The Case Of The Curious Case

The Case of the Curious Case

The Beginning


9:00PM, Wednesday Night. A few calls were made, a few connections hit. In the end, it came back to the files on his desk marked DF001BP-T and DF002DR. He grunts, reaching one hand back to scratch his neck. "I'm going to regret this." He mutters to himself the moment before Benedicte and David are shown in to the Draco Foundation's private Conference Room. Sam has a selection of drinks laid out. Nothing, for a change, alcoholic. A few cans of soda and huge pot of coffee. "Come in. Sit down. I have a job for the both of you." Re: For log

Benedicte steps into the room, in her usual pant suit and heels, looking professional and icy as ever. She looks across the room, over to Samuel, before giving a single nod and heading for the coffee. She scoops up a coffee mug and pours herself out a tall mug before turning upon the ball of her foot and heading for the offered seat. Her eyes finally turn back to David, but just for a heartbeat. She says nothing.

Mr. Pink (or, as Samuel has obviously somehow ascertained, Mr. Richfield) arrives. If there's a gun check downstairs, he'll be relieved of his trusty Ares Predator without complaint. When he arrives, a look is given to Mr. Clemens, a single brow arched upward. "Your boss," he says, after a moment, "is Nadja Daviar." That, for some reason, seems a bit remarkable to the mage.

Samuel shrugs. "I do consulting for a large variety of firms. I never speak as to who directly hires me, but surely, nothing the Vice President of the United Canadian and American states and executor of Dunklezhan's will would ever personally know about. Such a thing is ludicris." The tone and stacatto pace of his vocal inflection is clear to be ironic mockery of every 'plausable deniability' statement ever given.

Benedicte cannot help but smirk, just a touch, as Samuel gives his statement. She finds this entire thing as amusing as she does curious, but she lets the men talk it out. She's here to work. So, while they are waiting for the assignment, she sips her coffee and settles casually into her chair.

"You'll have to forgive me if this wasn't what I expected when I asked you for a job. I am not, of course, complaining…" David shakes his head, slowly, and heads over toward the coffee himself, pours a cup, black, and leans rather than sits. "I assume, from the assembled company, that your problem is magical in some way?"

"Possible." Says Samuel as he sits forward. "And no, this may not be what you expected when you asked for work…" A pause as he reaches to tap a button on the tabletop, engaging a holographic display embedded within… "But that is the nature of life. Very few people ever think they work for Sader-Krupp, after all. Now, On to business."

The display sparkles to life, an antique case coming in to focus, rotating in space. It's wooden, maybe a deep mahagony or ebony. Brass fittings are riveted at the corners and for handles. It looks, with the scroll work etched in to the wood and brass, victorian era perhaps.

"This is a case last seen in Chicago, circa 2055. It was in the possession of a used book dealer. It was resumed lost in the Cermak Blast of 55. However, recently it has resurfaced in the private collection of Mr. Juan Delgado of New Orleans, CAS. Mr. Delgado is an Aztlan Citizen and enjoys the hospitality of an elderly socialite in the Garden District." A pause.

"I want this case and its contents."

"What I hate about runs like this," David remarks, "Is that very few people tell you what's -in- the case. Which leads to us acquiring a case and the incorrect contents, if one wants to get pessimistic. How much information do we have on this case, its contents, its owner, and his…associate?" Pink raises his cup, sips from it slowly.

Benedicte leans over, examining the display and the seeming case a bit closer. She frowns to herself, considering the information, but David manages to ask the questions before she does. She nods in quiet agreement, looking back from the dispay to both of the men.

"What is in the case is fairly unimportant. We do not have any indication it has been opened, or that Mr. Delgado is capable of opening the case." He exhales. "There are various safe-guards built in to the case to prevent laymen from accessing it. AS to the case, thats need to know. AS to Mr. Delgado, he is a known former employee of Aztechnologies magical research division. HE left the company in 2064, taking residence in Chicago for a short time. Last year, he traveled to New Orleans where he entered the company of Suzanna DuValle of the Louisiana DuValles. SHe is aged approximately 70 years and has long maintained an unhealthy attraction for cults of mystery and magic, despite having know known magical ability of her own."

«Auto-Judge[]» David (#9863) rolls Magical Threats for "Have I heard of it?":
1 2 3 4 5 10
«OOC» Benedicte lets david stay first in pose order, on a side note
«Plot» Samuel says, " David is rolling magical threats for information related to Aztechnologies RnD division. AS it turns out, Aztechnology is known for its cutting edge magic, but it comes at a price. Rumors of blood magic, ritual sacrifice and other such unsavory things are the staples of Aztechnology. Only, its known in magical circles that they are not rumors."

"Mmn." David heads in close, leaning over to peer at the case closely, but nothing about it strikes him as particularly remarkable, nothing he remembers. "If he was still working openly for Aztechnology, I'd say this might be a bit out of our league, but if he's a -former- employee, he won't have a lot of -overt- help, at least. Still, when you deal with someone employed by a corp like that, you'd better bank on him having…well, let's just say there are things even I won't do for power that are encouraged in certain circles. We should definitely be fully prepared for a conflict with superior and deadly forces before we piss this guy off. -No- conflict would be best, but, well. Not always easy."

Benedicte frowns a bit, though she nods in approval at David's knowledge of American magical companies. She takes a sip of her coffee, "No, hopefully we can get in and out without being noticed. The question is… does -he- know what is in the case that he would be keeping it very strongly guarded or… is it an antique that we might be able to get without too much issue?" Bene's eyes turn up to Samuel as she asks that question, still letting no expression betray her face but business and the simple want to work.

"I have reason to believe he knows that it is valuable, but not necessarily what is inside it. AS all boxes that cannot be opened that are old, there is speculation as to the contents, ranging from the Russian Crown Jewels to Prince Albert's erotica collection."

"And likely extending further, to fourth-world artifacts or or a text on how to take blood magic to the next level of horror." David shakes his head, slowly, and straightens. "Even if we had confirmed intel that he thought he just had a pretty-looking puzzlebox, we'd have to assume that he knows exactly what's in it, and that whatever it is could make Chicago or Chernobyl look like a pimpled Stuffer Shack wageslave calling for a cleanup on aisle five. If the Foundation is involved, it's probably not small or unimportant, even if it appears to be from beginning to end. So we assume he's loaded for bear, we assume somewhere between six and…oh, I wouldn't guess more than thirty spirit guardians. And more likely somewhere in the six to a dozen range. Any time you hear the word 'cult', you can assume a smattering of underpowered undereducated zealots willing to toss themselves into the line of fire and burn out for their cause. Do we know if Mr. Delgado practices the Hermetic or Shamanic traditions? Or something more…esoteric?"

Benedicte nods in agreement to David's words, "Yes… those are the safest assumptions to make. At least it will give us a place to start preparations." And then she falls quiet again, David asking the next logical question. It was good, he was younger. Proving himself intelligent after the last few encounters… well, she's content to listen.

Samuel listens to David describe a small army. He raises an eyebrow, settling back and letting the younger man churn over the possibilities. He glances to Benedicte, then back to David. "If it were that thick, the job would not have been farmed out to me. They'd have sent Assets Inc and Ryan Mercury. That said, I do not intend this is a walk in the park, or I'd just go steal the book myself and pocket the money." A pause as he reaches for his own cup of coffee. He taps the table again, and the box rezzes out, replaced by a middle aged native looking man with a hawk, hooked nose and almost flatish features. Very Olmec/Aztek. "Mr. DelGado's magical inclinations, by record, run in to the area of Shamanistic. He is reportedly an initiate of respectable grade. He typicaly finds a wealthy patron and lives with them for a year, maybe two, sucking away as much as he can before moving on."

"Pessimism is survival, Mr. Clemens. Locked boxes don't have nice things in them, so you assume the worst: the Draco Foundation -thinks- they know what's in the case, but they do not -absolutely- know, that I know of. So they may be wrong. Between your wife and I, we could likely hold a dozen or more spirits; I have no reason to believe your targets don't have a group of mages working for them, probably not of high power, as powerful mages don't make good followers, but still. The number of thirty spirits is not outside the realm of possibility."

"The best news is that magical groups tend toward a single tradition when possible, and if your friend is a Shaman, we will know exactly what to expect based on the terrain surrounding the house. Spirits of Sky, City, and Men are most likely, I doubt even the Garden District has enough trees to host Forest spirits. New Orleans hosts some very powerful Lake spirits, I'd wager, as well as River spirits and Swamp spirits, but we shouldn't run into any of those at the house…presuming he's -keeping- it at the house."

"Anyway, none of those spirits will stand up to a powerful Earth elemental physically, so we'll want any actual conflict to occur on the physical plane rather than the astral. Maximizing our advantages over his knowledge of the terrain and his specific preparation is important. The problem is, he might -not- be keeping the case at the house, which means nonlethal force will be required for our two targets most likely to be in 'charge'." When Pink speaks, he doesn't stop looking at the projection of the case, instead focusing on it utterly, as if memorizing its every line and curve.

Benedicte furrows her brow, just a hint. She shakes her head towards him. "I think Mr. Clemens is right in the matter that if he had that many resources we… we would not be sent on this alone. But, conversely," Her eyes tilt back to Samuel, "It is always better safe than sorry. Pink and I will take all precautions possible."

Samuel nods succinctly. "The collection of Mr. Delgado, when it is displayed, is usually in the home of his current patron. When it is not, it is kept in a Connistoga Trailblazer big rig, filling the entirety of a 44 foot commercial trailer. The truck is currently quartered in Baton Rouge, approximately 60 miles up river. Ms. DuValles estate is a 5 story remodeled and upgraded garden district home, akin to a New York Brownstown. Long, deep, but not terribly wide."

"Wait," David says, holding up a hand. "He -moves- this thing around, on a schedule we can predict by knowing when he's going to -display- it? That's something you might have mentioned -first-, Mr. Clemens. Shamans are -classically- weak when on the move - he'll have to summon new spirits on the fly for the terrain he's in. We hit him on the road. It was demonstrated to me recently -precisely- how easy setting up a roadblock is with an Earth available. We hit hard and fast. While he's on the road we'll be able to know exactly how much force he has with him, he'll be out of reach of easy reinforcements, and we neutralize his home field advantage. We don't have to search a dangerous unknown building; we've got forty-four feet worth of trailer that has been made -quite- conveniently mobile. We drop three concurrent Stunballs on the cab, use an Earth to keep the truck from going off the road by stopping it as carefully as it can, and then we neutralize the rest of the guards…and drive it away." He gives a shrug, looks over his shoulder. David peers at Benedicte for a few moments. "Unless you've got a better plan hatching?"

Samuel quirks a brow. "No. He is not projected to be moving it for at least the next few months. He is ensconced with Mrs. Duvalle."

Benedicte actually allows a half smile to touch her lips. "I am resisting the horrible temptation to simply steal the truck. But then, nothing is ever that simple. I think it will be easier to get to it in the truck than when on display so… we go to where he has it quartered, we fight his defenses. In and out. We do it fast and hope he doesn't have time to build a better response." Bene states simply, taking another good gulp of her coffee once the statements are through.

You say "In case I was not clear; When he moves from patron to patron, the truck is used. Not before or after. The collection is displayed in the home of his patron. Do you understand?""

Benedicte ahhs quietly. "Sorry. I thought it was in storage."

"We could wait." David's suggestion has the sound of something that sounds obvious to him. "Or, we could make sure that he displays it earlier. For what reasons does he typically display the case? What kind of exhibition inspires the pride of one Mr. Delgado? Museums, magical conferences? Private, small groups…like a magical cult wanting to see his toy? We could fake any of them, especially if the Draco Foundation were willing to use a dummy corporation. I'm sure it has holdings that could easily fake something like that. Or Ms. Benedicte and I could pose as interested parties. What makes him bring his toys out in the open? What's his next exhibition, in the next 'few months'?"

Benedicte shakes her head at the comment of waiting, "If we could wait, I am certain the assignment wouldn't have been given. And… from what Mr. Clemens has said, he has it on display -as we speak-, in her home. It's already out… No doubt guarded, but out."

"Displayed somewhere we don't want to attack," David says, patiently. "What will make him bring it out and display it -elsewhere-, is what I want to know."

Samuel nods to Benedicte. "This is exactly correct. It is currently on display, the vehicle used to transport it is some distance away. It's currently on display in New Orleans, the Garden District, in the library of Mrs. Savannah DuValle. It is guarded in the way of valuble homes everywhere. I might suggest, however, a different route than home-invasion. It's on display for a reason, a rational. Mr. Delgado is a narcissist who supports his lifestyle via the largesse of others."

Benedicte frowns a touch, looking between the two men as she follows both lines of thinking and, yet, doesn't entirely see them crossing. Of course, she's worked with Samuel longer. "Mr. Pink, I am not certain that… he will be moving it. Though your initial idea of posing as those interested… well, why not? It will get us into the space. We can get it there without actually invading the home. We would be invited in."

"So we offer him a better deal than what he's getting from DuValle. Money, comfort, fame in a new city." A sideways glance at Benedicte, and David adds, "And perhaps a more -interesting- bit of hospitality. I would wager that whatever direction Delgado's physical tastes run, your wife or I would be more to his liking than an old woman. Powerful rogue mages are not known for restraint on their hedonism. We buy him dinner, we flirt with him, we offer him money, fame, sex, power, and he brings his entire collection to display in -our- estate in…whatever city we know he's never been to. Unless the two of you insist that it's better to attack a mage and his guards in their home base, rather than try some subterfuge to lure them out. An invasion it might not be, but they will be -watching- their assets closely, and they will have defenses set up to, as Mr. Clemens said, prevent someone from simply walking in and stealing it."

Samuel settles back in his chair, watching David now. As david lays out the possibilities, Samuel is silent, not nodding or otherwise swaying David's line of thought. This is why he's hiring other people; they can do the legwork with the goal achieved however they choose. "It's not outside the realm of possibility. It would certainly be… something I would suspect were I in his position. A conman preys on confidence. Finding a target, wooing them and convincing -them-. When someoen comes to -you-… its likely a con."

Benedicte frowns a touch more at David's words, sitting back in her seat and actually thinking this through. She shakes her head, finally. "No. He will also know we are a threat. He has his pattern. The old, the easy targets. I do not think he will trust us. But -she- will." Bene then looks up, her eyes going a bit wider as they light upon both of the men. "Two of the techniques I specialize in are controlling minds and emotions. He will be guarded. I highly doubt she will be. We wait until he is out… and we get -her- to show the collection off. To sell it to us. He'll never know what hit him."

"You think -he- hasn't controlled her mind already? You'd be fighting against his magic, when he's already got her giving away her money to him. I still believe that a con man can be conned if you know he's a con - you exploit his greed, his pride, and you succeed by being less prideful and less greedy. Any con will tell you that an honest mark is an impossible mark." Pink's arms come up, cross over his chest. "But all right. You obviously, Mr. Clemens, have a very specific way you want things done. -Tell- us how the Draco Foundation wants us to work, and we'll follow orders."

Samuel raises an eyebrow. "David." he says simply. "I don't care how you go about it, in all frankness. But since you are discussing your options with me, I am offering you my feedback and understanding, as I assume that is why you are going over your tactical data with me. I am offering 175,000 dollars to each of you of you for the completion of the mission, but again, so long as you return hale and hearty, with the case as desired… I do not care."

Benedicte looks back to David with that same, serious look. "I think that it is the easiest, simplist way, and if we find her mind guarded then we will change tactics. But it does not hurt to try the simple way first, and then we can do flashier things. As Mr. Clemens says… we will just get the job done." She turns her eyes back to Samuel and nods curtly, "I accept, at least. If Mr. Pink accepts to work with me, that is his choice."

"So the plan is, go in, try something that has a very low chance of actually working based on probabilities of what an unethical mage -actually- does…and then improvise a smash-and-grab as plan B…and that wins over the much less violent, less prone to improvisational tactic which has been discarded because Mr. Clemens believes it impossible to con a con-man." Slowly shaking his head, David huffs out a sigh. "Thirty-five thousand 'yen, minus conversion charges. To go to New Orleans and run what is basically a smash-and-grab against a perhaps heavily guarded compound of one or more possible blood magi. Denver's a city full of inflated job rates, Mr. Clemens. The Draco Foundation obviously doesn't believe in competitive pricing. However, there are other advantages which make me inclined to accept this job, provided that the Foundation arranges for transport and border crossings, to and from, and covers basic boarding costs along the way."

Samuel quirks a brow, leaning forward on his elbows. "David." He says simply, his tone not being disrespectful in the least, but very candid all the same… "I did not say impossible, I said I would suspect it. As it is, I always suspect my wallet will be stolen, but last week I lost 30 dollars on the Maglev when someone -did- manage to pick my pocket. You are very ego-driven, and thats good to a degree. However, do not use your ego to script my part in our little drama as it unfolds. Do not assume my critiques are hard and fast rules unless I say they are. In this case, he's a conman. I would be wary, as a conman, of anyone trying to con me. Does that mean I would be invulnerable? No. Just that my first response would be to suspect. YOur first counter should then be to -allay- his suspicions-."

"Mr. Clemens. I asked if you would cover our transportation fees." David's head cocks to one side, then, awaiting further reply.

Benedicte stands quietly, "You gentlemen can hash out the dealings. Contact me when we, or I, am ready to leave, depending on what you both decide. I will take the case with a partner or without." She states simply, not sitting here for debating with their employer.

A change in personnel;

Samuel settles back in a chair, some coffee on the conference table, a few pastries still on a plate. "Sorry to call you in Alex… I know you were watching 'Lets Make a Deal With Your Life', and you love that show…" He says, sitting forward, reaching for his coffee mug . "But I've had to shuffle out Bene's support on a quick jaunt down to New Orleans. You up for a fun distraction?"
Benedicte gives a bit of a smile, a coffee cup in hand. She's in her usual black suit, looking sleek and professional as ever, though just a hint more comfortable as she lingers resting back in her seat. "Hello, Alex." She bows her head casually to the man.

Minos says "Depends. What's going on? I was looking at your bit on some sort of case, but I confess to not reading it in detail; the quarterly report on security at the Topeka facilities is a bitch and a half to get through." He smiles at Benedicte, looking, as usual, completely underdressed. "And you know, as for the show tonight—the Kenyan was TOTALLY going to win, I hate you for making me leave it in the middle.""

Samuel smirks, biting in to a danish. "Totally. And yeah…" He pushes a file twords Minos. "Standard thing. Mysterious case, not really sure whats inside, but the late great scaled one, wants it back. Hard to open, no ones figured out how, in the possession of a former Aztechnology Company Mage. He left th ecompany a few years back, odd in itself, but now makes a living attaching himself to various wealthy widows and passes himself off as a spiritual guru of sorts."

Minos says "Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Sounds like a social job to me, couldn't've been that high of a priority but you never know, especially with former Aztecs. What've you done so far?" Minos looks to Benedicte primarily.

Benedicte shakes her head quietly, "nothing, really. My own fault. David… anyway, there were disagreements as to how to approach this. I'd like to get into the town, see what research and intel we can get there… then wait until he's out and see if we can get into the Widow's head. If he's got defenses around her, though… then we come at it from another angle. Mainly need to see what we're dealing with first, and best to do that locally."

Minos says "So, this case is in the hands of a widow he's staying with?"

Benedicte says "It's in her house. On some sort of display. He likes to show his toys off for his… venerable lovers."

Samuel sips his coffee, letting the two field personnel handle the situation at hand. He busies himself file. "Yes. Juan Delgado, the man in question, keeps a small collection of rare books and quasi artifacts, its part of his 'charm'…"
Minos says "What a piece of work."

Minos shakes his head ruefully.

Benedicte chuckles slightly, "So… might be worth running a computer check on him and her. Do we have the name of his current paramour?"

Minos says "Well, I concur with Benedicte. I'd be along primarily for muscle and intimidation, if necessary, but primarily this is her job. I can sneak in if necessary, but from the sound of it the biggest problem won't be getting it, it'll be getting away with it once we have it."

Samuel answers… "Suzanna DuValle."

Benedicte nods, reaching for her copy of the case file. "That's right. I should really just read my notes. Is there a computer terminal I can access here, Mr. Clemens?" Bene asks formally, standing up if she can go to work.

Samuel nods, reaching under the table and pulling out a tablet-computer, otherwise known as the indispensable pocket secretary. You know, when SR was written, the poc-Sec was pretty hot shit. Now, its an oversized blackberry, so lets pretend its a full on laptop style small computer.

Minos pulls out his own uberblackberry and reads some files of his own, like the log of the last aborted attempt at this with David that I just saw online.

Fully annotated, even, with transcripted dialog.

Minos murmurs, "And I thought I was paranoid…" as he gets about half-way through.

Samuel says nothing, sipping his coffee.

Benedicte begins typing in, getting whatever notes she can on Suzanna DuValle and Juan Delgado. She scans things over, doing various link searches…

«Auto-Judge[]» Benedicte (#2965) rolls Intelligence vs TN 4:
1 2 3 5 8 10 11 = 4 Successes

Juan Delgado: Owner and operator (Until 67, when the NAN filed suit) of 'Medicine Man Teas', homeopathic remedies and curatives made with awakened roots and 100 Natural ingredients.

Owner of Mystic Sunrise LTD, a company specializing in.. Juan Delgado, a motivational speaker of occult platitudes. Tagline: Lets Awaken The Team Spirit In You."

Seen Socially on the arm of Candence Roberts of New York City prior to her death of complications from pnemonia. Left a sizable chunk of her estate to Juan, but its tied up in legal battles with her heirs.

Currently living in New Orleans, where he's 'displaying' his artifact collection as a 'fund raiser' for the 'House of the Risen Sun Charitiable Foundation'.

«OOC» Samuel got a little giggle typing that shit.

Benedicte chuckles faintly, "Alex…I'm sending information over to you but… this man seems a sham artist of the highest sorts." she begins to forward the bits and pieces of articles that she's getting in her search.


Recovering, Samuel sets his coffee down least he have to buy a new suit. Silk takes to coffee and sugar very poorly. "Anyway. Don't open the case, don't hurt the case, try to avoid killing anyone if -at all- possible." A pause to nod to Alex… "WIth you, I think fatalities are a remote chance in the first place. But otherwise, the case needs to be in 'safe' hands as soon as possible."

Minos grins. "And yes, I've heard some really twisted plans in here. But, after all, we do pay 'runners to be paranoid, so I can't entirely fault the man…though I prefer low-impact surveillance to assess the lay of the land. I don't go squirrel hunting with a Panther Assault Cannon and a Banshee because I assume the squirrel might well be a shapechanged great western dragon."

"No, you go squrrel hunting with a PAC and a Banshee because you -like it-." corrects Samuel. "I think this is in good hands, so if you'll excuse me, friends?"

Benedicte nods curtly, grinning to them both. "Of course. You ready to go tonight or in the morning, Alex? I've been ready to leave for days now." Bene admits, standing from the table.

Minos says "Sure thing. We'll do the research and get to work, this could be fun. We can leave right now; I'll pack my things properly. On the plane we can do some background research for cover stories. I think I heard about Mr. DelGado from a guy who used to be the doorman at Candence Roberts' old building who said that he might be able to do something in terms of turning me back into a human, because, well, you know, having a ten-inch cock and muscles that can lift small cars is a real drag compared to being a human."

Samuel reaches for a cigarette on his way out of the room. "It's not the size of the…" A pause. "Frag it. Size matters." With that, Samuel exits the room.

Onward to New Orleans

MSY. It's an odd designation for an airport named Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Sometimes, these things just don't make sense. Really.

It's hot. Its muggy. And there is no snow around. A hotel is easy enough to procure, it all depends on where you want to stay. THe Magical, party center of the city known as the French Quarter, the Techno-centric downtown areas or the more industrial refinery districts…

Benedicte looks across the various maps and areas before turning to Alex…"Downtown might be the best idea. I don't want to go near the magical area but the refinery districts probably won't afford us much information. Your thoughts?" She's been complete and utter business since they got on the airplane.

Minos says "All right, so, I'm thinking, the company's paying for it so we should stay at the Magical. In seperate rooms, mind you; I'm also getting another place in the Quantum Inn over in the seedy refinery part of town. Remember, you're a visiting socialite and would be at a nice fancy place; I'm the scummy minotaur who's saved his life savings to find a cure for his minotaur-hood; so I need to keep up appearances."

Minos says "Alternatively, we could pass me off as your bodyguard."

Benedicte considers that a few moments, "I suppose this is true. And if he's having the magical area watched, well… we just keep our cover." She gives him a half smile, "Well… you are still looking for a cure, but you're paying for the search by being my body guard, right?"

A cabbie, the kind of skummy cabbie you find in any tourist town, approaches the pair. He's a dwarf, so he approaches slow and low. "Hey, hey buddy! You! With the horns!" He says, gesturing over his shoulder with a thum. "You guise needa cab? I gotta cab. And trust me, brotha, you ain' gonna be fitten in no otha cabs roun' here."

Minos says "That could work, certainly. We'll get the deckers back home to gin up some quick identities for us, and especially a financial history for me, so that the mark can check up to see how much money I have put away. We want it to be tempting for him."

Minos looks at the dwarf and nods. "Sure, take us to the Magical, please." He holds the door open for Benedicte, putting their bags in the trunk, etcetera.

Benedicte remains quiet at his side, calm and composed, very much putting on the airs of a socialite who doesn't confer with the rubble. She lets Minos negotiate their cab fare and where they are going, she just watching the city as they travel.

The Vehicle the dwarf drives is basically, a converted schoolbus, the shortbus kind. Painted black, with a white/black checkerboard trim, it's capable of carrying up to 3 trolls or an assortment of smaller creatures. "You'sa biggi'n." A glance is given to Benedicte, but he doesn't directly address her. "So, to the French Quarter. You want La Masion Dupree. I getcha there quick."

Minos nods. "Thanks." He tips the driver well, and gets in the car. Whilst there, he sends off a few emails to the folks back at the DF, asking for the cover identities to be established.

The Dwarf muscles himself up in to the human sized seat to drive the vehicle. He's got a complex rig of stilts and reaching-sticks to hit things he could not normally could not. "So, yall ain' from round here." A glance is given in the rear view at the pair as they drive. "Uh… Ya'll mind me.. given a bit of advice to ya? I don' mean ta pry or nutthen."

Benedicte leans back in the vehicle, sitting as properly as she can in the bus. She gives the driver a bit of a cool smile before asking with some sort of girlish little breathlessness in her voice. "Tell me, do you know about a collection of rarities…." She then pauses as he offers some advice, her head tilting, "Oh?"
Minos says "Go right ahead."

He reaches up, using a grabby stick to change the perspective of the mirror so he can 'look' at you more closely. "Ah. Folks around here. It's a big city and all, but a few things still.. don't sit right with people, if you know what I mean."

Benedicte looks to Minos for a moment, not quite confused, but she's not entirely certain what the man is intimating.
Minos looks curious. "And what'd that be, sir?"

He exhales… "Y'all are from upriver, ah know… but… well, see, uh.. Used ta be, folk didn't much care for the blacks, then it was the mexicans… oh, sorry.. the -aztlanners-.. but since the breakup, folk around here don't generally care for the Ingintus or Robustus, if you follow. Mostly, things are cool, and nothen goes poor for no one… but some folk, well, Humanis runs strong an they don' much like a pretty lady like that with a fine gentleman like yerself…"

Minos says "I'm her bodyguard, not her boyfriend. I imagine there are a lot of us tame trogs around doing that sort of work, no?"

Benedicte states, with a good touch of feigned disgust in her voice. "Indeed. He is not -with- me, he is simply my servant."
"It ain't common, but it ain' rare." He admits.

He seems to take that at face value as he winds his way from the airport to the French Quarter… "Just don't expect to find much that fits a gentleman of your size. I gotta card. It's right there, behind my seat. You go ahead and take one."

Minos grabs the cabbie's card and says, "Much obliged, sir."

Benedicte nods a quiet thank you to the man, "Of course."

It doesn't take but a few minutes to pull in to the clearly historic French Quarter. It's unlike the rest of the city, no rubber stamp buildings, few corporate logos, narrow cobblestone streets and the spires of Saint Andrews Cathedral. It's a Catholic town, don'cha'know.

"HEre ya go. La Mas' Dupree, Folks…"
Benedicte nods a thanks, reaching into her case and paying for the cab ride with good tip before she swings her legs out. She lets Minos carry the bags, though she pauses on the street, leaning a hint closer to him to whisper. "You have our IDs?"
LMD appears to be a 3 story Colonial building with the classics one would expect, wrought iron, climbing ivy, beautiful stone work and a snooty attitude that says if you make the average CAS income… you don't belong here.

And yes, basic identifications have been wired down by the DF.

Minos says "Right here." He proceeds to do everything that is required to get them checked in with the right people, and gets up to the room with the bodyguard suite for Benedicte."

Minos says "So…" he says, "I also had the Foundation get you, Miss Sophia Loren, an invitation to the country club luncheon that our target's girlfriend tends to go to. I am thinking you and I should go there, make her acquaintence there, and get invited to her house, where you can meet her "spiritual adviser" or whatever she's calling him and move on with our plan from there. What do you think?"

Benedicte steps into the rooms, and immediately she begins astrally scanning it for any listening decides, bugs, or other strange things that shouldn't be there magically. She doesn't quite answer Alex until this is done.

«OOC» Samuel says, "Astral scanning would reveal watcher spirits or other such things, but not technolgical devices. On the astral, non-living all pretty much looks the same. Benedicte will notice the hotel is warded, simple level 2 wards that are pretty much perfunctory."

Benedicte relaxes a bit as she contents herself that there isn't anything astrally off, and then she goes searching the room for actual listening devices. Under tables, in door frames, near any electronics, any door knobs. She uses her hands more than her eyes. She nods towards Minos, though. "That works well. Though if we can get an invitation and manage to get her alone, all the better. We affect her mind, have her -sell- the case to us… and get out fast."

Minos says "Works for me, Benedicte; or I should say Ms. Loren. I leave the social and magical manipulations in your delicate hands. I'm mostly here to take out anyone who messes with us, after all. My dealing with him is a backup plan."

Benedicte nods in affirmation, "Of course. Now, if we have any local papers or information sources, it might be worth seeing what the area is saying about the lady and Mr. Delgado. Keep our ears to the ground before going in."
The hotel room itself is a simple 2 room suite + bathroom, though it is a rather nicely appointed place. The bathroom has a jaccuzi, the bed has plush comforters and the drapes? Velvet.

Minos says "Let's use the 'trix link to look up recent local news stories that might feature them, shall we?" He proceeds to do exactly that, running a search on the in-room computer."

Benedicte leans agaist the side of the chair in which Alex sits, now a bit more comfortable that they are out of side from the public. She rests one hand on his shoulder, looking at the screen. "Alex… I will apologize now for any disparaging remarks I make to you while we are out. With the information given… I do not think I should act overly fond of you.'

NOVA-OOGLE: Suzanna DuValle, New Orleans, Elderly bimbo; 230 results.

1: Recent Garden party arouses interest

2: DuValle family heirlooms spotted for auction in London

3: Suzanna DuValle, grande dame of the Occult or Crazy Heiress being bamboozeled?

Minos looks at Benedicte and says, "There's no need to apologize for being professional, Benedicte. I know you wouldn't do that to me in reality; what has to happen here is perfectly appropriate for our job. I think my presence may be a drawback, actually, but by the same token I'm not letting you go anywhere that might be dangerous naked. You're a hot-shit mage, but I know how to catch bullets, so ka?"

Minos clicks on all of 'em, you can give us a quick summary of stuff we don't know about yet.
Benedicte gives his shoulder a brief, warm squeeze. "I knew there was a reason I enjoyed working with you. But still, while we have a moment, I did want to apologize." She admits quietly before looking back to the screen and reading through the results.

Suzanna is 68 years old, a widower since a wave of VITAS managed to wipe out the survivors of her family back in 42. She is heir to a shipping fortune, made for 200 years, then recently sold to Gunderson Corporation of Miami back in 49. She's lived alone, but maintained a spinster image of socialite behaviors and grand parties.

She has recently taken on a paramour, according to the gossip rags, a man much her junior who fancies himself as a Shaman. Given that Natives are as rare as hens teeth in New Orleans, and local magic runs more to Loa and Houngan, theres not much competition for that niche of the skummy idiot market.

She maintains a large mansion in the Garden District and has a sprawling plantation about 20 miles outside of town.
Benedicte nods towards the searches. "We might as well run one for Juan Delgado while we're at it."
You already did that.

AP: New Orleans

Police were summoned to the DuValle Estate after the discovery of a young womans body in the swimming pool, following a late night party hosted by Mr. Juan Delgato. While no foul play was discovered, the police have labled the death suspicious.

Addendum, 2 weeks later, buried in a trix report: Girl found dead at DuValle estate ruled an overdose and accidental drowning.

Minos says "Hm. Not much on this girl; but then again we'd need a hardcore decker with local ties to get more data on it."
Indeed. the reports are not concerned with the girl, but the embarassment and gossip potential it provides.

Benedicte nods quietly. "Probably suspicious, but hopefully not related to what we're dealing with. Even if it is, I suspect we've got far better defenses than she did. Still… I'm tempted to check the place out in astral form. If I do, though, and he has actual sensors set up, it could clue him off, is all. Still, if I move fast, I might be able to get something. If you don't mind watching my body for a moment."

Minos looks at Benedicte and says, "Oh no. I have to watch your body. Whatever shall I do. Such a sacrifice, this job. All the unpleasant tasks go to me." He is being deadpan and incredibly sarcastic.

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