After a night of frustration, tormented by the memories of having been humiliated by the shape-shifting jester at the Cheshire Cat club, Luke woke up and decided to do something about it. Compelled by the GM, Luke rushed down to the Alpha Sigma Sigma frat house, planning to force his way in, get a hold of Derek Decato, and get him to tell him everything he knew about the creature who’d set up the fight club. Instead, the frat house contained only a police officer and a plains-clothed detective (Detective Benson), who did not appreciate Luke’s hostile attitude. Luke was intimidated into telling them all he knew about Derek (heavily edited to avoid mention of the supernatural), and then learned that the entire fraternity had vanished over-night.
Shortly after, the bodies of two of the fraternity members, Fred and Ted, were discovered anally impaled on the football field goal as part of some sort of sick ritual. Zhishen and Luke ran into Benson again and Luke strong-armed Zhishen into telling the cop what he knew about the stolen book of occult, The Hidden Word. Luke did some chatting with the crowd and learned the woman who stole it was named April Garcia, and that she consorted with a big, musclebound, fitness-nut named Marcus who frequented the college gym. Planning to visit the gym anyway, Luke and Zhishen headed that way.
They quickly spotted Marcus, but any thoughts of investigation were put on hold when Zhishen implied that he was a better martial artist than Luke, who immediately decided he would PROVE HIM WRONG. The two of them got into the boxing ring, and several rounds of frenetic combat later, Luke managed to prove that Zhishen… was entirely correct in his assumption. “Kickboxing is bullshit,” Luke grumbled. The fight caught the eye of Marcus anyway, who awarded Zhishen with a complimentary stack of cash and then demanded he fight him next. Zhishen, hoping to avoid any trouble, tried to talk his way out of it, resulting in Marcus suggesting they both take him on together. Marcus quickly proved to be a brutal and capable boxer, but he was no match for their teamwork and conceded with a broken rib, which he insisted was not worth bothering the hospital about.
Having taken a liking to them, Marcus suggested they all go out for a drink and brought them back to his place of business, the Three Amigos Theater, a retro style independent movie theater near the college. He introduced them to the owner, one Diego Garcia, the husband of April the Book Thief, who was unfortunately not around. Marcus offered them a job as muscle for hire… revealing that the theater was a front for a cocaine distribution gang, supplied by a tunnel he claimed ran all the way to Mexico. Both Zhishen and Luke declined, and Marcus was a good sport about it, giving them each $2000 to keep quiet, as well as a blunt threat. “I like you guys,” he said, “I’d hate to have to kill you.”
Afterwards, Zhishen and Luke split up. While Zhishen met his friend Chevsky in the library to follow up on researching The Hidden Word, Luke went out and used the money he got from Marcus to buy a used motorcycle, since his truck was tragically ruined by some kind of golem the night before. From Chevsky, Zhishen learned of the reputation of local Warden of the White Council, Nathaniel Draven. Ridiculously judgemental and violent, he supposedly has a behead-first-ask-questions-never policy, and is the reason the Red Court of Vampires in San Diego has been playing nice lately. Later that night, Zhishen and Luke headed out for the Paranet meetup at the Midnight Club in Balboa Park.
At the meeting Paranet meeting, hosted by Carmen, they were introduced to 7 local members of the Paranet:
Melanie Schultz, a local lawyer who’s fiancee went missing when he (a private investigator) started looking into the disappearances occurring around the harbor. She called the meeting, told everyone about the Fomor threat abducting practitioners, and asked for help. She also offered to legally represent any member of the paranet who got themselves into legal trouble.
U.S. Marshall Travis Siege: A Marshall who “invited himself to the meeting.” Learned about the supernatural in Iraq, where he “took care of” a local Ghoul problem. Seemed like kind of a badass. Seemed concerned about the Fomor.
Vladimir Ravenloft: Yes, Vladimir Ravenloft. A two-bit practitioner as pretentious as his name. Probably an idiot. Claimed to be in no danger from the Fomor, due to his “great power.”
Earnest Creely: A creepy Steve-Buschimi-looking guy. He was very nervous, and advocated fleeing the state to avoid trouble.
Nirvana Avanie: An awkward girl who claims she can see the future. Told Luke he was gonna get beat up soon. As Luke had already been in like 3 fights in the past 24 hours, he saw no reason to disbelieve this prophecy, but wasn’t particularly impressed in her ability either.
Anthony Baxter: A college-aged (but not enrolled) guy rocking the Jesus look. Implied to be a practitioner. No idea what his deal is.
Vincent: A grumpy young guy manning the bar. Has some kind of magic effect on him, but Luke was unable to assess its purpose.
With introductions out of the way, the scene is set for the meeting to really get underway next session.
We ended with a Significant Milestone.