Tucson by Night

An Introduction to the Region
A Prologue to Our Story: Part 1

Tucson is, in effect, an island. It is surrounded by wide open expanses of desert in all directions, immediately hemmed in by rugged mountains, and far enough from any other cities that it would be decades, if not centuries, before its borders could ever start to blur. This wilderness is exceedingly hostile to Kindred, being home to many Lupines, as well as the natural problem of distance, open space, and sparse population.

This island, aside from the dangerous waters around it, is also threatened by a southern neighbor – Mexico – that is overflowing with Sabbat, eager to encroach into the United States along with illegal immigrants, drugs, and terrorists. California, the southern portion of which is in a constant state of Anarch turmoil, offers little security to the west; and New Mexico is one of only a handful of states with no known Kindred population, so overrun is it with Lupines and other supernatural beings hostile to vampires.

Phoenix is the closest city, and closest thing to a safe harbor, for those brave enough to try the highways and state roads at night. And although it’s the largest city in the state, with well over 2 million human residents, it is a difficult place for outsiders to be welcomed, and a hard place to live for those who wish to make their own decisions. The local Prince works hard to maintain control over what she sees as – and many in the Camarilla believe to be – the only bastion of civilization in the Southwestern United States.

More Background: The Locals

Thomas Reginald is the Prince of Tucson, and works to balance between his overbearing northern clan neighbor in Phoenix, the threat of the Sabbat in Mexico, sometimes pushy and erratic Anarchs in California, and a disturbing number of lupines ringing his city. Although he does not rule with an iron fist, like his northern neighbor, his rules are absolute, by necessity, in Tucson, and he does not tolerate those who flaunt them – friend or otherwise. Within his rules there is flexibility; outside them there is a short trip to a sunny day west of Ajo.

Aside from Thomas Reginald, the city’s permanent residents are Cedric, Dominic Rance, Jasper, and Lyle Spade. There have been two deaths in the last few months: Alex Broden, a Caitiff loner; and Jose Ramirez, a Gangrel who’d lived in the area for decades.

The locals are tense, as always, about the surrounding threats, and now with two mysterious deaths, they are even more so.

Rumors from the South
Mexico, that is

Rumors have come out of some drug and coyote gangs that operate across the border that the Sabbat are focusing less on the border and more toward something to the south. There are two known Sabbat packs that operate in Nogales and Tijuana, with the latter being the bigger one, and it seems that the pack from Nogales packed up and moved, leaving only a skeleton crew behind in the city.

With this, the pressure and oversight from the Sabbat in the drug and human trades has decreased some. There’s nothing commonly known beyond this.

Mr. Timmy
a side note

Mr. Timmy is a fixture in the local homeless community, and is normally found around downtown. He’s got a few frequent haunts, and also pops up in seemingly unexpected places, as well (like bars – inside and paying). He is a font of local knowledge, if you can meet whatever price he sets in the moment.

And most of what he says he knows is actually so.

Late Breaking News!
...Massive fire engulfs local business...

From tonight’s KGUN on Your Side broadcast:

Guy Atchley, KGUN 9’s 5pm anchor, leads off the show, leaning forward over his news desk, one eyebrow arched, as his cute blonde sidekick looks on, an expression of controlled concern on her face…

“This just in: a massive fire has engulfed a local warehouse late this afternoon, with three fire stations responding.. Drake Fowler is on the scene…..Drake?”

The scene switches to a street and a young reporter, also with one eyebrow arched, standing a block down from the smoking ruin of a building. Several firetrucks are parked here and there, and a few dipshits are trying to get into the camera’s eye behind the reporter. A portly Hispanic man stands next to the reporter.

“Right, Guy…the fire seems to have started perhaps at roughly about 3pm this afternoon. Mario Sanchez, a business owner, noticed smoke, then flames, and he called 911. Mario, can you tell us what happened?”

Shoving the mic into the other man’s face, the reporter waits for him to speak.

“Well, I saw some y’know, some smoke, and so I thought ‘well that’s not right,’ and so I went outside, right? Then I thought ‘well they make ice cream in there so there shouldn’t be nothin’ burning or anything like that, so then I saw flames and…”

Jerking the mic back to his own face, Drake interjects

“You saw flames – describe them – what did they look like?”

“Well…they was red and orange, y’know, like flames are, but right before I went back inside to call 911 they were like WHOOOSH! and grew so fast…so fast. I knew something was wrong.”

Reclaiming the mic once again, the reporter turns back to the camera.

“That’s it, Guy. Flames: sudden, fierce, destructive. All we know at this point is that the fire has all but destroyed the warehouse that, according to Mr. Sanchez’ account, and local records and the sign on the street next to the warehouse, was the central facility for the Treat Shops across Tucson. We’ve no word yet on whether or not anyone was inside, nor of any cause for the blaze. Fire investigators will have to sift through this one to find out what happened. Back to you, Guy…"

The picture switches back to Guy Atchley, pursing his lips and shaking his head ruefully while the blonde mirrors his expression back to him. After a moment, Guy turns back to the camera, smiling.

“And in other news, the modern streetcar made its first test ride today…”

Tucson? Strange place, I think...

The grizzled Nosferatu squated in the corner of the filthy bathroom, his forearms resting on his knees. Wearing a thoroughly soiled suit, he swayed from side to side slightly as he spoke.

“Strange place, I think. Something of an island. Prince…Ventrue. Strange guy….his own man. Tolerates a lot, according to his neighbor up north. Ventrue who don’t get along? ‘Round these parts? That’s strange…”

His raspy voice trailed off with the last word as he calmly reached into his jacket to retrieve a wriggling rat, into which he bit, slurping loudly for a moment as he drained it of blood.

“Yeah. Right. What else? Right. You have to get there in one night, or you won’t make it. San Diego straight through, I think. That’s best. If you go through Phoenix, you waste time, or maybe get caught there. They play Ventrue games up there. I’d skip it. Do it in one night, or the desert will claim you – no safe place out there. Show up at ”/wikis/places-of-interest" class=“wiki-page-link”> Cobb’s to present yourself. Prince doesn’t like folks who don’t make their presence and intentions clear."

FInished, he looked up at the others in the room and waited, expecting his payment.
Keepin' a low profile...

The black car came to a halt as the driver cut the engine. Two men sat in the front seat, neither speaking nor looking at each other. Instead, their attention was fixed on a building down the street, situated at the corner of a block of storefronts, all limned by the orange rays of the setting sun.

Minutes passed as the sun finally set behind the mountains, themselves blocked by buildings. The men continued in silence, eating Jack in the Box from a large bag between them.

Finally, the driver snorted. “Place’ll open in a few. We should case it,” he stated in a growl.

“You think they’ll be there tonight?” the other man asked, his mouth full of burger.

“Gotta be,” the other responded, “Robbie’s never been wrong – not with this much evidence. They’ll be there, and we’ll track’m, and we’ll take’m out.”

“Mrphmth” the other agreed, taking another bite of burger.

"I want samples..."
One day after the fire, and three days ago

The man hung up the secure line and steepled his fingers, contemplating the conversation he’d just had before addressing the two operatives sitting before his desk.

“I want samples from the site of the fire, by tomorrow. I also want whatever the local police and fire inspectors might have, and I want them to lose anything of value they might have on hand, whether they realize they have it or not.”

The man and woman sitting before him both nodded. They’d leave the city within the hour, having access to charter flights and not having to worry about airport security. The right badges and ID cards made all sorts of things easier.

Tucson was a long way off – a tiny ’burg in the middle of the desert. It might also be the place where the Agency finally cracked open their decades-long investigation.

It started out pretty calm...
...our Thursday night, that is

Viktor was the first to arrive at Cobb’s, and found the Elysium chamber empty, but for a human staff member, who seems anxious at the new kindred’s presence. Dr. Maximillian Riechstaad and Wayne McIntyre arrived next, and found the same peculiar state of affairs: a single unknown kindred, sitting in an empty room. The three had a little time to chat before before a fourth kindred arrived, in dressed in an fine suit and with an air that made it clear he was used to getting his way,

Getting down to business – that of figuring out where the local residents were – turned out to be a challenge, but one that was eventually solved with direct language and veiled threats of the use of vampiric powers on the humans and ghouls.

It’d been days since anyone had seen or heard from Lyle Spade, Thomas Reginald, or even Dominic Rance. Cobb’s was, after all, Spade’s place, and his absence – now in its fourth day – was of concern.

Reginald hadn’t been seen or heard from in days, either – and not returned his calls, which was extremely unlike him. In short, the leaders of the local kindred community seemed to be missing.

Taking charge of the situation by virtue of their own powers and desire to get to the bottom of things, the four new compatriots – drawn together by mutual concern – forced Gerald, Lyle’s chief of security, to take them to Ten’s, where Dom had his office. They also dispatched Bobby and Ronny to check on Lyle’s home, the location of which they promised to keep from knowing.

Ten’s presented a similar mystery: no Dom for several days. Using stronger powers of persuasion, the four convinced Vic, Dom’s goon at Ten’s, to check on his house – where was the local leader? Meanwhile the group rifled through his office and cracked open his safe, discovering financial ledgers of Dom’s local businesses and a set of coded accounts books, keeping track of some purchase of items, along with receipts related to travel in Mexico.

Their time at Ten’s was interrupted by an urgent call from Chris, back at Cobb’s, who brought news of ‘unsavory types’ in the club – a codeword for renegade kindred, possibly even Sabbat operatives.

After a high speed ride through town, the four and Gerald returned to the club in time to see three kindred cast the Masquerade aside and go ballistic in the human portion of the club, attacking patrons and the intervening kindred alike, turning the club into a bloodbath.

The quick thinking and resolute action of the four out-of-towners resulted in the Sabbat pack leader being chased off and her two companions being beaten into near-torpor, and captured. Three humans were nearly killed, and police sirens could be heard. News was certain to get out about this…

"Let's roll!"

The two men sat in their car for over two hours before entering the club, getting a few beers, playing some pool, casing the place, and then heading outside to watch some more. They’d not been able to get in through the VIP entrance, nor up to the VIP area once inside the club – it seemed that they weren’t cool enough.

And so they took a brisk walk around downtown, getting the lay of the land, and then returned to their car, where they waited.
Just before closing time a small group of people burst from the club’s doors, some falling into the streetcar construction area, some turning sharply and running one way or the other along the sidewalk. Something was up, that much was clear.

The two looked at each other and quickly exited the car and began walking quickly toward the club, which was now spewing what were obviously panicked people, some screaming. By the time they were crossing the street at from the leather shop they could see inside, a little, and the scene of bedlam that was unfolding.

“Go! Go!” shouted one as they both began to draw weapons and rushed forward. Before they could navigate the ruts and equipment of the construction that cut the street down the center, they were both knocked aside by a single female figure – a pretty hot one, too – that jumped with inhuman speed and strength out of the doors and into the street, before taking another hurried leap to the other side, and then taking off north along 6th Avenue. A few seconds later a wolf followed, leaping into the street, landing only feet from one of the men, but only barely noticing him.

The beast sniffed the air and looked side to side before leaping to its left and bolting westward down the sidewalk.

The two men gathered their wits and again began approaching the doors, which were now closed, the outside crowd dispersed. Police sirens followed as they stepped onto the sidewalk. The taller of the two turned to his partner and spoke.

“No way we get what we need with the cops on the way,” he stated, and then pointed down the sidewalk. “Maybe we can get a story out of some of them,” he motioned toward a group of people who’d slowed to a trot about a block east of the club.

“Shit” muttered the other as they both stowed their pistols and quickly crossed the street, seeking to close with some of the witnesses, and put as much distance between them and the club before the police arrived and locked the place down.


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