Deadlands Noir: Chicago Nights

The Beginning of the End
Edgar Yardland's Final Words

Chicago. A lot has happened in these few months since the infamous Black Christmas. There has been arson, murder, blackmailing, kidnapping, vices… And whole lot of more which is best kept silent about. However, it hasn’t been all bad. Chicago got her new golden boy in “Ragin’ Rex” Mclean. Unfortunately for him, and for all those in need of hope, The Breaker broke him. Ragin’ Rex lives, but not as a man, but as something else. Something more, something less. Did he ask for it? Nobody knows.

Something happened beneath the streets of Chicago, in the abandoned tunnels. It wasn’t as public as Ragin’ Bull vs. The Breaker, but not any less important. A notorious spiritual hazard, and important part of the Irish mob’s Dannerjack operation, Blackline was exorcised. Many brave soul didn’t make it back, and a wolf among the sheep was revealed. He is gone, for now.

The Irish have lost an important asset, and wise money bets on that they don’t let it go quietly. Forces of the Reckoning are out of sight, but not necessarily out of reach. The people of Chicago haven’t had it this good for a while, but this is just the calm before the storm. What is coming down will be dangerous. There will be casualties. I cannot ask any of you to join the fight, but I will defend my city. The people need us to keep their spirits up, and after all this is said and done, we need them to hope again.

I know we haven’t always agreed on everything, but this is a common cause for every one of us. Although we might have to fight in the dark, out of sight, we can be triumphant. After this meeting, you will not see me anymore. I have outstayed my welcome for now, and I will leave the city to heal after I’ve done my part.

Be prepared for anything, as long as it takes.

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Session Recap 13 - Rex: Science & Gangs & Occult with a sidedish of pain.

Parker and I interrogated the irishman. A bloody waste of time. Parker said he would drop the bloke to the irish territory. I had to go to the gym. Even though I have ran and fought all day, nothing beats punching a punching bag.

Why? Why did Kaufman kill Mickey? There is no good reason. If nothing happened in the war (other than, well, war), why would kaufman hold a grudge against his team? Did something happen after the war? Before the war? Maybe Kaufman just went crazy… No, a crazy man would not have a list, he would just kill blindly. Maybe it is an assassin pretending to be Kaufman? No, why would someone pretend to be Kaufman, there HAS to be better options… Actually, am I even sure Kaufman and “Hummingbird” are even the same person. Maybe Kaufman has a twin, a doppelganger of some sort. Maybe they got switched somehow in the war..

“Rex! Stop dozing off and hit the bag!” shouted Mickey’s voice
Rex looked around him. No one was shouting. The gym was empty.

Damn… I am going crazy. Or just thinking too much. Maybe both.

When I got home my phone was ringing. Compton told me to meet him at a museum. He was in some trouble. So I hopped on my bike and cycled to the meeting place. There were others too. Parker and Yardland showed up too. While they tried to find a backdoor to the museum, I met Tiny, an old acquaintance. We met a few years back. Anyways, the others found Compton.

Compton told us that he has a science doohickey that does science thingamajig. I did not really pay attention. But the irish wanted the machine and Compton. And they would take it by force, if needed. Our plan was to secure Compton and the machine, but we had to go to his house first. Tiny, Rusty and Compton went first, I followed with my bike. Yardland went to the station to dig some dusty archives.

When I got to the house, Compton was gone, Tiny was a “Hyde” and Parker had a three barreled shotgun. Yardland had appeared at the scene too. A few punches and choking gas later, we got the explanation.

My boss, Jack Mcgurn was at the house and gave Compton the same offer the irish had made earlier and left. Parker thought the best course of action is to kill Compton, so no one can get him and the science thingamabob, so Tiny tried to protect Compton, by drinking “Dannerjack” and turning to a “Hyde”. Compton escaped in panic and these two started the staredown. Then we got there.

I know Jack is a good man so his offer must be better too. Parker was ready to kill the man we were protecting so he would not have to deal with it. I went mad from hate against Parker and just started throwing punches. Then I noticed that Parker might not be a “normal alcoholic gun-toting private investigator with a bad case of the crazies”, but he was a freak of nature with invisible burning flames around him. I burned my hands, but knocked him out after a while.

I already heard the sirens. Yardland said he would handle this, while I tried to find Compton. Well, I found him and told him that Jack was a good man in my books. He agreed, I think. I escorted him back to his house to think about it. After that, I had to see Jack. If this Parker thing would go to court, there might be problems if his name is mentioned.

So I went to meet him. Told him about this ordeal to give him a notice before the cops started calling. He said he would take care of it. And gave me a package.

It was from Orton. He got me the money, but was “occupied” somewhere. Bah, you better be less “occupied” on the day of the match.

I remember the normal days, with usual problems and old routines. Now all I have is paranormal days, new problems and crazy routines.

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Chigago Tribune

chicago-tribune-logo-black.jpg

Memorial of Michael Shannon

Michael was a fine man. He was a model image of a writer; always nice to everyone, and ever so curious and inventive. His passing is a terrible tragedy for not just his friends, but to whole community: His influence could not only be felt by upper classes and educated readers, but also amongst the common men and working class that Michael so vividly entertained during his regular visits in various cafes and clubs.

Everyone familiar with Michael is welcome. The memorial is held in Corval Str. 216, 12 o’clock on Sunday, 23rd of January.

Worth mentionin is that Michael had written autobiographical pieces about his recent ideas and experiences. These texts were found after his passing with a note that the works should be published were he to pass away. To honor his will, the memorial will also be the publishing of his works, and some of these texts will be read here as a tribute to the writer Michael was.

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Session Recap 13: Interview with a Hyde and a Grifter

Sunday. The day when one is supposed to rest. No working, no thinking. Blowing off the steam. Frankly, the days of having it easy were long gone for Detective Yardland of Chicago Police Department. As he sat in that windowless, stuffy room with a suspect in front of him, Edgar Yardland couldn’t care less what weekday it happened to be.

“Full name” he asked the baby in front of him: an intimidating mountain of a man, not any less so for his wild eye and dark meat.
" Michael Lister " the bruno answered.
Unfazed by his appearance, Yardland continued with the grilling. He had a job to do and the man was a very important clue to the origin of the so-called Dannerjack. The Demon Rum.
“Mr. Lister, please walk me through the events of yesterday. After you and myself separated at the museum.”
“Well,” The brute began, “We were driving us to the professor Compton’s house. Then the wise head started blabberin’ ‘bout somethin’ ‘bout science. An’ magnets. ‘onestly, I followed none of it. Parker must’ve, though, ‘cause he missed a couple of turns while the teach was runnin’ his mouth off!”
“I see,” replied the gumshoe, “Did you notice anything unsual during the drive, or at the house?”
“Lemme think fer a while, copper. Uh, yeah, I did actually! There was a suspicious boiler in an alley! Not too far from the house. It was one of those real glad irons, all white and silver. I betcha it hits on all eight! Didn’t look like the rest of the neighbourhood. And before you ask, no, it didn’t look bent.
“And when you went inside the house?”
“Well, first of all, the door was open.”
“And you proceeded?”
“Of course! Parker took the lead, I watched the rear. Real smooth operation. We saw that the doc’s lab was in ruins, and there was a fellow waiting for us. Didn’t recognize him, but he dressed fancy. Wouldn’t be surprised if he were one of those johnson brothers. He made an offer to the doc, to work for the southside. For Capone. Then he left.”
“He wrecks the place, says a word and vanishes?”
“Pretty much. Using the front door.”
“Apparently the situation escalated from there?”
“Yeah, that crazy bastard, Parker, he started threatening the prof! Said that he should blow his head clean off, and waved that gun of his around like a maniac!”
“You probably didn’t appreciate that too much?”
“Aww, Hell naw I didn’t! When I defended the guy, the goofy dick pointed his gat at me! Lemme tell you, there was murder in his eyes. A bloodlust. Like he needed it. I was scared as hell for my life, and the doc’s, so I threw some punches.”
“And professor Compton?”
“He used some chems and science and stuff, and escaped. The shamus started shootin’ his irons like an automaton who wanted attention, so I drank my juice to get even. Then you guys appeared.
“And what happened then?”
“I told you, you were th…”
“Please tell your side of the story, Mr. Lister.”
“Well, there was some shots fired, some kind of gas and… I kinda dropped. The next thing, I’m here in the clubhouse.”
“Very well. Mr. Lister, you are in a trouble. I can help you, but you have to help me. Lead me to the source of that juice you drink.”
“It won’t be easy.”
“Didn’t expect it to be. Now, if it comes to a trial, are you willing to give your testimony in the court against Mr. Parker?”
“Sure.”

After the interview, Detective Yardland enjoyed a cup of coffee, going over his notes. He only had a glimpse of Michael Lister and detective McFly, who watched over the smoke, in the corner of his eye, but he saw what kind of a number Lister was. He wasn’t a monster. He wouldn’t have to be put down, as long as he’ll get off the Demon Rum. Yardland looked at the cell at the end of the hallway, where Raymond Parker laid bound and gagged.
“I really hope I can say the same for the grifter.” he thought to himself as he finished his cup of joe, made sure his Colt M1191 was loaded and took his first steps toward the cell.

After a brief questioning, the supernatural shamus agreed to drop the booze and help Yardland in purifying Blackline. Yardland knew better than to trust the drunkard, and decided to keep an eye on him.

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Session Recap 12: Death Of Mickey Carpender and the aftermath

Today is going to be a big day. It is Mickey‘s 50th birthday. The whole gym is participating in the organizing process. My job was to get the “firewater” to the party. I’m glad Jack had a few extra barrels. I went to the gym and followed my training schedule like I should. When Mickey went out for a while, we started decorating and getting the place ready for guests. An hour or two before Mickey should show up, people started rolling in. Holy crap, I did not know this many was invited. There were maybe a hundred or so people. Photographers, journalists, Mickeys friends and war buddies. Some random people too. Then we surprised Mickey and sang him a song.

Lola and her band came too. I made sure that Lola had everything she needed. I even made her a private room from one of the locker rooms. Everyone was having a good time and socialising. I talked with Jack. He is going to lay low for a while. I was worried that the other bouncers at Green Mill would not be capable to fend of gangsters like I did. I talked with Orton about the PR thing. I dont think I really need a PR guy, unless the odds shift a lot. I was just going to loan the money I need, but then Yardland took Orton somewhere.

Lola started singing and I was mesmerized. I forgot who I was and where I were. When the song ended I woke up to the harsh reality, that I should be making sure the party was running. I did not see Orton or Yardland at the party anymore. Rusty had left too. Some creep tried to harass Lola in her private room. I almost snapped at him. If he would have went any further I would have beaten the crap out of the creep. When the party was ending, Mickey went to his office. Lola wanted a slow dance with me. It was fun. Once again my world slowed down and I forgot about the surrounding world.

Until I heard the humming. I had heard it before, at the train station. I heard it now form Mickeys office. I told Lola “I’m sorry I have to go” and started moving towards the office. Then I heard three gunshots. I started running. I kicked Mickeys door in and saw him. He had been shot. He fell and grasped an old photograph on the table. I ran to him. He told me that his old sins were coming back to haunt him. The shooter had already escaped.

I woke up the next morning. I had trashed my home in anger. The question raced my mind. “Why?”. Why he did this, why Mickey was murdered, why did he deserve to die. I stared at the photograph. It was a picture of the 77th HQ members. The picture had a list of names behind it. They should know something. I need to find out who did this and why. I called rusty. He or at least someone of his friends had investigated the train station murderer “hummingbird”.

I met him at Cafe Noir and gathered some info. We started to go through the list of names. I checked Henry Loeb, the doctor. He was not useful. Then we went to McCaskey mansion. Something had happened there too. Orton had disappeared and some girl went missing too.

We only got more leads. We went to Richard McCaskey’s apartment to find the bastard. The doorknob had been melted slightly. Rusty took out his gun and went in. Paranoid bastard. Inside the house was a woman dressed in a funeral dress. She was crying. I tried to comfort her, but I soon noticed that was a mistake. Her tears burned like acid and she would not listen to reason. I had to punch a woman. The first punch felt bad. But when she did not drop, nor did she stop, I knew something was really wrong. She might not be a human being. It was confirmed after she attacked rusty and he dropped unconscious.

Rusty just blacked out for a while and I tried to hold her off. Rusty ran back to the car and brought a shotgun. This thing got really serious, really fast. It took a few shots to put her down. Her dress vanished. We were at Richard McCaskeys apartment, with a naked, dead woman at our feet. We knew we had to run like hell, because this is almost impossible to explain. We just drove the hell out of there. Damn, I forgot my bike in there. I need to go and get it back before someone recognizes it.

We had another lead. A professor in the local school. We got his number and went back to Cafe Noir. Rusty told me that some blokes had been following him and they were following us right now. Might be irish. When we parked at Cafe Noir, I went to the car that followed us and told them to stop, or I will bash their noses inside their skulls. Bastards acted like they did not know what I was talking about. Then one of them tried to shoot my head off. I grabbed the bastard out of the car and punched his lights out, while the driver escaped.

I’ve interrogated a few people, cycled to the other side of the city,killed a monster and captured an irish gangster. All that before lunch. This is going to be a rough day.

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Session Recap 11: Good to meet you, Mr. Capone

It was the day after the brawl at Green mill. I had three bullets removed from my abdomen under 12 hours ago. Damn gangsters, bullet wounds take a lot longer to heal than bruises. This might screw my training schedule for a day or two. At least I got a reason to relax for a day. I really should get one of those “bulletproof” vests.

I got a call. Jack wanted to meet me. He picked me up at my apartment and drove us to a tailor with John. I had no idea what we were doing there. I went in and saw Al Capone. He wanted to see us, because we fended off the gangsters at Green Mill Gardens. He wanted to thank and reward us. I drank expensive whiskey, got some money in my pocket and a fancy, custom made suit. Mr. Capone and Jack told me to take a few weeks off work, so I can focus on my upcoming match. I knew Mr. Capone was a good man, but this exceeded my expectations. I just did my job.

After that we went partying with Jack, John, Frank and some girl. I could not relax. The gangsters at Green Mill were trying to kill Jack. I am sure they will try again. John and the girl seemed close. They were dancing. Jack was being Jack. I’m quite sure he danced with every woman in the club at least once. Lola was at the stage. I might not see her in Green Mill for a while. She was singing when the brawl started. I need to be faster when dropping gangsters, so the club would not even notice fighting at the door.

Then Lola came to our table. She was a nice lady. I talked about boxing the whole time. Only later I realized that she was hitting on me, I think.

After that I went home and finally went through my bills. I actually had money to pay the bills. It was a good feeling. I saw myself in the mirror, with the fancy suit. I looked like fine man, with money in his pocket. Then I took the suit off, only to notice my bandages were red from blood. Damn, ripped my stitches. And I remembered, that half of the money I have is Chalky’s money, not mine. Damn him.

I am not a fancy businessman. I’m a fighter. And that will be my role until the match is over.

Rex Mclean

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Session Recap 10: Guns, Goons, More Guns
Guns, Goons, More Guns

Friends still in the sewers and Irish gangster are starting to get too nosy about me and this car at the alley, come on Parker and Beggard. Come on…

I had to leave this place and my friends down there. I was worried of them, but they both know how to survive. And what could be down there, except rats and few drunken bums?
I left Parkers car next to his office, left note, and told Mike to contact me when Parker shows up. I took a cab back to north. Atleast there I could rest for the moment. Ashley was reading one of my books, when I get back. Letters from the Europe, war stories. Book that proves, 16 years old can write a realistic book.

Next day night, I got a phone call. I was very sure it was Mike but no. I was suprised, it was Rex. He asked me to meet him at Green Mill Garderns. In there Rex told me that he needed a PR guy for his upcoming match, atleast he needed cash, 150 dollars so he could bet them for himself. Smart move and I said I’ll think about it.

I had to slide away this conversation because I saw Beggard sitting one of the tables here. He was alright, but he has seen something that he couldn’t belive real. You can see things like that when you look at someone. Frank told me that when I had experienced same kind of think, back in New York.

We where talking with Beggard and his friend Brian, when I heard anxious talking by the door. Rex was there with this suit guy and his three goons. Goons seems familiar… Danner Jack… If things start heating up, I’ll not stay here. Last time with those guys was luck. Took a few more seconds and Rex knocked this suit guy on the ground and I started moving. I knew that behind the bar is secret door to next building. Builted for the raids. I left this place and when I didn’t hear any gunfiring, which started right after I step down to a tunnel, I went out to the streets.

I started walking home, Beggard walked with me. Now we had chance to talk. And I was right. He saw something down there that he could now believe and they find something too. Notebook, where was text I have writed down when I came to this city but something wasn’t right. First notes was right, and the last one wasn’t. Beggard and Parker though that I have been down there and lost my book there. I had to tell Beggard what I have seen in this city before we even met, I promised two different directions, that I don’t talk about White City events, but I had to do it. I had to earn Beggard’s and Parker’s trust back… At the end of our conversation we decided to start investigating this building where those Irish man where with their guns and what this blackline really where…

Next day at the library, Beggard was few hours late and he was with detective Yardland. Well, last night we agreed that it would be just a two of us, Me and Beggard. Well extra hands and mind would hurt us and Yardland knows things. After few hours me and Beggard went to Hall of Records to look town plannings and to look data about that building. In there, I didn’t believe my eyes. Parker doing research in here, not in his whiskey bottle with his liver like he usually does.

Few more hours and we where done. We had formal owner, few other owners. What company does, and exact location of train accident. We headed out, and I saw concierge pick up her phone and she made a phone call. My senses told me that something was not right and when we stepped out I heards cars speeding. Few seconds later I saw those cars and those man with their Tommy guns pointing our direction. Luckily Beggard noticed them too and we jumped back inside. One bullet scratched my leg a pit but nothing serious. Yardland runned in with his gun ready, but we told him that shooters where gone already. And then I realize. Rusty was here too and we got shooting here. What could have happend at his office?

Well I was right about that one too. CafĂ© Noirs windows where exploded to pieces. Bullet holes everywhere and Rusty laying on ambulance. He was alive, but he took more that one bullet inside his guts…

Irish people tried to scary us, but they made a huge mistake. Now we know that we are on the right trace.

Alexander orton

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Session recap 9: The Aftermath
One of the session recaps. Not the first, neither the last.

“The day after”

Much had happened in where daylight doesn’t shine. Compared to the earlier, this was nothing and nothing at all, but it was unnatural to say the least. After years of silence, something had happened and triggered all this. What the trigger was, the walls had no idea about. It was not interest-worthy. All the walls wanted was peace. And this was no peace.
The intruders seemed to have found what they were after. The corridor was empty again; or rather, in it’s normal state. The rumbling had stopped, and all that was left were the naturally unnatural sounds.

Meanwhile, Greg was hungry. And tired. And hungry. He had a chance but… If everything wasn’t so dark…

As in, everything was back to normal. Normal. Hmh. But not to everyone.

“What the hell does this mean? And why for the sake of the bloody-god-hell-shit was it there?!!”, said the man to another.

“I don’t know. But maybe someone else does.”, the older answered.

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Session recap 8 (part four): The Childe Beggart's Tale
Session Recap 7 (part 4)

To John, being content with something was all just fine.
Balance and stability were when things aling, and no day was fine without being great at the same time.
Needeth he no wine to be just fine, nor a shag-about to have something to brag about.
Weekly, came monday, and monday was great, not at all to hate, every day just needed the same debate;
Clitter, clatter, whoosh and clong! All those sounds of the old port gong!
Thus Beggart, John was happy, and John was fine. Fine, oh, was a delicious dinner to dine!

But fate has whims and curse them all! All them black’n’yellow and pall.
As the dust settled with, everything mettled with, torn apart, bit by bit
John had no job, no place to call home; all t’was left from meat was bone.
What to do, thought John just then: Maybe search a rat’s den!
Rusty was trusty, as a feisty knight! Helping him out is something I might!

What happened below the story doesn’t tell
Stuff, that all those ghost-tales yell
Half-rhymes, full stops, running, in a n’shell
Some crash and burn in this cold wet Hell.
Where are they now, doesn’t ring a bell…
Deeply deep in trouble they fell.

To think what’s next and what’s been left behin’:
For things to be fine, maybe there’s just, and only just, a need for some cold red wine!

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Session recap 8 (part three): Blackline
Raymond Parker & John Beggart

I have no idea where we are, and I’m not sure I even want to know. But I have a bad feeling that this is it. That we’re in Blackline, the last train stop before afterlife. After Yardland decided to ruin my and probably everyone else’s day by telling that monsters are real and the whole cult thing couple years back probably wasn’t some alcohol induced delirium, we (meaning me, Beggart and Orton) decided to reopen the case of the missing grandma out of some inexplicable sense of duty and morbid curiosity. Back in the Stakehouse, the old lady seemed like she was back in the land of the sane. She still talked about Blackline and how she had sold her brother to a man in red. She said that the man in the red suit appeared under a train crossing near the house of Sofia Clark. That was our first clue. We tracked down the place where the house was before it was demolished. The crossing obviously was long gone too. We asked the locals if they knew anything about the crossing, Halloran case or about Blackline. Most of them didn’t know squat about the case and dismissed Blackline as an urban legend. However, we did find out that in 1879, a train veered off the tracks and crushed a street car, killing dozens of people, near the place where Margaret’s brother disappeared. There were also rumors of a Satanic cult operating in the area back then, kidnapping people for sacrifice. Maybe they got the old lady’s brother too.

We found the place where the crossing used to be with relative ease. The only problem seemed to be that the Irish had a sizable operation going on in the area. Maybe that’s why they kidnapped Halloran. Maybe she was snooping around the area, trying to find Blackline to get her brother back, but the Irish thought that she was spying on them. Maybe the Micks don’t even know about Blackline, or they learned about it from Margaret. If that’s the case, I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew. Anyway, we thought that if the crossing and the train tracks still existed, they were below our feet, in the sewers. Me and Beggart descended into the darkness and Orton was left behind to guard the entrance (and my car) in case if the Irish fucks get too nosey.

After a while, things started to get strange. We heard noises, like a child talking. After God knows how long, we found something that probably shouldn’t be in the sewers in the first place. An old freight elevator and a sturdy vault door. Then we heard the footsteps. Shuffling, like someone with a lame leg. As we stepped around the corner, we saw them. Monsters. Human-like creatures with gray skin, pointed ears and sharp teeth and claws. There were at least six of them, so we decided to make a run for the vault door. Beggart jumped into the water, while I charged towards them, hoping to break through. They seemed to be afraid of the light from my flashlight. As I ran towards the door, I think I shot and killed one of them. We made it to the door and forced it open. Why the creatures didn’t follow us seeing they could move through walls and floors at will I do not know. Or maybe it’s because the monsters knew what was behind that door and were smart enough not to follow. As we closed the huge door, a loud screeching noise pierced my ears. There were people shouting, screaming, then a huge crashing sound. Then, more screaming. As an eerie silence set in, and we gathered ourselves, we noticed that our ears were bleeding. I think we just witnessed a train crushing a street car and it’s passengers. Or, at least a ghostly replay of it. We looked around, trying to figure where we had ended up, but no avail. It was a long tunnel, somewhat decrepit, but still it couldn’t be more than ten years old. We started walking deeper in to the tunnel and noticed that a cave-in had crushed a booth of some kind, maybe a guard booth. At the end of the tunnel, we turned left and there was an another vault door, but it was already open. As we stepped through, we saw dozens of people. No, not people, ghosts of people. Maybe the victims of the crash. They didn’t seem hostile, for now at least. There were also holding cells on the both side of this tunnel, and they were all open. There was a strange skeleton, laying on the tunnel floor, like a wolf-man of some sorts.

As I said, I have no idea where we have gotten ourselves into, and I think I’d rather not know. But I have strange feeling that we’re going to find out, whether we liked it or not…

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