skill with social bravado and of course the might of many warriors. The Giovanni and found time to raise some of the lupines to fight on our side and in the end we made it to the main terminal. At this point Prince Boris Baeronisky stepped back and assessed the situation. As people emerged he kept them together and refocused for the next fight.


And Fight we got. When we entered the main terminal they were waiting on us. 10 of the ugly lupine bastards were there holding a position in the middle of the area. Varic Koenig started to float up to the top of the open area, holding to flaming bottles of liquid. The Risen lupines attacked their past brethren and the bullets we fired seemed to multiply if by magic. The Prince of Cleveland waded into the mix with his glowing sword. Just when things got out of hand Varic Koenig fell from the air unconscious. He was then sucked in through the floor and disappeared. This seemed to galvanize the rest and we fought harder than ever. Finally defeating our foe.


At this point everyone was severely injured. I think the best of us had 5 agg and most were at 7 or 8. Thinking we had one the day we started heading for the door when we noticed 4 more of the ugly lupines waiting. It seemed lost until Prince Boris Baeronisky stood straight and they seemed to pause. Just then we opened fire and started to shred them. At the same time the others coming in opened fire from behind and between us killed the last 4.


At this point it was declared that we had broken the back of the Lupines and cleared Chicago. Prince Boris Baeronisky claimed the city a Camarilla city again and this was met with great jubilation.


Charge at the Black Gate (Downtown [Prudential Building] - Midway Airport)

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Mexican Standoff (West Town & the old Tremere chantry at Garfield Park)

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Consolidation of the North (O'Hare Airport - North Chicago - Evanston)

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Starting with the knowledge that the Camarilla had secured Chicago O'Hare Airport for exclusive use and locked down most of the city's transit grid, James Harlan of Austin, Texas led an assault group consisting of Aidan Sebastian, Frankie Morrigan, Hasiq Fieldman, Mr. Chen, Solomon, Swagger, The Broken, and Zack Snyder that flew directly in from Texas. As soon as they landed, they rendezvoused with hired backup forces from several private military firms in a reserved hangar, all secured by Solomon for the suiting up before deployment. With the assistance of Chen and Swagger, Solomon briefed the teams (with liberal use of Dominate) and rallied them to better performance (with his own Presence backed up by rhetorical support from James Harlan, Frankie Morrigan, Aidan Sebastian, The Broken, Zack Snyder, and Swagger. After deploying the hired teams, the Kindred of Harlan's party immediately took advantage of the munitions and blood supply delivered by armored vehicles under Camarilla control. Then they proceeded northeastward toward North Chicago.

Having instructed the private military squads (each from a different firm) to fan out along parallel streets along the route to Northwestern University, the Kindred split up into two rented SUVs from O'Hare. The first was driven by Aidan Sebastian, carrying The Broken, Frankie Morrigan, Mr. Chen, and James Harlan himself. The other carried Solomon, Swagger (who rode along to keep up with the cars), and Hasiq Fieldman, with Zack Snyder at the wheel. Combined with the efforts of the rest of the Camarilla in Chicago, it was no trouble to find clear roads out of O'Hare and into North Chicago.

As they rolled across North Chicago, each car's occupants were tipped off by the senses of someone on board. Both Mr. Chen in the lead car and Solomon in the second both got the feeling that something supernatural was going on nearby, just as three black vans rolled up around them on the street. Apparently the enemy--some enemy--had detected their approach in the otherwise quiet reaches of North Chicago. The vans attempted to block the escape for Harlan's party, but the driving skill of Aidan Sebastian and Zack Snyder foiled the attempt, and by virtue of a telepathic bond between the first SUV and the second, the two drivers managed to coordinate a calculated impact of the first van into a telephone pole, which rolled the van on its side. The pursuit had been halted, and the Kindred had picked their ground for the fight without ruining their own vehicles.

Ducking low in the deep shadows of the second SUV, Swagger transformed into a raven so he could reconnoiter the area for the group. Meanwhile, the rest of the Kindred unloaded onto the street with precision, moving straight to the toppled van as a group and using it for protective cover from the assailants in the other two vans, which had just come to a halt and were unloading as well, but in a more disorderly fashion for some reason.

Surrounded by the protective escort of Frankie Morrigan, Aidan Sebastian, The Broken, and Mr. Chen, James Harlan advanced on the back doors of the overturned van. Aidan Sebastian and The Broken quickly opened up the back. Those with him from the lead SUV let loose with fully automatic fire into the back of the fallen van. As they fired into the darkness within, they occasionally caught muzzle-lit glimpses of deformed bodies and black, ichorous blood spewing from the tussled occupants as they tried to right themselves. These creatures, whatever they were, were seriously deformed, some with leather hides, some with skin that blended in like a chameleon's, some with sharp bestial horns on their heads, and others dissolving into mobile goo. Fearing the worst--Sabbat Fiends--they unloaded their clips into the back of the van, and their bullets ricocheted all over the inside, riddling those within with mortal wounds.

Meanwhile, James Harlan was ready to hand singing a paralyzing rendition of "Go to Sleep" that held off the closest attackers on the street approaching from the other vans, while other deformed assailants took cover behind their own vehicles and readied their weapons. As the lead team perforated the occupants of the fallen van, two of the second team--Zack Snyder and Solomon--dove for cover behind their own vehicle, separated from Harlan's team. Meanwhile, Swagger, taken to wing, climbed high to survey the area for James Harlan's benefit via Telepathy, and Hasiq Fieldman broke fast for cab of the overturned van, leaping in to finish off the two wounded ... things within with his blades as they tried to climb out the driver's window on top. Having taken the position with partial cover, Hasiq Fieldman used the van's tipped cab as a foxhole and readied his rifle.

For a few seemingly long moments, there was quiet broken only by clicking: Frankie Morrigan, and Mr. Chen reloaded their guns. Hasiq Fieldman readied his rifle from the protection of the van's cab. Under cover of his vehicle, Zack Snyder loaded his pistols with incendiary ammo for a close-range fight. Aidan Sebastian and The Broken shouldered their weapons and clenched their fists for action. James Harlan kept singing, stalling the front line assailants. For a moment, it was quiet, just clicks, except for Harlan's voice singing intimidatingly.

Then Solomon felt something strange happen nearby, and Mr. Chen's face took on a look of despair and emptiness as he just... sat down. Realizing that something must be up through the telepathic link, James Harlan stepped away from Mr. Chen so as to avoid any erratic behaviors from his compromised ally. At a nod from Harlan, Aidan Sebastian and The Broken advanced on the attackers as quickly as could be believable motion for a mortal, fists at the ready. As they charged, Solomon stood up and commanded some of the attackers away from the fight with the natural sovereignty of his clan's most talented leaders.

The party unloaded their fury into the remaining attackers from the two other vans. Aidan Sebastian, with swift, efficient motions reminiscent of a trained vampire slayer, and The Broken, who moved with the steadiness of a cold killer, rushed into their line, fists flying and killing upon impact with their assailants' deformed bodies: leathery armored skin, mucus-sheathed skin, razor sharp lizard's claws... no two of the fell creatures were alike in their disfigurements. As The Broken's fists crushed the rib cage of one, its head exploded as if by an internal bomb, injuring Aidan Sebastian beside him even as he absorbed the bulk of the blast and shrugged it off. While the furious fists of the two Brujah pounded a dozen assailants into rancid flesh, oozing ichor, and fragments, Hasiq Fieldman concentrated his fire on others approaching them, dropping them one by one. Picking the closest targets from his position behind one SUV's engine, Zack Snyder unloaded incendiary rounds into attackers as fast as his gun would fire. Meanwhile, Frankie Morrigan and James Harlan watched Mr. Chen beside them for signs of trouble.

And then trouble came. Appearing out of nowhere, out of a ripple in the dark night, a Lupine in a huge wolf-man form was suddenly there upon Mr. Chen. Brutally awakened from his fugue by the Lupine's initial slash, Mr. Chen conjured a bolt of flame right into the beast's face, causing it to howl in pain even as it accelerated its strikes into him with its claws. Reacting in a flash, Frankie Morrigan moved to assist Mr. Chen as the old Chinese Tremere couldn't keep up with the Lupine's onslaught. Stepping in to take the brunt of damage from the Lupine's subsequent split-second, potent claw attacks, pieces of Frankie Morrigan were torn from him and thrown to the street to mingle with those from Mr. Chen. A few seconds more, and the Lupine's attack on Mr. Chen and Frankie Morrigan continued despite its grievous burns. By force of will, or perhaps by some darker miracle, Mr. Chen grappled with the beast, boiling its blood within its veins. At his side, Frankie Morrigan did his best to help keep the thing tied up, and between them, a bloody dagger landed in the beast from the hand of Hasiq Fieldman in the van cab a few yards away. With a painful shriek, James Harlan turned on the monster with a bitter tone that caused the thing to yelp. In a blur of motion, the Lupine turned its rage on Frankie Morrigan, gnashing at him with its enormous jaws. Then, even as another bloody dagger sank into the beast's chest impossibly fast, it latched its jaws onto Frankie Morrigan's neck and head. As a third dagger pierced the werewolf's throat, the creature raised its head to the night sky and howled, allowing Frankie Morrigan's severed head to fall to the greasy pavement as the Lupine crumpled into death and reverted into the form of a muscular, naked Native American man.

Still wounded and dazed, Mr. Chen stood up again and tried to make sense of his surroundings and catch up with his environment by surveying the scene. James Harlan turned back toward the line of assailants from the other two vans, now greatly reduced in number by the decisive blows of Aidan Sebastian and The Broken on the front line, since joined by Zack Snyder who had emerged from his place of cover after unloading his clip of incendiary rounds into some of the deformed things in the street. Meanwhile, even as Solomon turned to discover that one of the creatures--one with sharp ibex horns, slimy skin, and eyes glowing a terrible gray--had flanked his position and was coming at him from behind, he gave it a baleful gaze and scared it off. At the same time, Swagger came out from the shadows again in his normal form to back up James Harlan where he was by the toppled van. As the horned runner ran his way, he hissed at it, which prompted it to turn again toward James Harlan, who killed it dead with a vicious shriek.

By this point, every member of Harlan's party had taken some hot lead in the firefight, some from ricochets, but aside from the decapitation of Frankie Morrigan, only Mr. Chen was seriously wounded. They had reduced the enemy's number to just a handful who had taken cover behind their vehicles and were firing on the Kindred from a safe distance beyond arm's length for now. As Aidan Sebastian, The Broken, and Zack Snyder feinted to the side to flank the enemy gunmen behind their van, the rest of the group moved to take cover for the firefight. Slowed by his injuries from the Lupine, Mr. Chen stumbled to take cover in the back of the overturned van with the remains of the first casualties. Just as he laid his hand on the body of the vehicle to bend down into it, his cranium exploded from the impact of a lucky high caliber bullet and he crumpled to the ground. Whether he was destroyed was anybody's guess, but he lay there unmoving just short of the cover he'd been seeking.

Swagger, Solomon, and Hasiq Fieldman laid down heavy fire, concentrating on the few enemies remaining in their view. Meanwhile, James Harlan, whose original targets with his song had since perished, screeched at any enemy he could see, causing them to cringe, and sometimes, to keel over dead. Meanwhile, the enemy gunmen rained bullets on the whole area around them, chipping asphalt shrapnel up into their eyes constantly in a rain of fragments. Meanwhile, Aidan Sebastian, The Broken, and Zack Snyder rounded behind the other vehicles and jumped the assailants. Finally, there were no more shots firing, and the three Brujah emerged from behind the other two vans. Without a word, only clear nods and the knowledge from Swagger that no more attackers seemed to be nearby, the party loaded up the fallen corpses of Frankie Morrigan and Mr. Chen into the back of one of the rented SUVs, climbed in themselves, and drove off for Evanston.

Eastward in Evanston, all was quiet. Solomon's forward tactical teams of private military had already secured the Northwestern campus and begun patrols for activity throughout Evanston. Upon arrival, they pulled into a parking garage already secured by their private military personnel and drove up to a secluded level. Without delay, Hasiq Fieldman grabbed his sniper equipment and headed across campus to the roof of the Deering Library in the middle of the campus. Meanwhile, the others briefly examined the body of Mr. Chen, who, ironically, was the only member of their group who could have told them if the damage he had sustained was fatal to a Kindred. As it was, Mr. Chen never moved again.

After a few minutes in the parking garage to regroup, it was decided that the group would split into two to search the campus for signs of trouble or other Kindred. James Harlan, Aidan Sebastian, and The Broken searched as one party, relying on the investigative skills and Auspex mastery of The Broken coupled with the security skills of the other two. Zack Snyder's heightened senses searched for the other group, who pooled their knowledge of security as well. Meanwhile, Swagger assumed the form of a raven again and watched over them all from above as well as he could manage on the night of the new moon with the aid of his own heightened senses and protean vision.

Having defeated their attackers in North Chicago (although at the cost of two of their comrades in arms) and taken solid martial control of Evanston with a base of operations at Northwestern University, it was just a matter of time before the Texans would encounter the Kindred of Evanston who also had interests at the renowned school, and encounter them they did...

And here begins their post-GLRE roleplay with the player characters of Chicago...

Defense of the Southern Realm (Hammond, IN base - Calumet City - Lake Calumet)

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Tasked with the defense of the valuable nerve center of the campaign at a warehouse complex just across the Indiana state line in Hammond, Indiana, Tremere Elder Bartolomeus Castaldus of Colorado Springs took operational command of the base and gathered his defense force around him there. As his personal aide and base administration help he had the neonate Tara Redmond, and Brujah Charles Franklin stood by as the elder's bodyguard, also from Colorado Springs. Acting as Castaldus's command lieutenant was Luthais Hamilton, another Colorado Springs resident, organized and appeared to be in command of the remaining personnel on site, including the Ventrue Emmaline Moreaux in the company of the mainly Tremere coterie of Chuck Seagull of Montreal, Canada with his coterie, the "Expendables": Miguel Rorke, Bruce Norris, Johanne-Claude Jovovich, Terry Lundgren, and the Caitiff Steven Statham. The night began with the hope that mobile Camarilla units elsewhere to the North in the city would draw the enemy forces away from the Hammond base so that large-scale coordinations with computer network support could continue uninterrupted for he sake of the Masquerade as conflicts arose on the streets. In essence, beyond just the coordination of the battle in concert with the field commanders and defense of the utilitarian command center, Bartolomeus Castaldus's group was charged with the First Tradition.

As other teams of Camarilla forces entered the city through O'Hare International in the North and Downtown via the port, telepathic messages handled by Bartolomeus Castaldus and encoded digital traffic between group commanders flooded the Hammond base, where Tara Redmond scanned the digital media for signs of Masquerade-threatening activities or of enemy movements. Supporting the Camarilla's efforts from afar, other technomancers and Kindred hackers who had laid the groundwork with stock footage and digital database image searches for use in Masquerade-repairing .CGI efforts sat at the ready across the country to cover up anything that might serve as documented proof of the existence of vampires. The open fighting on the streets that had been wanton in the conflicts of 1993 and 1994 could not be permitted in the Information Age the Camarilla currently faced. Failure on this virtual front could trigger a new age of the Inquisition if evidence fell into the hands of the mass media. Thankfully, at first, things seemed quiet in the far south end of Chicago.

And then Tara Redmond started noticing a pattern in the surveillance cameras across Calumet City just over the state line to the west: homeless people and gangs did not usually tend to drift across whole sections of a city in a single general direction. But weird as it was, homeless people, many of them locomoting oddly and gathering into small groups, were making their way on foot into Calumet city from the direction of Morgan Park to the northwest, while tricked out sedans loaded up with urban gangbangers rolled eastward out of West Calumet City. Something odd was afoot, and it looked bad from the viewpoint of the Hammond base. Seeing the writing on the wall, Bartolomeus Castaldus made the call to deploy the police reinforcements controlled by the Camarilla, replete with riot gear, SWAT, and silvered razor wire. Their mission: keep gang and homeless violence from becoming a riot, and barring that, prevent them from gaining control of the streets and railways north and south of the Powder Horn Lake and the adjoining forest preserve between Chicago's State Street on the south end and 134th Street on the north end. Using the lake itself as a natural barrier, roadblocks were to be set up so that the railyards, essential to Chicago's economy and national rail traffic, were not disrupted or damaged.

Having issued the orders to the police who would arrive shortly to deploy the Camarilla's razor wire (which was conveniently dropped on site direct from the Hammond warehouses before the police would arrive) Bartolomeus Castaldus ordered a sortie from his personnel to cross into Calumet City and operate from the west side of the lake before the police roadblock cut them off. Luthais Hamilton and Chuck Seagull loaded everyone but Bartolomeus Castaldus and Tara Redmond into two armored trucks. Johanne-Claude Jovovich drove the first, holding Chuck Seagull, Miguel Rorke, Terry Lundgren, Steven Staham, and Emmaline Moreaux. Bruce Norris took the wheel of the second truck, carrying Luthais Hamilton, Charles Franklin, and crates of supplies: guns, body armor, incendiary and silver ammunition, sniper rifles, and refrigerated blood. Moments later, both vehicles rolled up Brainard Avenue into the heart of Calumet city to flank the approaching undesirables as they poured into Calumet City. As soon they pulled out of the warehouse garage in Hammond, Tara Redmond locked down the 11-acre Tremere-built facility and shut down the exterior lights so as to make the place inconspicuous to the police arriving any minute.

By the time the armored truck sortie had made it past the Burnham Woods golf course to Burnham Avenue, Tara Redmond reported that the gangbangers had already crossed South Torrence Avenue on Brainard, so the Camrilla forces cut south onto Burnham to get around behind them on Sibley Boulevard and back up Torrence behind them. Meanwhile, urban street warfare rolled its way down Brainard toward the police roadblock that was forming at the state line and the SWAT moving into the Powderhorn Lake woodland preserve.

Within minutes, Chicago police had rolled out the "new alloy" razor wire to block passage past Powder Horn Lake on either end and taken position with riot gear to enforce the razor wire blockades and occupy the woods before angry homeless people could take cover in the deep shadows. Almost immediately, the industrial zone in the heart of Calumet City rang out with unceasing gunfire that was probably audible all the way over in Gary, Indiana.

The party drove quickly up Torrence with the benefit of heavy cover afforded by the trains parked on the tracks along Brainard. Parking their armored vehicles next to Hegewisch Marsh Park, they unloaded themselves and cut across the industrial stretch south of Brainard toward covered, elevated positions in the railyard overlooking Brainard Avenue and the woods next to Powderhorn Lake. From their vantage point, they could see the police blockades and skirmishes the whole length of the lake on its western side. As the firefighting continued, police issued a public warning to residents of Calumet City to stay indoors until "all clear" was called.

Most of the party wore various types of body armor as they took position among the train cars on the tracks. Johanne-Claude Jovovich, Chuck Seagull, Miguel Rorke, Terry Lundgren, Bruce Norris, and Charles Franklin carried M16A4 rifles from the shipments delivered to Hammond by Archon Samuel Vesper in previous weeks. Watching the rear of the shooters' position were Emmaline Moreaux and Steven Statham, armed with a silver-edged longswords, and Luthais Hamilton, armed with a silver-edged claymore. Steven Statham hung back from the other two on the ground and instructed the shooters to stay clustered at the gap between two train cars or prone on the roof of one or the other. Once in position, he silenced the area with Quietus so that they could fire without their position being obvious. And fire they did. With all the speed they could work through their fingers and guns, the group laid down heavy fire on the conflict over by the lake and woods, effectively firing as much as a platoon twice their number.

For several minutes, the Kindred shooters on the rail cars used their covered and concealed flank position to take down scores of gangbangers and militant homeless who were rioting against the police blockade to get through toward the Hammond base. As Emmaline Moreaux and Steven Statham helped Luthais Hamilton cover the rear against ambush, Hamilton consulted mystically with his sire, who also watched him supernaturally from afar. After a few minutes, Luthais Hamilton detected a videophone attempting to record them from across the railyard and quickly deactivated it to avoid any knowledge of their presence there that night.

It was Tara Redmond who first detected the change in the situation as cameras along South Torrence Avenue up in South Deering on Lake Calumet picked up several rusty vehicles full of burly dock workers rolling down into Calumet City from the north. Arms with anything from wrecking bars to contraband shotguns, it was clear that this was no normal dockyard shift change. Given a couple more minutes, that group would be in a position to cut the Camarilla sortie off from its vehicles and trap them between two fronts. As one, they abandoned the train car shooting position and beat feet past the north end of Burnham Park back to their armored trucks up by Hegewisch Marsh Park and loaded in as fast as they could, taking the same places they had for the first drive. Johanne-Claude Jovovich and Bruce Norris floored it up Torrence toward Lake Calumet, hoping that they had softened the assault against the police blockade to allow the line to be held without them for a while.

They crossed East 130th not a moment too soon. Just as they were rolling into the work areas around Lake Calumet, Miguel Rorke, Emmaline Moreaux, and Charles Franklin detected something unusual happening nearby, something supernatural. As they spoke up to warn the others, both trucks ground to a heavy, armored halt as they stalled with dead batteries. Suddenly the party was split between two heavily armored makeshift bunkers in the middle of the street with little idea what they might be facing. Their only clue was the rough yells of drunken working men rolling by in their trucks and honking in jubilation, but those rolled right past the armored trucks southbound into Calumet City. Oddly out of place, they could a pickup's vanity horn as it rolled by.

And then it was quiet. Rather than rushing to get out, Luthais Hamilton mystically conferred with Tara Redmond and Bartolomeus Castaldus back at the Hammond base. The news was unnerving: apparently nothing was near their position, but only Castaldus could tell, because Redmond had no working digital view of the street they were on. It seemed that another technomancer was at work in the area against them. She warned them not to count on their guns, either. Suddenly, the game had changed drastically.

Rather than sit like fish in a barrel waiting for something to happen to them, they decided they had to move out onto the street. But they couldn't do it blindly, so Chuck Seagull sent Miguel Rorke out under cover of Obfuscate to move slowly about and determine where the threat might be. They opened the back door of the second armored truck and nothing happened, so Rorke slowly exited and walked to the nearest alley to scout around.

Miguel Rorke was out and about for several minutes searching for the enemy. When he got close enough to hear voices around an alley corner despite his bad ears and smelled the musk of dirty, wet animal fur, he froze, listening, hoping they hadn't noticed him.

"I don't care what night it is, we can't just leave our kin down there fighting for us while we wait for the sunrise. We go now."

Rorke didn't need to hear more--he backtracked and moved under cover as quickly as he could back toward the trucks, only to have his retreat blocked by a wolf man creature standing 8 feet tall in front of him. The thing smiled vicious and tapped its muzzle with a huge, dangerously clawed finger. Then it pounced.

Thinking in quick desperation, Miguel Rorke pushed his blood through himself to gird his muscles and rushed the beast screaming for the others to hear: "Loups-garous!" Moving as quick as he did, the werewolf was surprised by the strength of Rorke's fist across its snout, and that shocked moment bought him time to duck past the creature and sprint, since his cover was blown anyway. He moved at top speed for the waiting truck, repeating, "Loups-garous!" as he approached. And then they were upon him... four of them from different directions. Four monstrously large beasts flattening him to the ground and ripping into his body as he struggled. There on the wet, oily pavement of South Torrence Avenue in the rain, Miguel Rorke grappled with his assailants, potently grasping one and boiling its blood from its eyes as it howled in rage and ripped into him even faster.

Helpless to shoot or drive away, the rest of the party realized that their only remaining defense--and Rorke's only chance left--was a full offense at close range. Thankfully, the tech failure that had screwed them and cut of Tara Redmond's ability to look out for them would allow them to pull out the stops as well. Seeing that his direct order had put Miguel Rorke into his current predicament, Chuck Seagull waved Bruce Norris over from the other armored truck and they rushed out first to the prone Tremere's aid for a swift thaumaturgical grapple attack on one of Rorke's attackers. Right behind them charged Terry Lundgren and Johanne-Claude Jovovich at another, Lundgren with burning hands and Jovovich causing the same Lupine to burst into flames outright. Moving on a third Lupine, Steven Statham closed quickly and silently with fists moving impossibly fast, and right behind him was Emmaline Moreaux, closing on the same one fearlessly with silvered sword flashing in the dim amber light of the industrial neighborhood. At a word in Scots Gaelic from Luthais Hamilton, Charles Franklin rushed against the fourth werewolf, with Hamilton himself close behind in his police armor, his body boosted with the Elemental Strength and Potence and his silver-edged claymore already swinging as he closed.

Suddenly beset by twice their own pack's number, the Lupines seemed alarmed and desperate. As the special viciousness of Charles Franklin's fists shattered the ribs of the Lupine he and Luthais Hamilton had targeted, the creature jumped away from that pair--and to the aid of its packmate facing Steven Statham and Emmaline Moreaux. Frowning at the all-too-familiar experience that this would be just his luck, Statham just buckled down and kept punching, only to see many of his blows heal in the creatures' flesh before his eyes. Meanwhile, with the grim, determined majesty that Ventrue on the battlefield can only muster with a blade and not by psychological manipulation, Emmaline Moreaux dug her silvered blade into her victims' hairy flesh again and again, leaving open, bleeding wounds each time.

Chuck Seagull and Bruce Norris fought their chosen foe back a few more steps, both grappling the creature and boiling its blood from its cooking flesh. Likewise, Terry Lundgren and Johanne-Claude Jovovich continued to transform their 9-foot-tall opponent into a living, howling funeral pyre in the urban street. The smell of burning hair and flesh choked the area, but a rectangular space was soon carved out around the unmoving, broken body of Miguel Rorke. Pursuing their fled target, Charles Franklin and Luthais Hamilton came to the aid of Steven Statham. Next to him, the indefatigable Emaline Moreaux's wounds were shallower than the blows she received ought to have left, and she continued to press forward with her shining blade biting deeply, aimed by expert swordsmanship rarely paralleled in the modern era.

Lupine claws slashed through armor and deeply into the flesh of each Kindred, but their numbers carried them far. Soon, the burning Lupines was howling in its death throes, while another had had too much of its blood boiled out of its veins and beat a hasty retreat into an alley. The other two were soon maneuvered into indefensible positions where they couldn't escape the reach of the two silvered blades wielded against them. Even as Luthais Hamilton swung his claymore through the neck of his opponent and the canine head thumped wetly on the asphalt, Emmaline Moreaux pulled off a surprising spin to accelerate her strike and impaled her opponent's heart through with her own blade, which projected more than a foot out from its back.

And then it was quiet, except for the hissing of raindrops on the dampened flames consuming the ruined flesh of a wolf that had appeared in the Lupine's place after it died. In moments, the Kindred were left in the street with a burning wolf and two dead men in jeans and T-shirts, one with his head lying a yard away from his shoulders.

And it remained quiet, at least locally. In the distance, gunshots were still firing around the police blockade. It was still chaos down by Powder Horn Lake.

As the party gathered itself together, Luthais Hamilton received word from Bartolomeus Castaldus and Tara Redmond that the police blockade had been largely successful, but that the grounds of the Hammond base had been compromised by some unnaturally deformed people who had slipped past the police and climbed the fences. The buildings were locked down and the two Tremere were warded inside, but they had no idea what the creatures might be, and so no idea whether their mystical wards would hold. The sortie was to return to base immediately, but it had to drive the long way around, north around Wolf Lake and then back south via US-41.

For several minutes, their armored trucks still wouldn't start. But with the mileage and terrain between them and the base, they knew they couldn't get back faster on foot, so they waited. And waited, still trying to start them. Eventually 30 minutes had passed, and frantic messages from Bartolomeus Castaldus and Tara Redmond indicated that some assailants were working to cut through the steel walls of the warehouse they were housed and warded in. Things were desperate. Finally, the trucks started again, and they burnt rubber on the wet streets to get back around to base. On the drive back, the sortie groups discovered that no one among them knew anough about the Beast to help lift the burden of its drives from another Kindred after a fight, and the tension was palpable. Just being crowded into the armored trucks was enough to make them want to explode in fury. At least the delay had afforded them time to consume their mobile blood supply. Small blessings.

Not even taking the time to unlock the gates, Johanne-Claude Jovovich took the first truck right through them at high speed, tossing them about the yard so they could drive right up to the skulking, hunched figures working their way through the wall of the warehouse at a weak spot they had found with reinforcement. Apparently, some had already entered through the tight hole. More disturbingly, the muscular one peeling parts of the wall back appeared to have lizard claws and slimy, scaled hands. Asking no questions, the sortie group jumped out as their vehicles stopped, waiting only long enough for Steven Statham to silence their firearms again so as not to draw the police from less than a half mile away. Full clips were unloaded into the creatures that had entered the yard, some of which dissolved into piles of industrial-poisoned bio-goo rather than falling as corpses. Having dropped them all in the yard, Luthais Hamilton commanded the group forward to the hole, but not to enter, because the warehouse was warded. As they jogged over while reloading, Steven Statham hit the dirt with a grunt. Glancing back, the rest of them saw that he'd been dive-bombed by a deformed woman with wings who somehow projected a raw sexual energy that ignited physical drives in all of them, as if she were the perfect mate. If only Kindred could mate.

Despite the distraction of his weird attraction to his winged attacker, Steven Statham knew he was in danger. His emotions churned intensely in the situation, especially given how close his Beast was to taking control of him after the last fight. Not wanting to hit Statham with friendly fire, the others moved to run back to his aid. But the pressure and the internal conflict was too much for him. The Beast finally surged up from his blood's inner well of anger and indignance, and his body responded in like kind. With a roar of unbridled rage, Statham grabbed the winged woman and rolled her onto her back beneath him. For a moment, his confused emotions gave his eyes a wild light as his comrades watched, and the Beast driving him paused in indecision--briefly. Then he started pounding the earth beneath him with the self-possession of an angry gorilla...pounding, pounding.... through the queerly sexy body of the deformed, winged woman pinned beneath him. Less than a minute later, there were only fragments of her beneath him and black ichor covering his arms; her remains were no longer attractive to anyone.

His reinforcements distracted by the combat on the grounds, Bartolomeus Castaldus warily watched the three creatures climbing the chain link internal security fencing to get at him and Tara Redmond. Desperate not to let those leathery-hided monstrosities--one with claws that greatly resembled those of an angry Gangrel except that they were sheathed in talons rather than furry hands--over the fence into striking range, they did their best to defend themselves. Perhaps predictable for a Tremere elder, Bartolomeus Castaldus used his blood and his mind to throw them back from the fence onto the floor as hard as he could manage and to pound their bodies with magical forces. Tara Redmond took a more contemporary approach with her Desert Eagle. Finally, as the last one struggled to rise again, Bartolomeus Castaldus, in his desperate bid for survival and heavy desire to be done with this night, destroyed its warped mind with a direct blast from his own. With a last gasp of surprise, the man's yellowy serpentine eyes blinked, and he fell in a heap on the floor of the warehouse.

For the rest of the night, the police barricade held, albeit at great loss to the Chicago police force's personnel. Feeding and washing themselves in shifts, Bartolomeus Castaldus's Hammond base command held the nerve center of the Battle of Chicago for the night with continued vigilance against attack until dawn. No more attacks ever came that night, but by about 4:00 A.M., the fragmented body of Miguel Rorke crumbled to ashes.

Purge and Pogrom (Downtown [Succubus Club] - New City)

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As the Camarilla forces landed in Downtown Chicago at the Columbia Yacht Club, Archon Samuel Vesper a group around himself to make what he was calling a "special forces" squad. This group had to be able to operate decisively amid a crowd of mortals without threat to the Masquerade: fast, precise, and alert. As Reginald Preston gathered his own sqaud to move on the Sabbat known to be in the Prudential Building, Archon Vesper gestured to Gaetano Abbiati, childe of the Lasombra antitribu elder Ludovico Maria Visconti, whom many had met in Milwaukee the previous night, and to Gaetano's own childe Edoardo Locatelli.

"These two from Milan are following me against the Sabbat to capture the Succubus Club! I need a few more."

In response, Prince David Clay, Vesper's former servire, was quick to volunteer. Followed quickly by Alicia Vangelista and Eric Ulfson. A moment later, Peter Verus and Harald Kralt stepped forth as one. Sizing up the seven who would join him on his mission with his one good eye, Vesper simply nodded satisfied. As they approached the dock, they discussed how they would go about finding and eliminating the Sabbat in the Succubus Club, a fully occupied Downtown industrial dance club. With the imperative to operate as brutally as needed to finish the job, but to protect the Masquerade at all costs, they disappeared from the dockside under cover of Harald Kralt's Obfuscate.

When they reached the section of State Street where they could see the line for the Succubus Club and the bouncers at the door, Samuel Vesper briefed his team with the benefit of some previous recon. It had recently been learned that there was a tunnel connecting the Succubus Club's basement with the basement of the Prudential Building, where Reginald Preston was leading the other Downtown task force tonight. For the Succubus Club in particular, the Camarilla had recently gained the rights to the building and business, including its plans and payroll files. The basement featured a labyrinth ripe for confused combat. The staff often were contracted from corporation called Pentex that was known to have ties to the Lupines at Midway Airport. Recent surveillance in May and June indicated that the club was frequented by Sabbat vampires. It was unclear how many Sabbat and how many Pentex bouncers would be inside tonight. But given the hundreds of patrons at the club tonight, discretion and quick identification of the enemy might save the night. Overwhelming force might spell the Final Deaths of the whole squad. Even put that way, Vesper's volunteers committed themselves to the operation.

Looking at Peter Verus in particular with his archaic scale mail and swords, Samuel Vesper frowned. It was decided that the Archon Vesper and Alicia Vangelista would pose as French tourists in Chicago checking out the club while in town so as to clear the way past the apparently mundane Kine doormen and make space for the rest of the group to slip past obfuscated. At first, Archon Vesper instructed Peter Verus to stay close with Harald Kralt due to his garb being the most out of place in the club setting, but Verus assured the Archon that he could blend in with the surroundings quite well with a trick of his own, which Vesper accepted. Once they were inside, David Clay was to blend in with the patrons somewhere while covering Eric Ulfson, who was to separate a bit and occupy a corner to scan the crowd; his appearance gave him an obvious predatory bearing, and so he was to do his best to be spotted by Sabbat. Meanwhile, Gaetano Abbiati and Edoardo Locatelli, who were dressed as Eurotrash clubbers for the occasion, were to make their way down into the labyrinth to scout there while Peter Verus maintained a telepathic link with Gaetano Abbiati. As the two Milanese Lasombra antitribu had no language in common with the rest, the impressions they could offer from their thoughts would have to do.

A few commanding words with Dominate and use of Awe got the "French couple" into the club with the other five Kindred moving in with them covertly. Once inside, they deployed as agreed beforehand, being unable to discuss it over the floor-pounding dance mix including VNV Nation, Rammstein, Sisters of Mercy, and others anyway. Noteworthy on the floor were the witresses, clearly doing their best to play up the succubus theme of the club with their garments and mannerisms while moving between the tables crowded in the wings of the club. With Gaetano and Edoardo headed for the basement in the dark club, Samuel Vesper and Alicia Vangelista took a place near the central bar where they could scan the room and any auras that seemed worth it, comparing notes in each other's ears in French to avoid anyone discerning their purpose. Meanwhile, Eric Ulfson took to a pillar and scanned the crowd like a hungry man at a smorgasbord. After about 10 minutes, Samuel Vesper and Alicia Vangelista made their way upstairs to the balcony overlooking the large dance floor while Harald Kralt and Peter Verus stayed hidden below to cover the main dance floor level and watch for anyone to take the bait, a.k.a. Eric Ulfson.

For a long time, there was nothing special. The job looked like a bust. Under cover of Obfuscate, Peter Verus reported to Harald Kralt that, just by the feel of the building, he could tell where their targets were. Especially in the secure areas of the building upstairs (including the penthouse), the equipment rooms on the main level, and the machine rooms down in the basement, the bouncers were not normal Kine... something about them was corrupt and twisted. Additionally, aside from their own party, there seemed to be just one vampire in the club that night, hiding. Unfortunately, the group's best spotters were Peter Verus himself, followed by Archon Vesper. At least Peter Verus knew the general area on the dance floor level the vampire was hiding out.

Looking up at Samuel Vesper on the balcony with Alicia Vangelista, Peter Verus made a telepathic link with the Archon and communicated this. Samuel Vesper decided that it would be best to locate each of the unusual bouncers first, to dispatch them quietly and discretely, so that they wouldn't find themselves surrounded by reinforcements when they made their move. Peter Verus then shared the message telepathically with Eric Ulfson, who was to remain where he was for the time being, and then re-established contact with Gaetano Abbiati to relay the message as well as he could.

Eventually, in scanning the crowd, Peter Verus and Samuel Vesper managed to spot the hiding vampire on the dance floor level. She was a wart-covered wreck of a strung-out waif standing in a dark corner unnoticed by the couple occupying a table just a couple feet away who served as cover. It was apparent that, from her vantage point, she had a clear view of Eric Ulfson and was watching him, and Samuel Vesper and Peter Verus both read her aura as vampiric. As she was not one of the Camarilla forces anyone had seen coming into Chicago, it seemed they had just sighted the enemy, probably Nosferatu antitribu. But for now, they watched.

At a moment when no one was looking at David Clay, Harald Kralt took him into the cloak with himself and Peter Verus, explaining the situation in whispers. Trolling for Bouncers was the name of the game. Following Peter Verus's impressions of their location, the trio quickly found a man in the men's room, where they heard two male voices arguing loudly in a single stall, despite there being only one figure standing in there. As the man came out of the stall, David Clay slammed him against a wall, yielding a howl of pain--but not from his mouth. As the man panicked and tried to swing back at Clay, the Brujah prince lanched him against a wall with a punch that crushed his shoulder and one arm. When the man fell, his shirt came up to reveal a second head grown in his stomach that yelled, "That's right, take him out so I can have my time!" Thoroughly freaked out by the weird shit before his eyes, David Clay finished off the man with a solid punch to the face that broke his neck. As they headed out, though, the second head kept talking: "Thanks, man! I'll talk it from here!" Turning to look at the oddity, it seemed the stomach-head could still talk, but nothing else of the man could move an inch. With a swift kick to the second face, David Clay put an end to the obnoxious creature.

In the DJ's storage closet, they found another warped creature with bloated red skin and globular muscle growths. Upon seeing them in there, it flipped out and launched itself at them. Tough as it was with so many weird extra muscle growths, the thing lasted only seconds against the combined attack of David Clay's fists and Peter Verus's broad sword. Over the next half hour, Samuel Vesper and Alicia Vangelista kept watch over the floor from the balcony while Peter Verus, David Clay, and Harald Kralt combed the main level and upper stories under Kralt's cloak, emerging long enough to kill a bouncer for the few seconds it took, then recloaking. Gaetano Abbiati and Edoardo Locatelli did a similar sweep of the basement. by the time they had taken out all the warped bouncers in the club, eight disgusting creatures had been put out of its deformed misery, some with reptilian eyes, some with scaly lizard claws, one with sharp goat horns projecting from its forearms, and one completely bloated with swollen muscles and bloody tumors that was hiding out in the penthouse until the trio pounded it into a bloody pulp, although with somewhat more difficulty due to its great size and bulk (it was about 7 feet tall) and its feral response to them. Hardly worse for wear, though, Harald Kralt, Peter Verus, and David Clay reported to Archon Vesper that the floors had been cleared of the target creatures.

Leaving the rest of the group to pick up Eric Ulfson in the cloak, Samuel Vesper walked right up to the wart-covered woman in the corner and told her to follow him, which she did without delay. He led her into the basement with the rest of his team in tow, except for Gaetano Abbiati and Edoardo Locatelli, who already waited below in a dead end of the labyrinth. Once he led the woman to the dead end, the group dropped the cloak, trapping the woman in the dead end.

His voice leaving no room for bullshit answers, Samuel Vesper demanded who she was, what she knew about the Sabbat who normally frequented the club, and so on. To his disgust, Henna the Nosferatu antitribu turned out to be a recent embrace by the Sabbat meant to build their numbers. She refused to be enslaved by "fucking Capes," only revealing that the local Sabbat had left her to watch for Camarilla incursions tonight--shitty luck. Done with her, Samuel Vesper just looked at Eric Ulfson and told him to put an end to her, which Ulfson did without hesitation. Disgusted by the discovery that the retaking of the Succubus Club for the Camarilla was, in fact, purely symbolic as things fell out, Archon Vesper ordered Harald Kralt to cache the Sabbat filth's remains so they could be left for ash without drawing attention to a vampire corpse in the dance club before dawn. Then the group left the Succubus club under cloak, having "planted the fucking flag" as Vesper put it.

Once out of the club and at a safe distance a few blocks away in an alley, Archon Vesper redirected the group back to the Columbia Yacht Club to pick up some transportation in the form of a box van to make their next tactical objective in New City. A few minutes later, the group was refilling on refrigerated blood bags and checking sniper rifles underway, headed southwest. Their next tactical target was control of New City so as to prevent enemy forces from Midway Airport from having a path to flank the Camarilla in Downtown. The mission was simple: take a position to look for anything Sabbat or Lupine and kill it. Even so, Archon Vesper seemed restless and impatient.

The box van rolled west our Cermak Avenue to barely cross through a bit of Lawndale before turning south on South Halsted to cross under I-55 into New City, right past the Fanum Pagan Theological Occult Studies center, a place that clearly made David Clay look uncomfortable until they were will past it. They followed Halsted southward all the way down to the area near Sherman Park and cut west on West 51st Street to a neighborhood where they found a warehouse complex near Micek Park between 51st and 55th. That's where Archon Vesper decided to set the group up to secure the neighborhood.

Climbing up on the roofs of several long warehouses in the cluster, Samuel Vesper, David Clay, and Alicia Vangelista set up with sniper rifles, while Peter Verus, Eric Ulfson, Harald Kralt, Gaetano Abbiati, and Edoardo Locatelli were charged with making sure the grounds weren't compromised so the snipers could hold their high ground here and cover the Chicago Lawn/Clearing neighborhoods surrounding Midway with the long-range rifles. And they waited.

Perhaps an hour late, the three snipers on the roofs saw and heard a group of helicopters approaching Midway from the northwest. Scanning the choppers with scopes, the snipers agreed that it looked like Prince Boris Baeronisky's squadron coming in to hit Midway, something that had not been on the original tactical plan before entering the city. As well as they could, they readied to lay down supportive fire at the extreme range of about 2 miles for the air cavalry of Kindred. But in the final approach, the choppers began to fall, and Baeronisky's force bailed to avoid crashing in the death traps, dropping out of sight. The fallen choppers dropped out of sight for the rooftop snipers, but the flames reflecting from the low cloud cover in the rain told the story of the helicopters' fate clearly enough.

Not long after, the snipers caught sight of canine forms crossing the city south of them, racing toward Midway Airport. Laying their sights on the running beasts as they bounded across the wide open railyards south of the warehouses, Samuel Vesper, David Clay, and Alicia Vangelista started firing to prevent reinforcements from arriving at Midway. But a few successful hits with silver rounds was all they got in before the Lupines took cover: but it was clear that the Lupines had not been killed, because they weren't lying where they had been dropped anymore. The trio called a warning down to the five Kindred patrolling the grounds, and they waited. Again... but not long.

All hell broke loose on the ground. Harald Kralt managed to help Peter Verus and Eric Ulfson at the top of the clash by hiding them until their initial strike. Verus, clad in his scale mail over supernaturally hardened reptilian skin, wielded a silvered gladius from behind his shield, while Ulfson jumped into the fray in a partial wolfman shape every bit the match to any raging Lupine, but got the drop on one that was in the form of a typical wolf, slashing a large gouge from the side of his target. What ensued was difficult to follow with the eyes, because every few seconds, Harald Kralt cloaked the two melee combatants again, confusing the Lupine opponents, now numbering seven, although two had been severely wounded in the first moments by the surprise attack from Kralt's cloak.

The numbers on the ground showed that this fight would not be a quick one to finish. Alone, Peter Verus was forced to tangle with his wounded victim and two additional Lupines, all now grown up into an upright beastman form; Eric Ulfson appeared to be one in a pack of five Lupines together, trying to fend off the four actual Lupines from all sides as they baited and flanked him at every turn. From the roof, there was nothing the snipers could do in such close quarters with positions and angles changing so rapidly. After a few moments of watching Peter Verus resist the onslaught of three Lupines but also fail to make much headway with them, and the same with Eric Ulfson trying to go toe to toe with four Lupines, each about as tough as himself, Samuel Vesper ran vertically down the wall of the warehouse from the roof to enter the fray.

As he descended in his impossible charge, he drew Bloodvine, a blade about 23cm long, from its ribbed shell swept hilt. Its finely forged masterwork steel blade flashed yellow as it caught the dim light of the warehouse lot during his fall. In that flash of light, David Clay and Alicia Vangelista could see finely etched, thorned vines stretching the length of the steel with roses hinted in abstract along the blade. In his off hand, he drew a second dagger from a plain leather sheath, this one with silvered edges, the sight of it conveying a palpable feeling of peace. On its pummel they could see a design of thorns and chains. Then, in a flash, Samuel Vesper was amid the werewolves assisting Eric Ulfson.

Or he tried to. No sooner did Samuel Vesper arrive at Ulfson's side than the Gangrel shied away from the blade of peace wielded in the Archon's off hand. As Eric Ulfson and Peter Verus faded in and out of view and Harald Kralt was surprised by the Archon's move into the combat, the werewolves quickly decided that Samuel Vesper was the easier target, especially as they realized that the wounds they dealt him were deeper and persisted longer than for the other two. Of the three vampires in their faces, Samuel Vesper was the softest target.

Swearing under his breath, David Clay followed the Archon's bold lead, jumping from the roof and charging in after him. The young Brujah dove in to the Archon's aid at a speed to keep pace with the blurring speed of the Lupines and the Archon himself, while Peter Verus and Eric Ulfson continued to strike from hiding every few seconds, Verus getting in his blows a bit more often than Eric Ulfson, but not up to the pace set by Samuel Vesper and [[David Clay, now fighting back to back in the middle of the Lupines. But the Archon, unlike his former Servire, was getting slowly cut down by the onslaught; his legs were already slashed to pieces and his pants were hanging in shreds about his waist. Still, Samuel Vesper seemed unfazed, some of his minor wounds disappearing effortlessly.

Thinking fast, David Clay knocked one of the Lupines prone so that Alicia Vangelista could get in a couple shots from her elevated position without fear of hitting her allies. Two high-caliber silver rounds to the head ended the life of that Lupine. Still, six others were still circling Samuel Vesper and David Clay while getting harried from behind by the unflappable Eric Ulfson and Peter Verus with lethal claws and silvered blade, respectively. As he could, David Clay tried to get one Lupine or the other far enough from himself that Alicia Vangelista could get in a silver bullet from on high. Otherwise, the Lupines continued to move in on him and tried to evade the attacks from behind them. It was a knock-down, drag-out fight that dragged on, and Archon Vesper's wounds were catching up with him.

Then, no more than 30 seconds after the clash began, Gaetano Abbiati and Edoardo Locatelli arrived on the scene from the far side of the lot where they had been patrolling. As one, they stepped in to aid the Archon. As they shouldered there way in among the werewolves, it was clear that they were a great deal harder to harm as well, clearly masters of Fortitude themselves.

Then Samuel Vesper ran from the fight. At first appearing to flee, he ran just a few yards away, then turned to pause just a moment. Bent over with his hands on his knees, he focused himself, and as Alicia Vangelista and Harald Kralt watched, his many claw wounds seemed to soften, become shallower, no longer any more serious than slashes he might have taken in a knife fight. And then they began to close. Completely.

Meanwhile, the reinforcement by the two Lasombra antitribu had turned the fight. As two more of the Lupines fell dead and reverted to naked human forms, the Lupines also found that their attacks were largely impotent against the supernaturally toughened flesh of their five remaining vampiric opponents. Their situation was suddenly desperate. They moved to fight back to back against the gathering Kindred, who now outnumbered them by one, and, as Samuel Vesper leapt high overhead back into the fray again with both blades flying, by two. In a few more moments, the werewolves were crushed in close together. As one more Lupine dropped to the ground and reverted to the form of a wolf, Eric Ulfson stepped back to avoid the slashing swings of so many blades in close quarters. The others pressed onward, inward. David Clay, Gaetano Abbiati, and Edoardo Locatelli formed a rank of inescapable fists that cracked bones and rent flesh, with Edoardo Locatelli almost keeping up with Clay. On the other side, Peter Verus and Archon Samuel Vesper were a forest of steel and silver reaching out for Lupine hides. When Eric Ulfson could, he assisted the knuckle sandwich brigade to cut one of the Lupines away from the others and get it prone so that rooftop fire could silence the beast once and for all. The battle became efficiency and application as the Lupines lost control of themselves and raged uncontrollably against the ones they had originally come to kill. In their final desperate moments, the Lupines dished out grievous wounds with claws and teeth to their five close range assailants, but the law of numbers had already decided the verdict against them.

About a minute later, the muddy puddles of the south end of the warehouse lot were tainted a deep crimson. Three dead wolves, three dead men, and a dead hybrid beast lay on the ground, no longer breathing. Although Harald Kralt and Alicia Vangelista had escaped the night unscathed, the remaining members of Archon Samuel Vesper's task force had suffered moderate wounds at the hands of the Lupines in New City. Of them, Vesper himself looked the worst for wear, completely slashed up from chest to toes, only his torn shirt, ruined leather jacket, and tattered boxer shorts left of his garments. Grimly, he called their status in to the other commanders, reporting that the mission objective at New City had been achieved.

His whole party had survived. They had taken the symbolic Succubus Club for the Camarilla. They had pinned down New City with sniper fire and prevented Lupine reinforcements from reaching Midway to run down Baeronisky's forces. But somehow, Samuel Vesper seemed sour about the results.

Denouement

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