Chicago Lightning

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.

Comments

GM:

You’ve spent the morning beating feet from one location to another. Turns out the old Motor Pool for the Port Authority was folded into the Central Motor Pool, as has that of most agencies. As you behold the field of cars in various states of disarray and functionality, you begin to understand why. In the end, you spent 2 hours walking around the city in the morning before you finally found where to go, took a hack nearby, and approached on foot. The picture above accurately represents your viewpoint as the Scene begins. The building at the far end is the hastily constructed office by the front gate.

Each of you please PM me a die roll representing exactly how you approach sussing out the Motor Pool on your initial approach. Give me some descriptive text about it as well, and based on your description and die roll I’ll PM you back some additional details.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Note of clarification: you are standing OUTSIDE the fence, on that hillock in the lower left hand corner of the picture.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

[using Streetwise plus Thief, 2d6+2+2=2+6+2+2=12]

Azog looks about for any watchers. Seeing none, he chucks a rock or a bit of broken brick over the fence. Seeing no effect, he hikes up the hillock and leaps over.

Azog has never owned a car, but he has stolen one once or twice. He walks among the countless rows of black sedans confidently, as though he belongs, eyeing left and right for a car with the proper tags in drivable condition. He is also looking out for anyone who might challenge the group.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

[Let’s go with law enforcement + streetwise. 2D6 +2 +2.

Roll(2d6)4:
6,3,
4
Total:13]

Jamison spends a moment looking at the set-up; vast scores of cars, left to rust, with effectively no supervision. Seems like the mechanics are all on different work details; that means they know each other enough to trust each other. There’ll be no way to bluff your way in as a mechanic, unless you go through the front gate… Then again, Mugsy could bluff his way past a poker-playing Indian, so…

Then, Azog flung himself over the fence.

After collecting his jaw, Jamison turned his mind to tactical considerations. Clearly, the only guard would be in the building, where the cars were expected to stop, show their order, and get cleared. Were there other doors? A salvage gate in the back seemed likely, for those cars which had been picked clean, and would be hauled off for scrap. And, with the motor pool’s reputation, Jamison doubted that it would be guarded.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

With that, Jamison made his way around the back of the lot, looking for a salvage gate that would be easy to open. Hell, any luck, Jamison mused, and this’ll be how the mob gets their cars, so the mechanics’ll be used to seeing this kind of thing!

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Seeing the shape of the salvage gate, and the cars piled up in front of it, Jamison shakes his head. Look at the way people are just lounging about! I’ll bet the manager is some slack-jawed political appointee. This is just typical of a situation where the workers are left to their own devices-

Jamison chuckled, and made his way back to where Mugsy was going over the site.

“Mugsy, this is your shot. I can’t go in there, because someone might recognize me. But go in there, claim you’re from the city, and raise hell. Say you have a goddamn Troll in the yard, just to see if anyone said anything, and no one did. Say you’ve been watching the yard for a half-hour, now, and no one’s done a goddamned thing. Say that the Salvage door is a goddamn nightmare. Then go in there, like you own the place, get Azog, a car, and say you’ll be back later today, and if that salvage door isn’t clear, heads’ll roll.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

[Also: +1 Style die to LF for making me laugh with his description of Azog flinging himself over the fence. I totally laughed out loud in the kitchen at work!]

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog is sorely tempted by a beautiful Packard, but with a heavy sigh he opts instead for a plain sable Model T with Port of Chicago stenciled onto the doors. Rather than start the engine he simply disengages the parking brake and rolls it forward by his own strength. When he finds the path obstructed by a poorly stationed car, he lifts it by the bumper and drags it out of the way. Progress is slow but steady and mostly silent.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Gotcha, Jamsion.” Mugsy says and then makes his way toward the front gate looking very peevish and like he pushes a lot of pencils. He does so grumbling under his breath with his eyes darting around constantly. He’ll stop by the closest worker he sees.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

The first worker Mugsy sees is an ork mechanic leaning into the engine compartment of a Pierce, wearing a nametag sewn into his coverall reading “Kaarlg”.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Mmmmm hmmmmm…” Mugsy says peering over Kaarlg’s shoulder and inspecting the work area. “It’s worse than I thought.” He sighs and shakes his head.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

At the sound of Mugsy’s voice, the mchanic, who had once more leaned under the hood, jumps with a start and in doing so slams his head against the underside of the engine compartment. Howling, he staggers backwards a few steps until he careens off an old Chevrolet and lands on his rump in the center of the corridor, holding his head and staring blinkingly up at Mugsy.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Azog, give me a Thief roll.

Jamison, what do you do now?

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Mugsy whips out a note pad and a pen and begins to jot things down. “Oh dear, unsafe work environment, improper lighting…” He mumbles as he looks around. [Whats the condition of the car being fixed?]

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

[2d6+2=3+5+2=10]

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Azog is pretty focused on his work, but suddenly he wonders if he’s being as subtle as he thinks he is. It’s a strange though, foreign to him, even.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

[Not sure what to do with this. Can the GM provide some external stimulus that might prompt Azog to have this thought?]

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

How about that suddenly tingly sense of being watched?

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

[’attl do]

Azog leaves the Model T and rounds a corner to find Mugsy and Kaarlg in conversation.

“Boss,” Azog calls out, “here’s the one. Bring the wrench monkey.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

(Why, I’m waiting, of course. I’m recognizable.)

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog approaches smiling and claps a hand on the mechanic’s shoulder.

“Howdy, friend. ‘Kaarlg,’ is it? Listen, I’m going to do you a big favor. They know about what’s going down around here, and you can keep clear of trouble if you just do this one thing.

“There’s a Ford back there that keeps getting sent back for more work and the problem just keeps coming up, you see? It stalls out after one-and-one-quarter miles every time. The Boss thinks you ain’t doin’ your job down here ‘cause the problem’s never fixed, but I know what’s happening. The car gets down here, the engine cranks, the mechanic fig’rs, no problem, next job, right? But it ain’t so.

“What you need to do is start ‘er up and then drive one-and-one-quarter miles to see if it stalls out, see? That way you can tell it all up and down that you done your job right and proper, see? C’mon, we’ll be your witness and take the story straight to the top and save your bacon.”

[Streetwise, Fast Talk, Thief: 2d6+2+2+2=5+5+2+2+2=16]

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

The car itself seems in fair condition, ovbiously the mechanic was working on the motor, the rest seems sound. Initially, Kaarlg just sits there on the ground, holding his head, nearly oblivious to Mugsy as he’s busy seeing stars. He looks up and sees Mugsy scowling down on him and his face flashes from confusion to bewilderment to anger, “Cripes, sir! Warn me, willya! I’m gonna have a real goose egg on my noggin from that!”

About that time Azog walks up, and Kaarlg’s head whips back and forth between Azog and Mugsy with an intensity that borders on violent.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Oh my, yes. I’ll make a note of that too.” Mugsy intones and jots a few more notes onto his pad. “What do you have to say about the deplorable working conditions that are forced here upon you?” Mugsy asks evenly.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog offers a long arm to Kaarlg and lifts him by the elbow to his feet. “There you go, friend.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog adds, “Kaarlg, is it? You look like a Union Man, am I right?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Kaarlg tentatively takes Azog’s hand and lets him heft him up. “I….uh….well….who are yoh guys?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“I am Stanislaw Piotrowski and this is my associate, Horowitz. We’re here assessing working conditions in the Motor Pool. Complaints about the quality of the work being done here have reached people in high places. We have been retained by certain other parties to find the real reason behind these lapses in ability. I ask you again sir, how do these… ‘conditions’ affect your ability to produce effective results?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog nods sagely and says, “That’s right. Don’t let the big Pollack scare you none. Jes tell ‘em how come youse doin’ such a lousy job around here keeping the cars runnin? Is it ‘cause you don’t get no smoke breaks? ’Cause we can get youse smoke breaks.” Here he elbows Kaarlg playfully and winks.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Kaarlg blinks, then blinks again, “What about the car you wanted me to drive?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“In good time, friend,” says Azog, taking Kaarlg by the shoulder and guiding him back toward the Ford. “First, I want you to think about something: are you happy here?” Over his shoulder he winks at Mugsy.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Kaarlg continues to massage his sore head, but furrows his brow in thought, “Uh,” he replies. He glances furtively between Mugsy and Azog. “Yes? I mean….no? I mean…” He begins to try to back away from the both of you, towards the “main office”.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Come now, young man! We’ve got the whole yard to traverse. If you need some time to gather your thoughts, go right ahead. In the mean time, we’re gonna keep inspecting the place as ordered.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog plasters a toothy grin onto his face and waves good-by to Kaarlg. “Don’t go anywhere! We want to ask a few more questions.”

To Mugsy he says, “Mr. ‘Stan,’ why don’t you and me go have a look at that car.” Then in a lower voice he says, “Let’s not let him out of sight. He might be able to get the car out of the lot for us.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Good idea. Start looking for what ‘keeps’ these poor souls chained low and make sure we get it down for our report. We’ll need a list for when the camera crew shows up.” Mugsy says this last bit loud enough for Kaarlg to hear.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Only a few yards from where they left Kaarlg, Azog leads Mugsy to the sable Ford with the Port Authority seal stenciled on the doors. The car looks fine to drive, but without cranking the engine who can tell?

“Ain’t she a beaut, Mugsy?” But Azog isn’t looking at the Ford. He’s looking over his shoulder at the forest-green Packard near the fence.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

As Mugsy and Azog begin to walk away, Kaarlg abruptly reverses direction and comes running after, still holding his sore head, “Wait! Did you say CAMERAS? Like, MOVIES?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“How else are we supposed to document this stuff?” Mugsy waves his hand to taken in the expanse of the motor pool.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

“Can I……Can I…..whaddaywantmetodo?” His eyes are as big as saucers.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Uh oh. What time is your shift done?”. Mugsy looks at his own wrist.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

And because the opportunity presents, Azog unpockets his new silver watch and ostentatiously eyes the face.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Azog notices a button on the side of it, almost as if it were a stopwatch. H hadn’t seen that before…

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog now appears transfixed by his new watch. He runs his paws over the surface and examines intently the new button.

“Hm…”

Kaarlg and Mugsy are for the moment forgotten.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

[Christ, here we go.]

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

With no one to talk sense into him, Azog presses the button, expecting perhaps a stopwatch that might be used to clock horses or dogs at the racetrack.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Neko, give me a roll to notice your surroundings.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

[Let’s go with one we haven’t used in a while, Gambling: 2d6+2=2+6+2=10]

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Azog presses the button and looks up. The world seems….strange. Finally he gets it, nothing is moving. No one is moving. Everything seems….frozen.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Hm…”

Azog pushes the button again.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

The world resumes as usual. Azog notices that the second hand is now frozen at 29 seconds.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Hey Mu-uh, Mr. Stan, did you see that just now?”

[What is Kaarlg doing now?]

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Kaarlg continues to stand there, pie eyed at the prospect of movie stardom.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Not now, Rufus! I’m trying to get the gentleman here to be on camera… I mean have better working conditions.” He catches himself quickly.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog pockets his watch and asks, "Shouldn’t we do a practice run to save film? Have him do something so we see in different light, different distances, that sort of thing. Hm…

“You know, if we set up the camera on that hill,” he throws a thumb over his shoulder, “and he was to drive a car onto the street and park it, then get out, we might see something good. What do you think, Boss? Have him try it?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“When did you learn to be the camera man? What are we doing here? The camera crew will take care of that. What we could use is the wheels to go pick them up, now that’d sure help.” Mugsy says wistfully.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Once more th Ork’s head whips back and forth berween the troll and the human. Finally, he seems to process through what he understands to be chain of command and turns to Mugsy, “How big a car yiu need? I got plenty!” He gestures expansively and grins widely.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Say!” Mugsy grasps his chin. “So you do. Now let me count. Theres the camera guy, the light guy…” He decrescendos into mumbles and arcane mathematics as he counts on his fingers. After arriving on what seems to be a double digit number, he points to the Port Authority Car. “That one should do nicely. These fancy types are flying in on one of them air doo-hickeys and it docks at the Labrador. That crate’ll let us in with little hassle.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog waits for a moment when Kaarlg isn’t listening, then stage-whispers to Mugsy, “You ride with him. I’ll go out the way I came in and meet you where Black Bag is.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Kaarlg looks back at the Port Authority Ford, shakes his head, then scratches it, then winces as he hits his goose egg, “Ow! How’d that get there? How’d it even move? Ain’t got no motor…” he begins to mutter to himself, perplexed.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Oh, well I’m glad you are around my good man.” Mugsy claps Kaarlg on the back. “It would take a long time to pick them up in that, eh? What sort of port authority car do you have thats ready?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Huh. That explains why it was so light. Say, did you notice that nice green Packard back there? I bet that one works like a charm!”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Focus!”. Mugsy hisses sharply. “Port Authority.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog looks for another Port Authority car. [Thief: 2d6+2=2+3+2=7]

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Ethan, I need a con roll from you, please.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

[Whoops, you said that yesterday. 9 = 4+1+4

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

(Sorry, yesterday got away from me.)

Kaarlg cocks his head and studies Mugsy a moment, "Port Authority? Why Port Authority?)

Mugsy gains a training point!

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

[Mugsy will use his technique to reroll the 1. New result is a 5 for a total of 13]

Mugsy puts an arm around Kaarlg’s shoulders. “Like I told you, my good man. They are flying in via airship. A port authority vehicle will bypass the cabbies, hacks and limos plus get a sweet parking station to avoid any delays to them coming.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Brilliant use of technique and roleplay! Mugsy gains a style die!

Kaarlg’s eyes widen and he nods enthusiastically, “I gots it, yeah! I can even drive ya! Wait right here!” He turns on his heel and runs off into the morass of cars.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“You know he’ll be terribly disappointed when he can’t drive them as he’s not union, you know?”. Mugsy smiles at Azog. “Poor chap.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog scratches his head. “You think we can drive it out ourselves without nobody stopping us?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“He might drive it beyond the gate but no further. How would it look to our employers?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Mm-okay. You want we should all ride together or I show myself out and you pick up me and Black Bag?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Lets wait till its settled, them we’ll pick up hitchhikers.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog nods thoughtfully. “So where’s that goblin with our wheels?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

As if on cue, Kaarlg pulls up in a late model Port Authority Lincoln.

The car itself is spacious enough in the rear for Azog to sit comfortably, and it was once very nice, but has seen two years of hard government work. So while it’s still a Lincoln, it is definitely a government Lincoln.

Kaarlg is practically falling over himself to usher Mugsy and Azog into the rear seats.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Knowing his place as subordinate, “Horowitz” opens the door for “Stanislaw.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Thank you, my good man.” Mugsy says as they pile in. “Just get us out of the gate and then we’ll let you return to catalog the injustices of your working conditions so that we may report them.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Kaarlg is visibly crestfallen, “But….I can’t…just leave ya’s with the car! I’m already stickin’ my neck out lettin’ it off the lot for youse guys!”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“If our employers get wind of us being paraded around in this hack and then pick up a camera crew with an as yet unaffiliated employee, we’ll lose all credibility. How can we convince people to join up if we let them get in on the good stuff without joining? I’ll tell ya what, you let us use the car, and I’ll get the cameraman we pick up to give you the most screen time.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Kaarlg is clearly conflicted, he looks longingly at the two of you, mind clearly fixed on the fame and possible fortune that could come with the big break on the screen. Somehow he’s forgotten that he’s an Ork and that Orks never make it big.

He furrows his brow in thought, but finally nods and clambers into the driver’s seat. “Pull the window shades closed, and I’ll drive youse out.”

The auto wends its way through the maze-like parking lot and out the parking lot with nothing more than a wave from Kaarlg to the gate attendant. He drives it around the corner just out of sight, then pulls over. Turning around to face Mugsy and Azog he jerks his thumb towards a nearby diner, “I can’t come back without it, which means I gots to wait here. Supposin’ youse buy me a sammich while I waits?”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Azog fishes out a $20 and hands it over, grinning.

“You’re a swell guy, Kaarlg. I see big things in store for you! Here, have breakfast, lunch, and dinner besides.”

To Mugsy, he says, “OK, Boss. Let’s pick up our guy and get goin’.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

Kaarlg looks down at the $20 spot, blinks, and looks back up at Azog, a look of incredulity on his face, “Youse guys are the real deal, ain’tcha! Oh boy!” A wide grin splits his face, he snatches the $20, and bolts into the diner with a whoop.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Once he’s out of earshot, Azog shrugs and says, “He’s in a heap of trouble if we don’t come back. And if we don’t, $20 don’t do us no good anyhow.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

Jamison sees the car make its way outside of the lot, and makes his way to the street corner, his grin almost invisible under his Fedora.

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

“Well, now the real show starts.” Mugsy says as he climbs in the driver’s seat. “Lets get dolled up and spring us some kids.”

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
 

GM:

As Mugsy slides into his seat, Jamison comes sauntering over and climbs easily in. It’s just after Noon, but our stalwart trio still has a very long day ahead of them, and a sense of either dread or destiny comes over them.

Tune in next time for “Mugsy Gillenhaus – Baby Snatcher” or… “Eulogy for a Good Friend”, coming soon on Chicago Lightning!

Scene Exeunt

City of Chicago Central Motor Pool
MadDogMaddux

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