Book 06: Chapter 02

The Peter Kirk Heist


GM: Justin
Transcribed by: Bradford
Date: July 25, 2021
In Game date: May 03, 2012
Episode: 34 (109)

Part 01: Jack Youngblood

DFA_ECR_Log_0602_01.pngWhen we realized that the notes weren’t at Trevor Radcliffe’s Mc-mansion, we reconvened at my house. It has seen better days after sustaining a full frontal assault by a rogue Venatori Umbrorum kill team. My friend Bruno was rebuilding it, but the process was slow going. The entrance was still covered in plastic, but my basement lab had survived the siege and was perfect for our needs.

Fergus and I sat down as Virgil came in with a cardboard box. Fergus looked exhausted.

“You get into a fight?” I asked.

Fergus shook his head back to wakefulness, “Baby duty.”

“Congratulations .” Virgil said, looking over his shoulder while arranging a few chalkboards next to each other.

“Thanks.” Fergus responded. I smiled, but the statement got to me.

That bastard Azael had kidnapped my kid. I would tear through heaven, earth and everything in-between to get her back. I fumed with rage…

Virgil’s voice brought me back to reality.

“That reminds me, I saw a gift for the newborn.”

“Oh yeah?” Fergus said.

“It’s a onsie that says, ‘luck of the Irish’” Virgil said.

Fergus laughed. Maybe it was the laughter or the look on Fergus’ face. His family had also been through hell. He deserved every minute he had with his kid.

“We going to get started?” I asked, trying to get my brain back to reality.

“Shortly.” Virgil said, turning to Fergus “Electronics off.”

Fergus kept his distance from me as he and Virgil put their phones and whatever into a lead-lined bag. Wizards and technology don’t mix, so we had to make sure. Fergus put the bag in the corner of the room as soon as they were done.

Virgil finished setting up, pulling a table in front of him.

“Seal us in, Warden.” He said, ready.

I moved to the ritual circle wrought into my floor and with a single thought created an invisible barrier. The circle would break any connection to outside magics and prevent any magic from getting in or out. No one would be able to magically observe us by conventional means inside the sealed circle.

With the circle protecting us, I sat back down as Virgil sat on the edge of the table he had pulled up. I looked at the chalkboards he had gathered for the first time and blinked my eyes to make sure I was seeing straight.

I grew up with Virgil née Wyatt Avila when the two of us were misspent youths. We had fun times and caused mischief together. But Wyatt was the brains of our circles. The guy who always had a plan, the guy who knew how to get things from concert tickets to fake IDs. I always thought he would go far. Maybe be another Grizzly or William West.

But where I found my way to magic, Wyatt stayed in the game. The day he turned 18, he moved away from Seattle without much more than a word to anyone in his family or his friends. Even I had no idea what had happened to him. All he had told me was that he wanted to find his own way.

As a result, aside from helping him return a book he had stolen last month, I had never seen him ”work” in almost a decade.

The chalkboards were covered in layers of meticulous research. The whole thing looked like a cross between a football strategy for winning the Superbowl and one of Roy’s old murder-boards. Photographs, numbered lists, notes, maps, paths, and some blueprints of the Peter Kirk Building lay before us. Each one looked carefully marked up and cataloged with names, dates, guard routs, and other details he must have gotten from somewhere else or deduced himself.

Virgil looked at it with a look of disappointment.

“Unfortunately, this is all I have. But it is better than nothing, given the circumstances.”

“How the hell did you get all of that?” Fergus asked, also impressed.

“It’s what I do. I also had a full team at the time.”

Virgil looked to the chalkboards and waved at it.

“When Black Monday wrecked the Seattle area, it trashed the entire metro area. As a result, Radcliffe and other industrialists picked up contracts to rebuild. That was the perfect time to do prep for jobs. I spent an entire summer copying blueprints and ‘inspecting’ construction sites all over the Sound. We got a dozen jobs out of it and some huge scores.“

“Then why the disappointment?” I asked, “This looks like more than we could ever need.”

“Because this information is old and I haven’t had a chance to update it. Take it with a grain of salt.”

“Shouldn’t it be mostly the same?” Fergus asked.

“I’ve already robbed this building once before using this information. Radcliffe would have updated his security. Plus, he has had some morale problems recently after that little tussle near Mount Rainer.”

Virgil was referring to when the The Pack went up against Radcliffe’s goons in the woods. The werewolves had lost two people, but they had taken a dozen of the soldiers with them and put several more in the hospital. After that the Radcliffe forces encountered Nôž Hladu – The Knife of Hunger. The Knife was known throughout the supernatural community as one of the deadliest assassins on the planet. The Radcliffe troops, nearly a full platoon of soldiers well trained and heavily armed and armored, were slaughtered. For an encore Nôž Hladu then killed 5 more of The Pack’s wolves. Despite their reputation, it seemed that The Pack was no longer top of the food chain in Seattle.

Virgil pointed to some architectural photos, “One of the first things Radcliffe bought was the Peter Kirk Building. It used to be a two-story brick-and-mortar affair. On the Registry of Historic Places. After the quake, the sonofabitch expanded it vertically and gave himself an office on the top floor. Twelve stories of Bellevue 2.0”

I sighed, “Like we need another Bellevue.”

“So, you broke in here before?”Fergus asked. “How’d you do it? What are we facing?”

“The office in question is on the top floor, so there were three layers of security.”

Virgil pointed to photos of some security guards near a reception desk.

“The first is mortal security. Together with a modern electronic security system, that alone deters would be criminals and most supernatural enemies.”

“The guards tough?” I asked, “I don’t want to fight with mortals.”

“Neither do I. They were Rent-a-cops directly employed by Radcliffe before, but with his personnel problems that has probably changed.”

“How’d you get past them before?” I asked.

“My team used a combination of cons to thin out their numbers. We swapped some time sheets around so one guy didn’t show up for work that night and the guy at the front pulled an unexpected double, falling asleep at his post. We also ensured one of the guards had car trouble on the freeway and that another came down with a case of food poisoning. Poor dears called in sick, but all they got on the other end of the phone was me.”

“Nice.” Fergus said, clearly impressed.

“Then I had one of my guys go downstairs to the security room and pull an Ella Fitzgerald on the cameras.”

“Ella Fitzgerald?” I asked. Virgil used a lot of Con Artist slang.

“The Speed thing. Looped the camera footage.”

“Can you do that again?”

“As long as they haven’t ripped wires out of the walls or converted to IP Cameras. All we need is a few small box-PCs or direct access to the console for fifteen minutes. But that’s just the first layer.”

Virgil pointed to other parts of the building.

“Radcliffe’s office is accessible by elevator or stairs with a keypad lock. We hacked it last time, but a code would work just as well.”
“I can glamour myself with a guard’s face. Look over his shoulder.” Fergus said.

“That’ll work too. “ Virgil said, “But that’s just the mundane security.”

I thought for a second and sighed, “He had wards on his warehouse in Bellevue. Of course, he would have magic on his office. How bad?”

“Lucky for us, the relationship between electronic security and magic is still antagonistic. When one is high, the other has to be low. High tech means low magic and vice-versa.”

“The wards on the office are only on when the building is locked up and the computers are off?“

“Correct.” Virgil confirmed.

“What kind of wards?” I asked.

“A twofer. The first is Air Magic. Trip it and it creates a force barrier using all the air and light inside the room. Turns it into an inescapable pitch-black vacuum. Then, it summons demons on retainer just to spite you.”

I rolled my eyes sarcastically. “Is that all?…”

“Radcliffe doesn’t trust maid services, so he has some Unseen Servants. Air Constructs that are invisible and silent. They keep the room clean, but they also attack intruders.”

“What can an air construct possibly do?” Fergus asked.

“In this case, turn into clouds of poison gas, lighting or, some kind of corrosive substance I think.”

“Jesus. How do we get past that?”

Virgil pulled a deck of cards out of his pocket. Several in fact. As he fanned them out like a Vegas dealer, I could see that some were regular playing cards, but others were business cards the same size and shape as playing cards. Some were blank white cards with runes or sigils drawn on them. Others had images hand-drawn or painted on them.

Virgil held up one card that looked like a custom tarot card or something. It was black with something like a black hole on it that read, “The Abyss” in stylized lettering.

“With my Kleptomancy, I can steal magic within an area. With enough effort I can make an entire area inhospitable to magic.”

“Like the Un-Man I said, remembering the visage of that thing.

“Nowhere near that powerful or with as few morals. In this case, last time I did it to Radcliffe’s entire office. Together with some enchanted items, I was able to get past the wards.”

“How are we going to do it this time, then?” I asked.

“Fergus, I understand you have the ability to get places?”

“I have been known to appear out of nowhere from time to time.” The Greenman beamed.

“You’re our greaseman and getaway. I can try to setup a backup, but we need to get as far away as possible when the job is done.”

“Done.” Fergus said, smiling.

I looked to Virgil and cut him off as soon as he turned to me, “I’m the Wizard, I’ll handle the wards. You handle the electronics.”

Virgil smiled, “I was about to say…Mizz Einar made those wards, right?”

I thought for a second and snapped my fingers, “Maybe she has a charm to get us past.”

Virgil then turned serious, “Before we do anything else, we need to talk to the client and go to the target building.”

“How are we going to case the place?” Fergus asked, getting into the groove of the heist.

“The easiest way to get somewhere you are not supposed to be is to have a legitimate reason for being there…and we need to take some pictures.”

I picked up on his thinking, “They did add an observation deck on the roof. Best view in Kirkland.”

Part 02: Fergus Mac Cormaic

DFA_ECR_Log_0602_02.1.pngAs soon as we were out of our roundtable, I walked outside, turned my phone back on. I called Anna and told her how much I loved her. This job was dangerous and I didn’t want anything to happen to her or our child.

Then, I called Grizzly. We needed a tech expert.

“Hey Grizz, it’s Fergus.” I said.

“What’s up, Ferg?” Grizzly said, “You need help with the stag party?”

I bit my lip. Friday was only four days away. There were so many other plans hovering in the air that together with baby duty, I knew something would fall through cracks.

“That is also something that needs doing, but I need something else. We got a job for a good cause.”

“Oh yeah?”

“How do you feel about Trevor Radcliffe?”

Grizzly grumbled on the other end of the line, “That waste of air…you need some support?”

“Some legwork. Can you get into the system at the Peter Kirk building?”

Grizz exhaled and I heard the loud typing of his mechanical keyboard, “The place isn’t on the web. No can do. Sorry.”

“You ever been there?”

“Physically? I won’t do anything less-than-legal on site.”

“I wouldn’t ever ask you to. Could you at least look? We could use a second opinion on their security system. I’ll buy you lunch.”

“Sure. Meet you there.”

An hour later, the Peter Kirk building loomed over us as we parked across the street. The bottom floor’s historic brick contrasted with a bullshit block of glass and metal office stacked on top of it. Trevor Radcliffe had taken what must have been a beautiful building and made it an eyesore.

“I hate it already.” I said, looking over at my companions.

Jack drove us in his old-school Korean War-era jeep, one of the only things that runs with his magic. As he moved to get out, Virgil held up a hand and stopped him.

“You should stay here, Wizard of the White Council.” Virgil said. That little phrase seemed to tell Jack everything he needed to know.

“Radcliffe’s guys will probably know me on-sight.” Jack said, “If I hear anything I’ll cause a distraction.”

Virgil and Jack traded a handshake from earlier times, both ready to go in what must have been an old rhythm from long ago. Virgil reached into the back of the jeep and pulled out a camera for me.

Grizz parked down from us and walked up to Virgil. Virgil caught his eye and smiled.

“Good to see you, Grizz.” We both said to Grizzly.

Grizz looked at Virgil as he greeted him. Until Virgil said something, he didn’t recognize him.

Virgil was disguised with a Hollywood prosthetic nose, but other than that was dressed…unremarkable. I have never seen someone dressed so boring. Off-the-rack T-Shirt, ball cap, and khaki shorts didn’t physically change his appearance much, but the way he held himself was different. He was just a tourist, looking to get some photos.

Virgil handed me a camera, “You ready?”

I took the camera and used my power to glamour myself. Where once was Fergus was now a South Korean lady in a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops. I’m not sure if Virgil was impressed or jealous of my glamour, but I do know it was a lot better than his “disguise”.

“Show off.” Virgil said, “Take photos of all the guards, entrances, and camera placement. Try to look inconspicuous.”

Grizz looked at Virgil knowingly, “What do you need me to do?”

“Legal things. Tell us what you see and nothing more. Anything you can help with beyond that is appreciated.” Virgil said.

The three of us walked into the Peter Kirk building’s front entrance, a pair of double doors leading to a reception area. I checked around the area as best I could, not sure what to look for. There was a front desk, but instead of a receptionist, there was a security guard. There were a few security guards around and they stood out to me as a clothing designer. The uniforms were tailored and had Trevor Radcliffe’s stylized “R” logo on them but were otherwise without markings. No nametags. Odd.

The receptionist nodded to us as we walked to a public elevator. There was another elevator separate from the rest, obviously for the rest of the building. I looked up to the security cameras and saw…cameras.

I caught a glance of Virgil and wondered if he had that Wizard’s Sight or something. He was reading the whole room, his eyes darting around and taking in who knows what. All the while he was smiling and looked…like a tourist. If I hadn’t been looking for it, I would never have noticed Virgil subtly tapping a button on the camera around his neck, taking photos like he was shooting a gun at the hip.

This continued as we went into the elevator and went up to the observation deck. It was an amazing view. Too bad we had to spend it casing the place.

After a while, we managed to find a corner to pretend to hang out and talk. Grizzly leaned over the railing and whispered to us.

“They haven’t upgraded to IP cameras. They’re using an older system. It will be recorded on site.”

“We’ll have to go downstairs,” Virgil said, taking photos of the building like some artistic photographer.

“The guards look weird.” I said, “Tailored uniforms with no name tags.”

“They’re new.” Virgil confirmed.

“No name tags, no accountability.” Grizz said.

“Doesn’t matter.” Virgil said, “I know these guys.”

“Pinkertons?” Jack asked when we got back to the car.

Virgil took off his fake nose and neatened himself up.

“They are a subsidiary of a shell, but those guards are definitely Pinkertons.”

“I thought the Pinkertons were detectives or something.” I said, “Strikebreakers, right?”

“Decades ago, yes. The Pinkertons got bought out by some Swedes. These days they are less detectives and more private military company.”

“What does that mean for us?” I asked.

“They’re professionals.” Virgil said, “Ex-cops and ex-military making six-figure salaries, benefits, and stock options. That means that they can’t be bribed, and any opposition will be met with extreme violence with probably submachineguns.”

“They have machine guns?”

“Private security company. Pinkertons have absolutely no chill.”

I noticed Jack staring ahead of us towards a collection of dark SUVs parked by the building. The cars were clearly Pinkerton cars. Or at least I hoped they were when Jack reached his hand out and worked magical power towards them.

“I hate Pinkertons…” Jack seethed as he let out what looked like a hex towards the cars.

Small trails of smoke emerged from the cars. Not enough to indicate fire, but enough to know Jack had hexed the cars into useless blocks of metal.

Jack looked towards Virgil, who stood staring at his friend’s work with a grin.

“Want to wait around to watch the fun?” Jack asked.

“That’s a good idea actually.” I said, “I got an idea for when one of the unlucky ones comes around for shift change.”

A few hours later, I got back to Jack’s car just in time to see the building closing for the night. Virgil seemed to be used to long hours of waiting with plenty of snacks, water, and a book for reading. As I got into the back, I saw Virgil talking to Jack.

“Tell me, Jack. Is astral projection a thing?” Virgil asked.

“For the hundredth time, I don’t know.” Jack said.

“But you’re one of the wise. You’re supposed to know about magic.”

“Look it up.”

“Have you been picking his brain about magic this whole time?” I asked.

“Yup.” Virgil confirmed.

“I am not giving out secrets to magic to a professional thief.”

“Former professional thief, mister kettle…”

I got the feeling this kind of thing was going to go on…but then something did.

“Guy’s coming out.” I said, pointing towards the front entrance.

An unassuming man I previously saw sitting behind the desk made his way outside in civvie clothes. If we didn’t know who we were looking for, he would have looked like just another person walking out of the building.

The Pinkerton Receptionist made his way to his car and clicked his key fob. But instead of a chirp, the car was completely silent. We watched in silence as the guard checked the car, finding it completely dead. He struggled in confusion as he tried everything as he tried to start the car to no avail.

Jack laughed at the guard, “I could watch this all day.”

“That’s my cue.” I said.

I got out of the jeep, jugged across the street faster than these guards could ever run, caught the door just before it fully closed, and slipped into the lobby. Between moments, I used my glamour and put on the look and sound of the guard who just left.

I walked past the new receptionist, another no-nonsense type, but he looked straight at me.

“Didn’t you just leave?” The receptionist guard asked. These guys seemed genetically suspicious of everyone.

With my supernatural speed, I was able to take the situation in fast enough that he didn’t notice my hesitation. The elevator down had a keypad lock. I didn’t know the code.

I made a show of patting down my pockets, not finding something.

“I forgot my keys in my locker. Can you take me downstairs?”

“You have your own code. Use it.”

“Can anyone remember their code?” I said, taking a guess, “I’ll watch the desk if you can check for me.”

The guard capitulated and stood up. “Stay here.”

As soon as he turned his back on in, I used my glamour to veil myself in a cloak of light. As he went into the elevator, I followed right behind him.

Receptionist guy entered his code into the keypad and the elevator started to move. Eight digit code. My guess was right.

The elevator opened to the security room in the basement, blocked off by another door with a keypad lock. Behind the door was an AV room with a pair of guards watching rows of monitors linked to a dozen security cameras.

“Did you see anything weird outside?” The Receptionist asked.

I took the opportunity to photograph everything. It would look like it was through a funhouse mirror when it got developed, but no one noticed a thing.

“Some guy outside having car trouble.” One of the guards said.

We had parked far enough away that they couldn’t see us, but the cameras covered everything around the building and the adjacent street. Among the coverage was the guy I was impersonating outside, trying to start his car, and failing.

“That idiot!” The receptionist guard said and stormed out of the room. I followed invisibly behind him.

As the receptionist walked back to his station, I slipped out the front door, completely unnoticed. I walked right past the growing scene of the angry guards at their dead cars, made my way back to Jack’s jeep, and unveiled.

“You got it?” Jack asked.

“Yup.” I confirmed, “Eight fucking digits.”

“That long, It’ll change weekly, so we have some time.” Virgil confirmed.

I sat back down in the back of the car and watched the scene unfold. Every attempt at reviving the cars didn’t work, bringing out a laugh from Jack.

Eventually, another guard in a slightly different uniform showed up and stepped out to give the struggling guard a jump start. The sight of this bald man seemed to perk Virgil up.

“Ah…David.” Virgil said.

“You recognize him?” I asked, curious.

Virgil reached into his folder of files and pulled out a printout with the guard’s face on it.

“Shift supervisor.” Virgil said, “West Point grad from Boston. Never married. Speaks very tersely. No sense of humor even over what few drinks he has.”

“Sounds like you really know this guy.” I said.

“I had a drink with him once. Tried to butter him up but it didn’t work. Although…he is perfect for a false face.”

Part 03: Virgil Gugasian

DFA_ECR_Log_0602_03.pngWe went our separate ways after Fergus got back. Fergus needed to get the film developed and get back to baby duty while Jack and I went to the Four Seasons to talk to Lucy.

The concierge checked us in and directed us to a reserved table at the restaurant.

“There are no prices on here,” Jack said, scrutinizing the menu.

“It is that kind of place,” I said as I sat down.

“What the hell.” Jack said, calling the waiter over, “Put this on mizz Einar’s tab. I’ll have the Filet Mignon and the 17-year-old McKellan’s.”

“Right away, sir.” The waiter said, turning to me.

“Just appetizers and fizzy water for me,” I said, handing him our menus. Jack looked at me incredulously.

“Come on, Virge. She’s paying. Live a little.”

“It pays to be polite to a client,” I said, insisting.

“Whatever. She’s not paying us. I’ll get whatever I can from her for a job this dangerous.”

Lucy Einar-Smith arrived a few minutes later. Where others would have seen a beautiful woman, I saw the truth. A trained Wizard living in the shadow of her father. She was quite cute, but her appearance was secondary to her great intelligence. I like smart people.

I nodded in her direction as she sat, “Miss Einar.”

“That’s Dr. Einar-Smith, Mister Gugasin.” She said, clearly with long practice. She didn’t meet my gaze and I didn’t dare try to look her in the eye. I knew that a soul gaze from her was likely to be powerful enough to give me a stroke.

“You two know each other?” Jack said, looking between us.

“He might call us ‘professional rivals’ of a sort. I wouldn’t.” Lucy confirmed.

“Rivals no more. I am out of the game and you are my client.” I said, keeping it professional I put down one of my business cards ”Let me know if you’d ever like a consult.”

“You had questions?” Lucy asked. She didn’t take my card, not that she would need it.

As I considered what to ask her and how to ask her, I thought about what I knew about Lucy. She was a Wizard of the White Council in good standing from an old magic family. Her family had a reputation of being meticulous and were very well versed in insulating themselves.

I made an educated guess and decided how I was going to play it.

“The notes you mentioned, “ I said, “How extensive are they? How big?”

“A bound collection of over one hundred pages. Not something easily copied or substituted.”

“So, Lorem Ipsum and a few fake figures wouldn’t pass muster?”


“Do you have any similar notes? Anything that might…survive a cursory glance?”

“I prefer you retrieve everything in the safe that you are able.” Lucy confirmed, “Radcliffe keeps more in his safe than just research notes.”

“That is wise,” I said, picking up what she was putting down.

The waiters brought out our food and Jack began eating like an uncultured barbarian. I ate like a gentleman, making very little mess and cleaning up immediately. It was one of the few things that my parents drilled into me that still stuck even after years away. It also didn’t help that several members of my family were going to be at the party on Friday, so I knew I had to practice.

“Enjoy whatever you like,” Lucy confirmed as Jack dug in.

“The wards.” Jack asked, “You designed them?”

“I am known to…design wards.” Lucy said. I noticed a subtle twitch as she responded.

“You a fan of summoning wards?” I asked.

“Not my style.” Lucy replied, “If a system has wards like that, I did not install them nor had any involvement in retaining the services of any of supernatural forces involved.“

“Anyone you can recommend for something like that?” I asked.

“Not recommend, but The Patient One is known for such things and has a history with Radcliffe,” Lucy said, “You know of him.”

Shit. The Patient One was bad news.

“Could you get us past wards that you put up?” Jack asked brazenly. He obviously didn’t get the game we were playing.

Lucy winced slightly.

“I cannot give out information on any magic I use for a client’s security or how to circumvent them. Do you understand Exactly What I Am Saying?” Lucy said.

“What I think the good Doctor is trying to say, Jack is that she has made Promises.” I said, emphasizing the word.

In the supernatural world, promises and oaths had meaning. Contracts were binding and sometimes written in blood. In the case of Wizards, swearing an oath on one’s power gave it actual teeth for the wizard making it. I didn’t fully understand it as non-wizard, but breaking a Promise sworn on one’s power I knew meant permanent damage to one’s Talent.

“I’m sorry,” Jack said, understanding, “I would never ask you to break a Promise.”

“Is there anything you can tell us about wards that might aid us?” I asked, “Anything that wouldn’t break any sworn Promises.”

Lucy smiled and beamed. She reached under her seat and pulled out a file folder of notes. She handed it to Jack, who opened the folder to a collection of charts and writings.

“This is a primer on wards and warding magic. This should help update your security.” Lucy said.

Part 04: Jack Youngblood

DFA_ECR_Log_0602_04.pngWe reconvened in my basement lab Tuesday morning. I went over the notes while Virgil put more pieces of paper on the chalkboard. He looked to me and asked the million-dollar question.

“Did she give you garbage?” Virgil asked.

I smiled. “She gave me the notes on a broken warding system. It does not work, It could never work. The broken sections are so obvious that anyone with a formal education in the basics of warding could fix them within 15 minutes. If the wards that Radcliffe used are anything like a fixed version, with this I should be able to make a charm that will allow us to bypass it.

“It’ll have to work.” Virgil said as he finished his setup.

I sealed us in, and we discussed our plans. Mostly, it was an hour of Virgil suggesting something in Con Artist jargon and me telling him how it wouldn’t work or was too complicated. His plans varied from tricking Radcliffe into giving the contents of the safe willingly(too vague) and manipulating law enforcement to raid his office (way too risky), to setting fire to the office itself so we could go in as firefighters(have no idea how we’d do that) or welding the safe shut so that Radcliffe had to hire a professional to crack the safe open.

Sometimes, Virgil thought way too much…

“We could organize a protest, that would distract the guards easily.” Virgil suggested.

“Let’s just break in and out really quick. Use veils and break the wards when needed. No muss, no fuss.” I said with an air of finality. I kept circling back to keeping it simple.

“Fine.” Virgil surrendered, “We’ll do a hard/soft probe with false faces.”

“I still don’t know what that means.”

Virgil sighed and thought, “We sneak in with disguises and if we beat somebody up only if we have to.”

He looked to Fergus.

“You’re a clothing guy, right?” Virgil asked.

“Understatement of the decade. What did you have in mind?”

“Can you reproduce the guard uniforms?”

“Give me a day, they’re tailored. “

“We go in wearing the uniforms as a last layer of insulation. We’re already using another guard’s code, so an alarm goes off and we get spotted we can just say we came in on the wrong shift. Ideally, we wait until the reinforcements show up, walk out and blend in with the other guards.”

I perked up, “And since we’re using a guard’s code, they’ll think it was an inside job.”

“What about the safe itself?” Fergus asked, “Can you crack it?”

Virgil rattled off a specific model and serial number I didn’t catch and said, “…I went to the manufacturer and talked to the craftsman who made this safe personally a year or so ago. I know this safe.”

“So we’re doing this tomorrow night?” I asked. We had a plan.

“Tomorrow night.” Virgil said.

I consulted with my Father’s spirit and spent a day and a half with the notes kitbashing a charm for the wards. Based on the theories in the notes, the charm I ended up with was a small key carved from wood. In theory, it would prevent the wards from seeing me and anyone standing next to me.

If it failed, we were in deep shit.

Part 05: Fergus Mac Cormaic

DFA_ECR_Log_0602_05.pngFor the next day, I carved out some time between diaper changes to work on the uniforms. Virgil got some amazing shots of the important parts, so the process was totally within my abilities. As the getaway guy, I went to the Peter Kirk park down the road from the building and found just the right tree.

From one of the tree’s smaller branches, I made a small Greenman and placed it under the tree. I could use this anchor to home in on this place on our way out. When I was ready, I went to the meeting point on the edge of the park. We got into the uniforms and got ourselves ready for a heist.

Virgil was stuffing his uniform pockets with all sorts of small tools wrapped in black fabric, muffling everything. The material seemed to have a nice sheen and be smooth and wrinkle-free.

“Where’d you get that material?” I asked.

“I know people.” Virgil said, “I’ll hook you up.”

“Thanks. You get that getaway car you wanted?” I asked Virgil. He look dejected.

“Oldest car I could find in a day was from 1994. Nothing Jack’s magic wouldn’t murder in moments when we have to run.”

“Then let’s not get caught.” I said.

We waited until nightfall and set up across the street from the Peter Kirk Building in a blind spot I noticed. Jack and Virgil kept an eye on the door as a guard walked into the building with coffee for the office. I veiled myself and followed the coffee guy all the way in. The guards were professional, but not prepared for a faerie veil.

I followed coffee guy all the way downstairs. No one noticed me as the coffee was handed out. When coffee guy left, I unveiled and glamoured myself to look like David the West Pointer and walked into the surveillance room.

I had practiced replicating the shift super’s face and voice, but the Boston accent was tough.

“Spot check.” I said in my best Boston, “Everybody take fifteen.”

The guards turned around, surprised to see appear out of nowhere, but clearly recognized me.

“That’s against procedure. We’re not allowed to leave our posts at the same time.” One of the guards said.

I grumbled, “So is that coffee. You know you are not supposed to have food and drink in here. Take off!”

The guards didn’t budge, so I upped the ante.

“If you want to sit around with your dicks out while I do the check that is on you.”

The guards got the message and left me alone in the surveillance room. I followed the instructions that Grizz gave me and looped the footage on every feed starting from fifteen minutes before I entered. In theory, the feeds should fool the guards for at least an hour.

When I finished, I went back upstairs as the manager. Maybe I could get the receptionist to take a smoke break or something.

I exited the elevator and noticed the other two guards from the room go on some rounds. The guard at the reception looked to me confused.

“I don’t remember you coming in…” The receptionist said.

“Old ahrmee trick” I said in my best Boston.

The receptionist guard narrowed his eyes, “Please verify 15827?”

When I didn’t answer, there was an awkward silence. Then the guard went for his gun.


I moved with inhuman speed and leaped over the front desk. My movement surprised the guard so bad he fumbled and dropped his pistol instead of drawing it. As he reached for the panic button, I grabbed him and got him into a sleeper hold.

I looked around quickly. No other guards, but this guy knew how to wrestle.

In the corner of my eye, I saw Virgil walk up to the locked door and open it with tools in one hand. How the hell did he pick it that fast? Virgil opened the door and stepped to the side for Jack who raised a hand and released magic on us. Sound disappeared as the silence spell took hold. I could hear my own heartbeat and the beat of the guard, but nothing else.

We didn’t have time for a fight, so I drew on my Wyld Power and my eyes glowed green as I squeezed the sleeper hold. The only way I could tell I wasn’t breaking his neck was when I felt his struggling stop and his breathing slow.

The receptionist guard fell to the ground limply. Virgil grabbed him and dragged up under the front desk, a roll of duct tape already in hand. The silence spell faded and a stood up. I used my glamour to disguise myself as the receptionist just as the two guards making rounds came back. Jack got ready to make a move, but I held out a hand to stop him.

The pair on patrol came right up to me.

“Where’s the super?” The guy in front asked.

“Finished his ‘spot check’ and left.” I said, perfectly mimicking the receptionist’s voice.

“That asshole.” The other guard responded, “Him and his spot checks.”

“I hear ya.”

The guards went to the elevator, hit the button and the doors closed. Only when it was clear they went down did I exhale.

“Don’t relax,” Virgil whispered as he hogtied the receptionist with duct tape, “Now we’re committed.”

Virgil took the guard’s pistol, disassembled it, and put the pieces into different desk drawers. Jack dragged the guard into the backroom and left him there.

Jack looked to me. “You stay here unless you hear something.”

“I’ll listen for explosions.” I said.

Part 06: Jack Youngblood

DFA_ECR_Log_0602_06.pngI got into the elevator with Virgil and hugged the backwall as I slowed my heart rate down. If I stayed too amped up, I could kill this elevator with my magic. I did not want to get stuck in an elevator in this place.

The doors closed and Virgil leaned over.

“It’s alright man. We’re still good.” Virgil said as he patted me on the shoulder.

Virgil’s touch must have included some of that kleptomancy he uses because in addition to be comforting, some of the psychic static around me cleared away. It helped get me back into the present.

“You hit the button.” I said.

Virgil entered the passcode we got from the guard and pushed a button. I didn’t react until the elevator started moving. I stood up straight and readied the charm I had made along with my Warden’s Sword, the enchanted silver blade my father and grandfather carried before me. The sword shouldn’t be necessary, but I never went into trouble without it.

“That code is getting somebody fired.” I said, trying to break my own tension.

“Worse than that. They think Super Dave is in on it too, both of them get fired.”

“Fuck all those Pinkertons…”

“The charm ready?” Virgil asked. He didn’t seemed worried, just checking.

“Yeah.” I said holding up the key I had carved from wood, “Just stay close.”

“Roger that.” Virgil said, “If an alarm goes off, we go loud and run as fast as we can.”

“What if we run out of time with the safe?”

“We rip it out of the wall. Die Hard the floor.”

The elevator stopped and the doors opened to a reception area for the office of Trevor Radcliffe. With the lights on low, it was dim throughout. Not only was the Peter Kirk building on the outside, this office was bland as hell. Just a desk and the Radcliffe “R” right above it in gaudy lettering.

We snuck up to the locked door to Radcliffe’s office and I held a hand up for Virgil to stay back. It didn’t have a keypad. Instead, it had an old-fashioned lock on it.

“You check the wards when you cased the place?” I asked.

“I could sense them under my feet on the roof, but you’re stronger than me.” Virgil admitted, keeping a lookout.

I placed my hand flat on the door and reached out with my wizard’s senses. I could feel the power of the wards on the office. Subtle and precise power reaching through the door, the walls and floor. Based on Lucy’s notes, they felt exactly how I expected.

I took the charm with my other hand and pressed it against the door, against the wards. I focused on the the energy I had worked into the object and began to align it with the wards in the room. After a moment of aligning the energy, I released it and felt a bubble of invisible energy encompass me and Virgil. I also felt the wards recognize the energy and react how I expected, by doing nothing.

“We’re good.” I said and remembered an important detail, “Stay close to me.”

Virgil already had his tools out as I moved aside. He picked the lock much slower than the lock on the front door.

“Hurry up.” I said.

“Patience is a virtue…”

The door lock clicked and Virgil opened the door. We peaked our heads in and looked around.

I guess I was expecting more. It was an office with some leather couches, a big desk, a conference table with a computer on it and a few framed paintings hanging on bland walls above a wool carpet. The room was dim and empty as we entered. I guess I expected a lame portrait of Radcliffe or something at least.

The two of us entered cautiously one step at a time. I checked the charm.

“The charm works, we are invisible.” I confirmed, “Where’s the safe?”

“Behind the Monet knock-off.” Virgil said, indicating a painting on the wall.

“What about the Unseen Servants?” I said, remembering the last line of defense.

“They should be tied into the room’s wards. What works for one will work for both.” Virgil said, “Let’s go.”

That realization got me to relax a little. I looked to Virgil as we walked slowly across the room, making sure the charm kept us hidden from the wards.

“You took your sweet time on that lock,” I said, “You losing your touch?”

Then, I got stabbed by an invisible knife. I guess the charm didn’t work on the Unseen Servants…

Part 07: Virgil Gugasian

DFA_ECR_Log_0602_07.pngThis heist was my second time breaking into the Peter Kirk Building, but my third time robbing Trevor Radcliffe and his Syndicate specifically. The first time was a few years ago. I remember because during the heist I caught a catnap during the stakeout. I slept long enough for one nightmare.

A lot of people had nightmares that night. Everyone in the world with any magical talent who was asleep that night in fact. I learned later that the Paranet called it, “The Night of Bad Dreams”. It was supposedly the night the entire Red Court of Vampires died to some magical ritual. The magical equivalent to a nuclear weapon, I guess. The fallout was bad dreams.

I don’t remember my nightmare. It’s a blank spot in my memory. I do remember being woken up in a flop sweat. It opened my eyes. The heist that night went to shit because I started seeing things. I put pieces together I didn’t notice before. I knew that magic and the supernatural was absolutely real.

I discovered the Paranet and discovered my unusual Talent. Kleptomancy. The practice of stealing energy, particularly magic, and redirecting it. Not a full-blown Wizard thing, but it was enough to open up new avenues for me.

It also gave me heavy resistance to Magic and any kind of magical construct. A passive armor that encased me. When the Unseen Servant stabbed me, it was probably the only thing that saved me.

The Servants hit without warning. Silent and invisible just like last time, but in a shape that felt sharp and pointy. I had gotten stabbed as a kid in the old circles and didn’t relish repeating the experience. A knife hurts going in, coming out and all the time in between. When I felt magical energy in the shape, I pushed back as much as I dare, forcing whatever it was away. I felt two of them in fact and a third that must have been going for Jack.

I forced some of my energy out, trying to disrupt the constructs. But there was one problem.

“These aren’t constructs…” I said, a moment too late.

Jack held them off better than me by activating one of his focus objects, creating a shield around him that held off the invisible knives just barely. The Warden spoke a word that I missed and sent out a flash of power that passed over the shape that tried to kill him.

The magic illuminated one of the shapes before us like one of the invisible man movies when the title character gets electrocuted or something. The shape was still invisible, but now more Predator-like than completely transparent. It was vaguely humanoid and featureless. Instead of hands, it had a blade of some kind.

“They’re not Outsiders. Magic seems to work.” Jack said.

I panicked. We did not have time to deal with this shit.

“Just blast ‘em!” I shouted. I pulled out one of my magic cards and tossed it at the illuminated servant.

The card stuck in the air and adhered to the Servant. The card absorbed the magical energy of Jack’s spell and gave it more of an anchor. It gave him a clearer target to aim at.

Jack Youngblood raised his hand and I saw my friend’s battle magic for the first time.

“Spiritus Agon!” Jack shouted and sent a blast of Elemental Spirit magic into the entire room.

I had met Wardens before, mostly over a drink or on the other side of the table while being questioned. I had observed them using magic to take down a warlock once. It was quick, dirty, and efficient. I had read some reports about Jack’s magic. His “Battleship Laser Spell” was infamous in some circles.

Jack’s evocation was bigger than anything I had seen before. A firehose of concentrated spiritual energy.

The beam of spirit energy was blinding for a moment, giving me after images from the flash. The Unseen Somethings screamed? Howled? Not sure, but they seemed to not like that. The spirit blast also made the room shake and blew out one of the back windows, cracking another. The Unseen Whatever-they-were?, Servant 2.0s? Assassins? were still up and tried to stab us again. But I was no longer helpless or unarmed.

One of the main techniques I used through Kleptomancy was the ability to mimic spells in my immediate vicinity. I had copied spells in the past that had been blasted at me and most that I had only observed. I had a deck of these stolen spells on playing cards and Jack’s Spirit Cannon joined that collection. At least for the next few minutes. I could only hold the spell in mind for that long.

As Jack had cast the spell, I observed the power as he worked it. I felt how the spell would look in my head.

I raised my own hand and aimed at the Unseen Knifers.

“Spiritus Agon!” I shouted, copying Jack’s voice and posture as closely as I could.

My blast was not as potent as Jack’s. Where the warden worked power like a master fencer worked an epee, I worked the magic like I was swinging a baseball bat.

I did blow out the other back window though as the room shook again. The blast knocked paintings off the wall and would have made the security alarm go off if not for the warble that ensued instead.

“Holy shit!” Jack said, looking at me with surprise.

“It’s what I do…” I replied and dodged another invisible knife.

The Unseen Bastards were staggered, but…

I think those Evocations had caught Fergus’ attention because he appeared in mid-air with a spear in his hands. Fergus landed like a superhero, forcing his spear through the Unseen Foe before me. Somehow, not only did he stick the landing, Fergus also landed within the charm’s radius. Saving our lives.

The Fightin’ Irishman’s eyes glowed green as he engaged them with an angry rumbling voice, “Who wants some next?”

I continued with another blast and Jack threw out another spell I couldn’t see. Meanwhile, Fergus made us look out of shape by doing some MMA with hands faster than any boxer with a strength I can only imagine.

Fergus punched one Spectral Monster and then grabbed another around what I think was its neck and body slammed it against the floor. The move reminded me of pro-wrestlers, but the force made the room shake again, knocking the last painting off the wall and the computer monitor off the desk behind us.

Between the three of us, we laid the pain out on the Unseen and sent two of them tumbling to the ground. They weren’t quite dead, but I think they got the message.

We stood there a moment waiting for the next round of attacks, but instead I sensed them open a Way and retreat from us.

“They went into the deep Never.” Jack said, “Safe. Safe…Safe!”

I picked up my bag and ran with Jack to the safe in back. Jack went first and stabbed the safe with his Warden’s sword. We knew the safe itself had a ward of its own on it, but Jack’s sword was special. A Warden’s silver sword could unravel spells and magical enchantments. If it weren’t for the amount of security features and how conspicuous they were, I’d want one. They would be great in a pinch.

Jack took a look at the safe and moved away. “Ward’s down. Do your other thing, Virgil.”

Pulling out two stethoscopes, I began work on the safe in the most “don’t try this at home” way possible. Don’t ask how I cracked the safe because I won’t tell anyone. Trade secret.

The safe opened and I saw it was full. I checked what was in there, but only for any further booby traps. Between the three of us and Fergus having the fastest hands I’d ever seen, we made short work of the haul. To obscure the heist’s intended target and because a modern Robin Hood can’t help himself, I had us take as much as we could carry. We got everything in the safe as well as every painting in the room. Most of them were knockoffs, the cheap bastard. One of them I could tell was not.

When we heard sirens out the now destroyed windows, I looked to Fergus.

“That’s your cue.” I said.

Fergus dropped a small wooden man on the floor, grabbed the two of us and…moved. I felt the atmosphere change for a few seconds and then gravity came back.

I looked up and saw that we were back in Peter Kirk Park, a few blocks from the building. We were so far way, there was no way anyone could see us. We were in the clear. We all finally let out sighs of relief.

I took the opportunity to inspect our haul. Jack looked over to me.

“I thought you said they were constructs.”

“They were.” I insisted, “The Patient One must have upgraded them.”

“That slimy fucker.” Fergus said, his eyes still glowed green, though they were dimming as he finally calmed down.

The Patient One’s involvement in the Sebassis incidents had put him on my bounty list. So, I couldn’t help but speak truthfully on the matter. Must have also been the geas.

“I don’t like violence and I don’t do killing, but I think I’d make an exception for the Patient One…and Barry Goldman because he killed kids…in fact, the murder of more than a few outstanding bounties I know of would make me sleep well at night.”

I finished my inventory and looked up to see Jack and Fergus looking at me. I had meant what I said.

“What do we have?” Jack asked.

I pulled things out one by one. First, a wad of cash.

“A golden parachute fund.” I said, placing it on the table, “Must be at least a hundred grand. Enough to buy a house or something.”

I pulled out a file folder. I checked the files in it.

Walsh Green Construction Company? Looks like some notes on a few sites in progress, some dates soon, and some gang names…”

Jack leaned over and started looking through the papers. He smiled gleefully.

“This is incriminating. This could bury Radcliffe.” Jack said.

“Luckily, we know a few attorneys and people who can get it out there.” Fergus said, “But that doesn’t look like a book.”

“Nope.” I said, holding up the next item. It was an envelope. Inside were various film negatives. I pulled out a magnifying glass and looked at them one at a time. Jack looked over my shoulder and used some magic to create a small illusion of the negative’s image on the wall like a projector.

The negatives were photos of two beautiful women in pants suits. They were eating meals and holding hands in a familiar way. I recognized both women immediately.

“That’s Lucy Einar.” Fergus said, “Our client. She’s sitting with…”

“Delilah Montague” I said, “Local enforcer of the White Court.”

Jack nodded to the negatives, “Lucy lied to us. She wanted blackmail material.”

I held up the last item we took from the safe. It was a small notepad with handwriting on it, as though someone was taking dictation.

I read the words out loud, “’Quote Would store them with the same care as she would treasures of her lady UnQuote Odianna”.

The tension in the room was palpable. Fergus broke the silence.

“What does that mean?”

I considered what we had and made an educated guess.

“Three possibilities.” I said, “One, Lucy lied to us, she really wanted the kompromat Radcliffe had on her and this note means nothing.”

“And a few others by the look of it.” Jack said, continuing to look through the files, “A promise from a faerie never means nothing.”

“Two, Lucy was telling the truth but was wrong about where the book was. This note might mean that Odianna of Winter is keeping it under safekeeping for Radcliffe.”

Jack gulped at the implication. “Makes sense. What’s the third option?”

I looked at Jack and Fergus seriously, “Regardless of Lucy’s truthfulness or complicity, there are no notes on Sebassis. But that would mean that Odianna has promised to keep something for Radcliffe and we have no idea what it is…”



Book 06: Chapter 02

Dresden Files Accelerated: Emerald City: Requiem Lanodantheon