A Very Special Episode of Welcome to the PoBoMet, introducing magician and private dick Milo Something-Or-Other-Beginning-With-O. When a worried couple put Milo on the case of their missing son Gerald, the trail leads to the secret cult of vampire Élet Itató – not to mention Gerald’s blood-drained corpse. The parents want revenge and are willing to pay cold, hard cred. Just so happens that our favourite runner team is at a loose end.
Also, the fight with the vampire and his cronies was possibly the most anti-climactic thing I’ve ever run.
Milo and the Vampire Writeup provided by Crimson
The ringing of her comlink wakes Crimson from her dreams. She is instantly alert and reaches for the ‘link. 02:33 is displayed in cool blue numbers in the top right-hand corner. Only two people generally call this hour of the night. Her sister, Jess, with another emergency and Arthur, drunk again, or perhaps still, inviting her to come round to whatever watering hole or sleaze-ridden pit he was currently occupying.
Crimson’s money is on Arthur as Jess seemed to have settled in nicely with Steve and things were going well there.
She is not disappointed as she recognises Arthur’s caller ID and checks the piece of duct tape she has stuck over the camera is in place before answering. Even with instructions for audio calls only, her ‘link mysteriously switched to video mode at the most inconvenient times. She recalls with a shudder the time she had unthinkingly answered one of Arthur’s calls after leaving the shower. The look on the dwarf’s face had almost been worth the embarrassment and she had managed to cancel the video feed before Arthur recovered enough to find the RECORD button. She had had the thing checked over by Arthur, Colara and Jeff. None of whom could discover the reason behind the machine’s odd quirks and pronounced it clean.
Only briefly does she consider rejecting the call. After all, he might one day genuinely need her help and she would never forgive herself if she missed that call and something happened to her friend.
“Answer.” She tells the commlink. “Hello Arthur” she addresses the person at the other end “to what do I owe the pleasure this time?”
“Crimson? That you love? Your video feed’s not working” his Scottish drawl was slurred.
“That’s intentional. I am in bed, you know. Normal people tend to sleep this time of night.”
“Bed? Yeah, I know. Was hoping your vid was on the fritz again.”
“What do you want, Arthur?” Crimson asks wearily now she knows Arthur is safe.
“Oh, right. You need to come over to the Disc…”
“I’ve told you…”
“No. Got a job, so swing your sweet ass over here, so you can talk to this guy… Here what’s your name again?” he yells at someone.
“Milo. That’s his name. Milo. He’s got a private dick” Arthur chuckles at his own joke “I mean, he is a private dick and he needs some help, getting rid of some vampires or something. Just call the others and get that hot bod of yours over here. I’ll be waiting.”
The dwarf disconnects the call and leaves Crimson to mull over what she has heard. A job would be quite welcome. They had not had one for over a month, she had lost her first fight for nearly a year and had split up with her boyfriend.
She calls up the numbers for her cousin Koh and the orc gunslinger Shandor. She also tries Jeff, their hacker but he shows up as unavailable.
Koh is less than pleased to be woken up, while Shandor takes it in her stride. Not much seems to ruffle the gun-toting adept’s feathers. Come to think of it, it takes quite a bit to annoy Koh. For some reason, a call from Crimson always gets under her skin. Family rivalries.
She calms down quickly enough, though, when Crimson tells them that they had a job and agrees to pick her cousin up from her apartment on the waterfront.
Fifteen minutes later, Crimson is dressed and hears Koh’s car approaching. She heads outside, waving at the security guard on the way out. He was quite new and Crimson has only spoke to him briefly. She thought his name was Scott or something. What she does know was that he was good-looking. Maybe her break-up with Herman has a silver lining.
She is still thinking about what might be when Koh pulls up and Crimson climbs into her cousin’s battered car. The atmosphere is frosty as it always was between the two, but mild insults are usually as bad as it gets.
They talk little as Koh drives them to Arthur’s favourite haunt, the Crashed Disc in Boscombe. The neon-lit establishment is mostly empty apart from a few die-hard regulars, one of whom recognises Crimson and quickly places his expensive electronics in an anti-static container to prevent her peculiar bad luck with machines to spread to his.
Koh spots Arthur in a corner with Shandor and a human Crimson guesses must be Milo.
She appraises the PI. He is human, not bad-looking in a rumpled sort of way. His short hair and long coat look like they had been slept in. Many times. With distaste, she also notices that he has a large number of empty whisky glasses in front of him. Arthur has found a soul mate.
Koh, Shandor and Crimson sit down opposite Milo and Arthur and Koh introduces first herself, the Crimson and Shandor.
“Arthur says you need help with a job.” She says, the pleasantries out of the way.
“Yeah, right” he says in a slightly northern accent “there’s this kid, his parents hired me to look into his disappearance. Turns out he’s been sucked dry by a vampire and his parents want retribution.”
“What’s it pay?” Koh wants to know.
“Dunno” he shrugs “never got round to negotiating that bit.”
“How about we sort this vampire or vampires out and then bill them accordingly?” Crimson suggests.
The detective looks at her, then nods “Sounds sensible. I trailed it to a place in the barrens. I suggest we head over there sometime tomorrow, when we’ve got daylight on our side.”
“That also sounds good” Crimson agrees “how about we meet there at 10? Unless there’s anything else, I’ll head back to bed. No you can’t come.” The last is directed at Arthur who was about to say something, then slumps back, a little sulkily.
“10 it is” Milo confirms the time “I’ll send the coordinates over and we’ll meet a little down the way.”
“See you then.” Crimson stands up, followed by Koh and the two elves leave the Crashed Disc.
The next morning the runners assemble near the address Milo gave them in the Canford Barrens. Arthur grumbles about the ungodly hour of the morning but follows the other four as they make their way to what turns out to be an old community hall.
Milo briefly peeks into the astral before pronouncing the place clear. “There’s a basement with a ward over it. Can’t get into there.” He cautions.
The hall is quickly searched, as it comprises of a meeting hall and a store room in the back. Koh has been inspecting a ledger on a lectern at the front of the stage. She suddenly laughs out loud. “This you gotta see” she waves the others over.
Peering at the ledger, Koh slowly turns the pages for everyone to read. When they have read a few of them, Crimson looks up at her cousin “Are these guys for real? Nobody’s that stupid.”
“I dunno. They sound pretty dumb from their vampire fanboy melodrama. Listen to this: ‘found food for the master’; dated the day your kid went missing” she shows Milo the entry.
“Yeah but to schedule your meetings in here…” Crimson says incredulously “surely not.”
“One way of finding out” Milo tells her “they got one tonight by the look of things. At Midnight. Of course at midnight.”
“Guess we’ll reconvene here then in that case and see if these idiots are for real.” Crimson suggests “How come we keep running into morons? First the Gentlemen, the Ragers weren’t too sharp and the less said about the Hitler-Stalins, the better. Now these guys. Easy money though, I guess. See you all here at half eleven?”
The rest of the group nods and murmurs their assent and they depart for their various homes again.
Around eleven Crimson heads back to the Barrens to hook up with the others, already waiting there.
“We good to go?” she asks.
Nods all round.
“So how about Koh and I sneak in through the back and you guys come on in when we know we’ve got all of them in there?”
“Sounds ok. Milo and I can keep watch in the astral and let you know what’s happening.” Arthur adds.
“Good. Let’s head out.” Crimson says and does just that with Koh in tow.
Around twenty minutes later Arthur’s voice comes over the commlink “We’ve got six guys inbound, they’re ever so slightly active on the astral. Can’t see the big bad yet. They’re heading inside.”
“Thanks. Let’s go.” Crimson whispers ay Koh.
The two elves cautiously open the back door and creep to the stage’s back entrance. No sooner have they arrived when Arthur reports back. “Think the vampire’s in. A big cloud of astral mist just came out of that basement we couldn’t get into and has taken place on the stage.”
He has just finished his report when Crimson hears a deep voice from the stage “Our guests have arrived. Slay them my minions.”
“Acolytes” a nasal voice objects.
“Whatever” the vampire replies and casts a spell. Crimson can feel his mind trying to fill hers with dread but the feeling lasts only a short while as she resists his mind control. Koh seems a little more shaken but pulls out two sharpened pieces of wood before opening the door and hurling them at the vampire on the stage with deadly accuracy. They both find their target unerringly and the vampire has time for one scream before collapsing to the floor, quite dead.
Crimson calmly walks into the room and addresses the stunned cultists. “I suggest that you drop your weapons and surrender” she says sweetly.
The six humans look at her, then their dead leader, then at Koh and drop their weapons.
At this point Shandor bursts through the front door to find all of her targets with their hands in the air. “Was that it?” she asks disgustedly.
“Looks like” Crimson says “let’s truss these guys up and call the cops. Then we can have a word with Milo’s clients and see how much revenge is worth.”
Milo does as she suggests, calling first the police, then sending his clients a picture of the deceased vampire who killed their son.
“30,000 nuquid” he says after hanging up.
Arthur whistles “Not too bad, 6Ks each for a day’s work. You can call us in more often” he tells the detective.
“And we’ll give you a bell if we need a hand” Crimson adds “you’re a useful guy to know.”
“No worries. See you then” Milo shrugs and heads into the night as the noise of sirens approaches.
“Sounds like that’s our cue to split, as well” Crimson says and the four do exactly that.