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Saturday, March 24th


Later Afternoon...


The sun hung low in the sky, and the shadows were long, but it was a surprisingly warm day, and people were in fair spirits. Jackson street was a smaller road in the Theatre district, full of more avante garde art and artists. As was the case when art was less than a blinding success, money was thin in wallets and pockets. And this close to the Fens, the paucity of wealth started to blend with the abundance of crime that goes with it. 


Perhaps the highlight of Jackson Street was The Square Moon, a Sort of Jazz club. It was "sort of" because it played all sorts of esoteric and crazy music of limited popularity that proclaimed itself to be both artistic and cool. And usually had some maddening time signature. In addition, the Square Moon attracted all sorts of new age and wiccan types and had a barely believed reputation for being seeped in sorcery. 


Outside the Square Moon, a tall man of Asian heritage in a cool turtleneck was pacing up and down and smoking heavily, quite worried. 


He was stopping passers by and those coming in and out of the Square Moon showing them pictures of two kids, but with limited success. Maybe the young man known as Facsimile might help as he passed by?


And meanwhile...


Victoria Gold has received a hand written, hand delevired note of brief nature. 


Trouble at the Square Moon with Katarnachists. I need your help. Meet me outside at 5pm. Wear a circle. 


Followed by the sigil of the Guardians of the Wheel. Which, as far as Victorian Gold knew, only the Guardians of the Wheel knew.....





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Alexander had been out for a nice evening ride on his motorbike when he'd passed from the fens into the theatre district and spotted the frantic man on the corner, ever watchful for opportunities to help the people of his home town he barely needed a second more of contemplation before he pulled in and parked up his bike.


taking his helmet off and allowing himself a moment to enjoy the cool air of the early evening before getting off his bike and wandering over.


"Hey man, everything OK there?  Ya look a bit frantic." he said as neutrally and unassumingly as possible "Anything I can help with at all?"

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Poor David. Victoria’s long-suffering PA is going to get a nervous breakdown if she keeps rescheduling things on him at the last minute, but she can’t turn down the request and she can’t bring him with her. Whilst they had been scheduled for a very important meeting this afternoon, she was sure that he could handle it in her stead.

The Katanarchists were something she couldn’t ignore.

Stepping out of a taxi, Victoria has worked hard to dress down. A shapeless grey hoodie-and-jeans combo with comfortable sneakers is unlikely to get a second glance. Couple it with big (circular) shades, hoop earrings and a ying-yang symbol on the chest, and she’s arguably going overboard on the circles.

Normally, she’d just show the Wheel amulet that Master Wen had gifted her – but she’s not a total idiot. If the Katanarchists were in motion in this area, she might as well wear a target on her back. Even as things were, she couldn’t help but feel nervous. This could be an elaborate setup.

She pays for her cab, giving a generous tip for the driver’s trouble, and then walks slowly towards the club, measured steps trying not to show her nervousness and increasing paranoia as she scans the street. Worried man, largely being ignored by an uncaring populace. Tall young man taking an interest. No immediate signs of ninja.

That probably meant they’d attack at any moment.  

Edited by Kai Wren
tenses are hard
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The tall man in the turtle neck remained worried but was grateful for Alexanders assistance. 


"Seen these two?" he asked, showing photographs of two young women, either very late teens or very early twenties. They looked, it must be said, rather like a pair of scallywags. "Please?" asked the man, starting to crack up. "I'm their social worker. They are quite vulnerable. I think they got in with the wrong crowd. Went into the club..." he explained, nodding at the Square Moon. 


"They were getting involved in drugs. Drugs and witchcraft. Not the good wiccan stuff, the black screwed up stuff" he explained, frowning in deep concern. "God, I tried to help them..." he moaned to the universe. 




Victoria got a tap on the shoulder.


"Do you like circles?"


The woman had striking platinum blonde hair, and striking blue eyes, like she had stepped out of a Glacier. She was dressed in a white coat and white t shirt, with white jeans, and on her feet, white shoes. She was smiling carefully, and had white teeth when she did so. 


Whatever she was, she was well balanced and quiet. Graceful. Agile. Like a martial artist. 

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Facsimile's heart softened at the man's earnest plea as it always did when he felt someone was in true and deep need of help "Ill go in and look for em." he states resolutely "you wait out here...maybe a little bit away from the windows, if things turn bad you understand?" Hoping his euphemism came across clearly, he hoped things didn't devolve into violence but he had failed at almost every attempt to resolve things peacefully and these folks didn't seem like the kind who wanted to listen to reason anyway.


"Ill be right back." he added with a confident huff as he strode over towards the door and grasping it firmly in his hand pulled it open wide and stepped into the darkness of the square moon without a second thought.


Time for a Facs Check!



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Victoria didn’t miss the way the woman held herself. Nor did she miss the fact that the woman had gotten close enough to tap her on the shoulder without her noticing. There’s a moment of tension as she turns to face the blonde, and behind those sunglasses, her eyes narrowed just the slightest amount. Friend or foe?

“The right ones.” She replied, “All depends on the circumstances.”

She was still on edge. This was, broadly, what she’d expect from a Guardian contact – but she had only really met Master Wen before now, and this woman was about as far from the wizened old man as you could get.

Then again, her only interactions with the Katanarchists had been in the form of sudden, impossibly silent, attempts to end her life. This wasn’t one of those, either. That tap on the shoulder hadn’t had a single knife involved.

“You should be careful touching people around here.” She said, conversationally. “I hear it’s a rough area. All sorts of dangerous folks who might overreact.”

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"Like you?" asked the blonde woman, face neutral. "You are Victoria, yes? Trained by the Guardians? Wearing circles?"


"You must be. I can tell. I'm Violet. Yes, I know I wear white. Ha ha. Heard it before" she sighed. "I have studied under them too. Not as good as you, I bet. But, I know some styles" she said, nodding her head in deference to Victoria. 


She indicated the Square Moon. "Somethings wrong in there. The Katanarchists, I think. They are dealing some powerful magic drugs. I don't know much, but I know something serious is going down tonight. And I'm not strong enough to take them on" she said, almost ashamed. "Maybe one or two. But I'm pretty sure its not going to be one or two low level ninjas in there..."


She craned her neck to watch Alexander go in, closely followed by the tall Asian man. 


"Looks like more meat for them. And maybe that other guy is a Katanarchist, luring the meat to the grinder. We better go in..." she said, biting her lip anxiously. 


Although Victoria got the sense that Violet was actually more confident than she appeared. And more capable than she claimed. 

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After confirming her identity, Victoria maintained a completely deadpan expression as Violet moved to head off puns that she would never have dreamed of making. Introductions given, she turned and looked over the tops of the glasses for half a moment, taking in the panic-stricken man and his nervous pacing.  

“I don't think so. Look at the way he’s holding himself. That is a man half-mad with worry, not a warrior.”

And now she was at a crossroads. Heading into the club was dangerous. She wasn’t wearing her disguise; the uniform wasn’t exactly suitable for meeting someone in public, which was why she’d left it behind. If the deal was going down tonight, she could return then, properly equipped to handle the situation.

But there was something nagging at her. If they’d taken this man’s children, why were they letting him stay outside and cause problems? One explanation flickered through her mind, and her teeth ground together as she started to walk towards the club, with definite purpose. She probably wasn’t even aware that one hand had curled into a very tight fist.

“Stay close to me.” She said, tone sharp as a razor. “And be on guard. We’re putting our heads into the lion’s mouth, Violet. Be ready when the jaws close.”

Was this foolish? She could not possibly feel more exposed. In her current guise, she couldn’t even call upon her mastery of the Wheel without jeopardising her identity. But ultimately, what choice did she have? Lives were at stake. Sometimes, you had to be foolish.

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And so, inside the Square Moon...


'Twas seeped in an anarcho-archiac flavour, was the Square Moon. Little, if anything was metal, but  rather woods, velvet, and leathers. It was dimly lit, but not so dim one struggled to see. Candlelight was present, but so was muted lightning bulbs. The sound of ballroom dance music wafted quaintly from the main club. 


But between Violet, Victoria, Alexander, and the fretful tall social worker was a woman. 


The woman was middle aged, with a broken nose, fairly tall and very broad. She was a doorman - or woman, in this case. She looked polite and tough. 


"Entrance, Five Dollars" she said, polite and tough. 


"Sure, sure" said the Social worker, fumbling around his wallet. 


"I'll pay" said Violet, swiftly handing over twenty dollars for the four of them with a smile. "I'm Violet, pleased to meet you!" she said, moving into slick mode quickly. 


"Sure, I mean, thanks, Violet!" said the Social Worker. ""Yung. Jonathen Yung" he introduced himself, shaking her hand. 

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In all honestly, Alexander hadn't liked that the social worker had followed him in after being asked to wait nearby but he understood his reasoning and ultimately respected his courage and commitment to these two kids, he'd read the tabloids, heard the horror stories , that there was even one social worker willing to go so far was to be celebrated not admonished.


The two older ladies however complicated things further in his head, now he had three civilians to watch after now! the thought they might be here for similar reasons not even occuring to him, still they'd payed his entry fee and there was no need to be rude or impatient with anyone, let alone people who had just done him a favor.


"Ah, thank you very much Violet, My names Alex by the way."

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Victoria forced herself to relax, making her hand uncurl. She was still tense as they were stopped by the bouncer, and even more so once the woman had been paid and they were free to step into the club proper.

Bohemian was definitely the word. This place reminded her more of the elegant balls she was sometimes expected to attend for charities than the type of club she would have expected to be walking into. Then again, this is the theatre district; if there’s one place where people are going to be up for getting down to classical music, it is here.

Victoria didn’t introduce herself to the two civilians. The less they knew about her, the better. Instead, her voice was quiet but insistent. “You two should stay on the floor of the club.” She said, “Be discrete but keep your eyes open. Violet and I will take a different path.”

Splitting up would be a calculated risk, but if the club was a Katanarchist front they would probably want to maintain the charade. That was the safest place to try and store two civilians whilst the Guardians infiltrated the staff areas.

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With fees paid, the way to the Square Moon was open. 


The ballroom music was odd, somehow, with a funny beat. The dancers twirled in a somewhat quaint but ungainly way on the floor, and people on the sides drank whiskey and port and unusual drinks. They dress here was varied, but tended to an antique flavour. It has a steampunk flavour without the steam, or the punk - just dressed and jackets and fascinators, and the occasional top hat. 


"New here?" asked one elderly woman with a fine dress and fine fascinator, holding a glass of something pungent and alcoholic in her hand. She was sixity, perhaps, somewhat short and thin, with riveting green eyes. 


"The band are quite good, are they not? It is a shame they lost their trumpet player yesterday. I here he was quite outstanding!" she said. "There he is! drinking away his sorrows, it would seem...."


Tucked away in the corner was a thin man with dark skin, dressed in an elegant black suit and elegant fedora. He looked like he was studying the music intently, and drinking whiskey heavily whilst doing so. 


"They call him Sunset. Always seems to be around when the sun goes down. Played the trumpet like nobody else, they say. But he got into a fight with the band yesterday, and refused to play any more. Babbling about some horrible force. Well, I don't believe in all of that, but it does give the Square Moon a certain reputation that is good for business!"


"My name is Verity Moon, by the way. I own this place!"

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Alex smiled politely, nodding his head at appropriate times, his mother had always taught him that simply listening was often the best way into learning, that humans were social creatures and if given the opportunity  would spill even their darkest secrets to someone with only the slightest encouragement and indeed Verity had spilled the beans on the latest happenings to him and the others utterly unbidden, it would be a lesson he took to heart from now on in his interactions, though bantering and heroic speeches were fun all the same.


that said she had manoeuvred the conversation in such a way as to invite him to speak, if he wanted to keep her talking it would be wise to indulge her a little and of course, be watchful he didn't give up anything on himself in doing so.


"Pleasure to meet you Ms. Moon, indeed it my first time, I've often driven past here and thought about coming, but today i finally managed to make the time to check this place out...i must say Its a great place i prefer a more relaxed environment myself, my friends favour clubs that are dark as caves and pound with noise. " he said, wrinkling his face just a little as he said so.


"This is much nicer, its a shame i didn't manage to make it in before sunset left the band then, Ill have to make my way over to him for a chat if nothing else at some point." he adds with the air of an afterthought.

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Victoria was never that comfortable with alcohol. She plainly did not understand the appeal of poisoning oneself. She’d tried it, of course; she could hardly have been a teenager in her mother’s house without getting forced to sample wine, and champagne was one of those things that was often just forced onto you… but it wasn’t for her.

She listened to what the old woman had to say, of course; having been caught up in her conversational snare, it would have been rude to just walk away. She gave a nod in return. “Just checking out the local scene.” She said, as vaguely as possible.

From behind those sunglasses of hers – still not taken off even though they are now indoors – she narrowed her eyes at the old woman. She was the owner of the club, but she was implying that she’d never heard the band play before? Alarm bells tinkled at the back of her mind, but she couldn’t think of a good way to call the old woman out without causing a scene. This was one of those moments where she really wished she had her mother’s gift for people.

“If you’ll excuse us.”

It wasn’t a question, and Victoria was soon moving along the outside of the crowd, looking to take in entrances and exits, as well as anyone who might otherwise stand out – aside from herself. In her current clothing, she wasn’t going to have an easy time blending into the background…

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Ms. Moon drifted away as was hey way. She seemed to love the archaic and strange flavour of her club, and chatted to everyone, full of gossip and wit. 


Victoria moved around the crowd, noting a backstage which was closed off (presumably for the band), a kitchen area for snacks and the barsfatt to take a breather, and a fire escape which has a short fat man in a top hat and zoot suit sitting by it to make sure no sneaky souls got in without paying. Whilst Victoria saw many strange souls, there was nothing to pick out that was unduly strange when all was strange. And nobody was dressed like a ninja or carrying a sword. 


Sunset tipped his hat as Alexander (and following closely, Jon) approached Sunset. He looked up and tipped his hat. "Haven't soon you round here before. First time?" he asked. 


"I was playing this joint a whole month. I recognise faces" he said giving a cool smile. "You can call me Sunset. Meanest trumpet player in Freedom City..." he said with a confident twinkle in his eye. 



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"So i heard, the owner was practically buzzing about you, its a shame i didn't get here in time to hear you playing, Sunset." he says sincerely, he rather liked the kind of jazzy music that was wafting through the club and in truth he felt like it was missing something without its trumpet player.


"Some nasty business it sounds like, Place been treating you alright since?" taking a stool at the bar next to the whiskey drinking Sunset and looking at the bartender with interest "Not big on whiskey myself but my old man drinks it, says it builds character." he mumbled as an offhanded comment as they made their way over.


"Fresh orange Juice please."

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Victoria was pleased that the young man was staying with the musician – it was possible, likely even, that he was mixed up in this in some way… but she didn’t like any of the rest of this. She felt like she was missing too many pieces, and they were working to a time limit here. If there were people in danger, they needed to find them quickly.

She spared Violet a glance to make sure that the other Guardian was still with her, sticking close as she had been told to do, and then she started to circle towards the backstage area. Her intent was simple – approach as casually as possible, then slip in when no eyes were on her. Hopefully Violet would be able to keep up, and they’d both prove skilled enough to slip inside without drawing attention.

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"One Orange Juice, coming up" said the Waiter, a dark skinned, bald, and handsome man with a scar across his nose. An Orange Juice was dutifully served up. 


"The Place is treating me nice, sure" said Sunset. "They would do anything to get me back on stage. But I ain't playing here again" he said more seriously. "It was dark music, man. Getting darker every night. Something was going go down. Pretty sure something did go down. And I can feel it pulling me in...." he said grimly. "Like, I can't stay away from  this place. I want to see what happens. Maybe I want it to happen..." he said giving a wicked grin that was full of pearly white teeth. 


And as it happened, Victoria and Violet were stumbling into something wicked...


As they went backstage, they were met by scrabbling hands! A woman was chained to the centre of the backstage, like some dancer or musician. Maybe a fiddler, who could tell? She was dead though, quite dead. Except she was moving, fast! her chain did not reach to the door but she lurched out of the almost-darkness on the length of her chain, trying to scratch out Victoria's eyes!

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The dead woman’s grasp found its way through Victoria’s guard, and her scrabbling nails caught against her sunglasses, glancing off and cutting a light scratch across her cheek. There was more to it than that, though. She could feel something beneath the physical pain; a tingling touch as temporal energies swirled against her, and she brought her formidable will to bear against it.

There was not even a moment’s hesitation in her, the woman twisted forwards, into the grasping hands of the zombie, knocking them both upwards and out of the way. Her knee rose in the gap made, and the sound of snapping cartilage brought an end to the monster’s desperate efforts to tear her to pieces as the head snapped back far enough to shatter the spine.

It was only after the corpse fell backwards that Victoria realised what she had done. A shudder ran down her spine. That kind of move, that lethality, was something that she had learned as a theoretical practice; something that could be done but never should be done.

She stooped down, then, and let out the breath she had been holding in. Her hand came up and closed the dead woman’s eyes. The zombie was already dead. She’d known that from the moment the creature had come at her, grey-skinned and not breathing, lurching with all the unnatural motion of a puppet on a string.

But whilst she could tell herself that justified the instinct, it was still a disturbing moment. Was this a foreshadowing of the path to come?

"I'm sorry that we failed you, sister." She whispered to the corpse, taking a moment to compose herself and reflect.

Her hand reached into her pocket, and removed a small handkerchief which she dabbed at the blood beading from the tiny scratch the woman’s nails had achieved. “Looks like you were right.” She muttered to Violet, “We were too late for this one. Let’s hope we’re not too late for the rest.”

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Violet looked remarkably calm, although her fists were up ready for action. 


"What was that?" she asked, keeping herself crisp and frosty despite the shock. "A zombie? here? well, I guess its the right kind of place. The rumours were true. But why was she chained up?" she said, asking the obvious question. 


She did not have the respect for the dead that Victoria did, and simply stepped over the corpse. 


"What secret are they keeping down here?" she asked, checking the shadows to see if any other surprises were in store. "Is this drugs, do you think? I never heard of a drug that turned you into a zombie. Well, I have heard of them, but I thought it was just stupid myths. Not real" she explained, clarifying herself. 

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Alexander felt a slim smile cross his face "Ahh, certainly it has a kind of allure to it doesn't it? the hint of danger, its a big part of living in freedom city right? alien invaders, Super villains and so on." he sighed slightly as he paid for his drink and put it to his lips. "Even horror films have been focusing more of meta humans with derangementS lately." he commented, in honesty it made him feel kind of bad that people were intrested in seeing such things, but then it was probably a very adrenalin rush things.


"I bet even some of the heroes do what they do cause its exciting for them." he commented as he took a deep drink from his juice.


"I wonder if you might be able to help me and my friend here, we're looking for some folks, he's got a picture....you seen these ladies around here? we're worried they might've been well...suckered in by some unsavory sorts." he mentions of offhandedly as he leans back to allow jon to show his picture and talk his piece.

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Victoria was as characteristically forthcoming as always; as dour and introverted as her partner was outgoing. She turned around what she knew in her head. There was definitely something going on here, but beyond supposition and conjecture, they didn’t have much to go off. A supposed acrimonious split between the trumpet-player and the band. A dead woman with a drive to kill.

They were missing the motive, here. The end goal.

She moved quickly and efficiently around the outside of the room, working methodically to search for anything out of place; any notes or other clues that might be waiting to shed some light on this mystery.

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"Certainly, happy to help" said Sunset, putting down his whiskey and studying the pictures. 


"You know, I think I saw these girls. When I last played, here, two nights ago..."




The Backstage was full of various useless trinkets, and empty (and full) bottles of alcohol. Plus, a locked case decked in velvet. It looked about the size one would store a musical instrument in. Like, say, a trumpet. 


And a trapdoor, also locked with a reasonably sturdy but slightly rusted at the edged padlock. 


"Down there...it must be!" said Victoria, looking at the trapdoor and ignoring the lock case. She looked keen, that was for sure. 




"They were having a good time, looking for some thrills. Drinking when they probbaly shouldn't have been. Then...well, I started playing the Devils tune, and everybody got freaked out. Hell, even I can't remember just what happened, but it weren't good...."

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"i see, quite a bumping night then, if you gents will excuse me, im going to take a little comfort break in the bathroom." a polite nod of his head in regards to the too he set himself off towards the mens bathroom without much of a second thought, sequestering himself away within a cubicle and pulling his legs up he took out his smart phone.


He'd rarely mimiced such a complex object but how he knew when to be looking it was time to poke around a little he felt, taking on the properties of his smart phone and hooking himself into the buildings wifi, begining to search the system for the security cameras footage for around two nights ago to see if anything remained on the system, even deleted data could be restored, he'd learned from his more tech savvy class mates regarding cyber security around secret identities.

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The gentlemen's bathroom did not smell of roses, but certainly there were worse establishments in Freedom City. Not many, but there certainly were some. On the plus side, it was rather splendid in decor. 


With a fzzt of methamuman power, Facsimile started working his way through the electronics of the establishment. On the plus side, the cyber security was minimal. On the negative side, that was because there was minimal electronics anyway. It prided itself on the ambience of an early 20th Century establishment, and electronics had been stripped away to the bare minimum. 


The bare minimum, as it happened, did include security footage. And it did show the two girls dancing the night away two nights ago. It did show Sunset playing away on his trumpet like he was possessed. There was no accompanying sound, but the visuals were there. 


And then everybody started going haywire. It was pandemonium, like everyone was hallucinating and going crazy. Violence was certainly the order of the day, and it looked like a brutal and chaotic violence. Pretty soon, the camera got knocked to one side and cracked. And then, when a chair was thrown, it fizzed out completely. 


One notable omission was any footage of the backstage area...

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