Chicago Lightning

Fire In the Sky: Denoument

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As the burning remains of the Michigan Star collapse onto the matchwood structures of the Wolf Point Warrens, four unlikely characters stand helplessly by, next to the battered remains of a Fire Alarm Box. Azog, the massive troll, looks nothing like his dapper dandy self, instead tattered and torn – wild eyed, panicked, and teary. Mugsy, the debonair P.I. stands cooly beside him, with one arm coralling two small boys, and with the other waving a Sawbuck in the air in an attempt to flag down transportation.

Around them, the Warrens are beginning to burn. Orks of all sizes and poverties begin to run by them in a panic as the fire spreads rapidly, all headed for the nearby main thoroughfare of Washington Avenue.

Across the street from them, an old pickup sits unattended.

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Airborne Crucible

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The room is beginning to fill with choking black smoke. The fire-suppressing glyphs that ordinarily would have been worked into the wallpaper patterns and woven into the rugs and draperies seem to be absent or malfunctioning.

Mr. Kluwe is wreathed in blue fire from the burning spirits. He seems not to notice.

Azog stands amid the smouldering Art-deco furniture and pats his coat to smother a tongue of flame.

He points an accusing finger at Kluwe and says indignantly, “Now look, you! You can’t have my soul no more ‘cause I’s gone straight! You can’t tempt me no more with booze or craps or stolen ham hocks, see? Get thee behind me, Old Scratch!”

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Pushing the Envelope
Our First Live Session

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The trio climb into the great gas bag with the burly sailors hot on their heels. They take the first catwalk toward the aft of the ship and encounter two mooks standing at an intersection. For once, Mugsy hesitates – torn between too many options, giving the mooks a chance to charge his position. The lead mook takes a swing at Mugsy with a heavy metal object and connects it with Mugsy’s noggin’, he crumples to the metal grating.

Even as Mugsy falls, Azog leaps over him and punches, connecting with a savage hook and snapping the man’s head back. As the man crumples to the floor next to Mugsy, Azog bellows a spittle injected roar right into the man’s face, which blanches. The hapless sailor turns on his heel and runs pell-mell down the catwalk. Mugsy stands, shaken but not stirred, and Azog tells him, “Help me move this body!” but Mugsy is preoccupied, “That guy loosened my tooth! Who hits people with pipe wrenches these days?!” So Azog drags the body of the mook a short way before leaving him on the catwalk as the trio goes down the ladder.

At the bottom of the ladder is a locked door. Azog forces the lock and the trio burst into the hangar they’ve been looking for! Two autogyros are ready to fly, and the room is full of men at work.

FIRE!!!” yells Mugsy, and panic sets in. Almost immediately, one of the autogyros begins descend through the floor hatch on a tether. “Stop that aeroplane!” Mugsy exhorts, and Azog complies, throwig a toolbox across the room through the glass canopy, K.O.‘ing the pilot. However, this doesn’t stop the launch cycle. The aircraft passes through the hatch and is released from its tether to drop, its unconcious pilot slumping against the stick and causing the plane to careen downward at a sickening angle towards Chicago below.

No parachutes are found, neither in the second autogyro, nor in the hangar. Mugsy fails to actually search the second autogyro, having gotten oil all over his hands, and panicking to get them clean again. He buttonholes a man and, while wiping his hands on the man’s jacket, asks about a means of escape, and he is shown ropes. Clearly this will not do.

At Mugsy’s order, Azog bursts through a door into the passenger compartment, returning to Suite AA. He halts at the kitchen and polishes off a large ham before the others can catch up to him, Mugsy begins to berate him and then notices a bottle of dark liquid, “Is that SCOTCH? Grab that, let’s go!”

[At this point, Chambers somehow vanishes. Perhaps he entered another door and did not exit. Who knows when he’ll return?]

Arriving at Suite AA, Mugsy knocks at the door and it opens, as though of its own volition. The suite appears empty, but there are closed doors on opposite sides of a lounge. At Mugsy’s signal, Azog shoulders one door while Mugsy picks the lock of the other.

Azog crashes into a big, human mob enforcer in a black suit, knocking him over and ultimately ending up on top of him. He is in a bedroom with two toddlers and a matronly woman. Standign up, he yells, “Whoopie!” and dances a jig on the enforcer’s head.

As mugsy is working to pick the lock, he bends the whole of his concentration on it and on getting past the door. Suddenly the door seems to vanish, and Mugsy can plainly see Kluwe, Rose, and Boots. They are all three staring at him in perpexion. Mugsy reaches up and pats at the now invisible door and senses that it does indeed still exist, but then looks down just in time to see Kluwe charging at him. Thinking quickly, Mugsy steps out of the way, takes a swig of the Scotch, and smashes it on the lintel of the doorway, showering Kluwe with booze. Before he can get out of arm’s reach, however, Kluwe swings at him with a massive paw and knocks him into the lounge, where Mugsy crashes onto the coffee table filled with decanters. Getting up, he overturns furniture in his path and then hits Kluwe with another bottle from the bar, saying, “I don’t think you’ve had enough to drink!”

Mugsy strikes a match and tosses it at Kluwe. Kluwe catches the match out of the air, but Mugsy blows the flames onto Kluwe’s hand, which ignites his liquor-soaked clothing.

Azog is struggling with the enforcer on the floor. He looks behind and sees fire, and exhorts the civilians to leave. They do not. Mugsy enters the room to plead with the children to come see their mother, but the old woman holds them back. The mook on the floor sees the fire and attempts to exit the room, but Azog uses his face for leverage and exits first. He finds Rose waving her hands at Kluwe.

“Not so fast, Witch,” says Azog, firing his pistol at Rose (and missing).

The Mook flees the suite, knocking Azog into a flaming coffee table. Mugsy grabs the kids from the matron, kicking her away, and also exits the suite.

Azog looks up and sees Kluwe’s face wreathed in flames. “So you come for me at last,” he gasps, mistaking Kluwe for Satan.

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You Wanted a Showdown at 110 feet...

Our stalwart trio indeed surges up the gangway, spiraling up an ornate staircase that wends its way to a point at the peak of the building and the docking parapet. The staircase itself is adorned with elegant carpet, velvet covered handrails and even crystal sconces on the wall illuminating the path. As our would-be heroes reach the apex of their journey, they break out into the open air of the Chicago Skyscape, careening to a halt on the boarding parapet. Above them, a crewman is desperately attempting to loose the moorings at the spire which hold it in place, while another crewman – directly in front of our men of action – frantically works at a hand crank to raise the boarding plank and retract it into the ship’s nose. They have only a moment to act before the airship cuts loose its bonds and drifts painfully out of reach.

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The Labrador Part III
Down to Brass Tacks

Our stalwart trio of would-be do-gooders storms down the stairway to the next floor below in hopes of finding the detained children of Mugsy’s new flame Maeve. Jamison covers their retreat, looking one last time over his shoulder at the angry face of Enzo Farugliani, still standing naked in the middle of his own living room most recently wrecked by Mugsy, Azog, and Jamison himself. They can only hope that somehow they are able to find Maeve’s children before Mr. Kluwe and the mysterious Rose are able to recuperate and once more launch an assault against them. And somewhere within the building, Mugsy hopes, Big Boots O’Hanlon himself is likely to be lurking. Time is running out…

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The Labrador Revisited
Showdown at 110 ft.

The Lincoln pulls up to The Labrador and parks curbside.

The building has undergone rapid repair since the unusual events* of the previous week. Well-dressed men and women come to and fro via the grand front doors, and Goose Bay seems to be doing brisk lunchtime business.

The Michigan Star is moored at the docking tower, no doubt on account of last night’s grand reopening festivities.

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Letter from Azog to Mary
Send by pneumatic post

Dear M,

Please be on the lookout for a fell creature called Marcum, who may be after the Preacher. Me & co. will be out of reach for the present.

All My Love,

A.

[Sent via USPPP canister]

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City of Chicago Central Motor Pool

After a little bit of groundwork, our stalwart trio manages to navigate to the recently consolidated City of Chicago Central Motor Pool. The massive sprawling parking lot is something unlike anything any of them, even Jamison, have seen, and the cars cover such a range of conditions from mint to bullet riddled to rusting heaps that the Motor Pool looks somewhat of a mix between junkyard and parking lot. A smallish recently built building stands off to one side, near the entrance, and the entire lot is fenced in. There seems to be no proper garage, but a handful of mechanics can be seen scattered through the lot, even at this hour of morning, attempting to get vehicles in running order. With the exception of a gas pump near the office, the lot has no additional structures.

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Mugsy's Safehouse

After a short drive and a much longer walk, Mugsy leads our stalwart trio into a dense tenement complex, down a back alley, and up a rickety staircase. Azog carries two large paper bags that, when he received them, were filled with goods from a local Italian bakery and meat shop that still happened to be open at this hour. Each of our champions of good has had opportunity to snack on at least one small calzone, but it’s just enough to taunt them with the anticipation of the spread to come.

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Gimbel's Jewelers

It takes about an hour, lugging your suitcases, to make it through the Warrens to the western edge, but you make it. By dint of Azog’s imposing size alone you manage to avoid getting mugged, and nobody comes near enough to pick your pockets. Neither, however, do you find a place to buy an etherphone, nor do you find a payphone. The Warrens are a mix of once-was-up-and-coming and leftover-warehousing, mosts of which is collapsed. Evidence of subterranean activity is everywhere, and there is very little vegetation, despite ample amounts of exposed earth. For the most part the Orks live cleanly, and evidences are everywhere of devout religious practice, but it simply cannot be ignored that the Wolf Point Warrens are a focal point of poverty on a level that marks Esther’s broken-down brownstone as one of the more upper-crust homesteads within.

It is with no small amount of relief that you realize you are making your exit from the Warrens, though at first the change is ominous in nature – more buildings are standing, but that makes for closer alleyways and blind corners. Boarded up buildings loom around you for several blocks before you make it to a road that is actually open to traffic.

On the corner sits a shop that sticks out from its surroundings largely because it is not shabby and falling apart. The signboard reads “Gimbel’s Jewelers” and despite the lateness of the hour there is a light on within. As Mugsy looks once more at the card from Esther, he verifies that this is the correct address, then sees a small cardboard sign in one of the side windows which reads, “Mordechai Lubov, Watch Repair.”

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