Waiting for Shen in a comfortable corner of the Tremere guest library, Olivia finished compiling her database of fresh Grimouth faces against the names from the cross; the full manifest of the plane that had arrived from Rome, a photograph for each one. She forwarded a copy to Goodwin’s security staff, and, after a moment’s thought, a copy to Cain, too.
He called her within moments. “Olivia?”
Who calls in response to getting sent a report? Olivia blinked. “Speaking. Hey Cain.”
“Thank you for the document. The photographs are appreciated.” His voice was gentle. “Was there anything you wanted in return?”
“No, I, uh-” Olivia hesitated, feeling a little lost. Why was he assuming that she wanted something from him? “I just figured it was the kind of thing that’s more helpful right now, not rotting on a hard drive somewhere. I don’t really need to know anything right now. Sorry.”
Cain made a noise on the other end of the line, clearing his throat, or perhaps laughter. “Well, I’m glad someone appreciates the value of having the nosferatu on their side. I’ll keep track of that for later.”
“Um, sure,” said Olivia, still feeling utterly bemused as the call cut out.
She sighed, starting her filter of obituaries and coroner’s inquests for the last fifty years. This would be a much easier task if the official data included possible incidents of ghost activities, but it provided a starting point at least.
Shen came upstairs from the chantry proper, his face grim.
“Lucius says the chantry library doesn’t have enough on the carrion snake ritual to formulate a countermeasure,” he sighed, falling into the chair next to Olivia. “They’ve authorized me to deal with Victor for access to his research materials.”
Olivia looked up from her tablet. “That’s two things we want from your sire now. Any idea what he’ll want in return?”
Shen shook his head. “I spent five years in the guy’s basement, Olivia. Being tortured. Can’t say we ever had a heart-to-heart about his hopes and dreams. We’ll see if he responds to my letter, and we’ll take it from there.”
They took Shen’s car back to Goodwin Tower, where Jack was waiting for them in the foyer with a man from the homeless shelter that he had ghouled, cleaned up, and dressed in a suit.
“So, you need a tracking device why?” asked Olivia. They were upstairs in the boardroom, having left Jack’s ghoul downstairs, Jack seated as close to a window as could be easily managed.
“So I can send him to infiltrate the casino that the Setites are using to recruit,” said Jack with a sigh. “Jeez, it’s like you don’t read my texts.”
“Okay,” Olivia rubbed her head. “So, the Setites are using the new recruits to plug the gap that we left when Balrus wasted a load of them. And they’re using this casino to do it?”
“That’s pretty much it,” said Jack. “It’s called the Black Mamba. Oh, he’ll need some cash, too, but I figured you wouldn’t mind that.” He gave a lopsided grin.
“Do I look like I’m made of mo-” Olivia started. “Oh, nevermind. Yes, I can make you a tracking device. Shen, you can implant it, right?”
“I’m kind of insulted that you had to ask me that,” said Shen. “But yes, that is a thing that I can do.”
“And will do?”
Shen pursed his lips. “And will do,” he admitted. “Though frankly, it’s a little beneath me.”
“Right,” said Olivia, getting to her feet. “I’ll see what I can knock up in the lab before dawn.”
She was perhaps halfway through assembly when she was interrupted by her phone.
“Olivia,” John’s voice was flat and emotionless as ever. “There’s a vampire in the foyer, asking for you.”
Olivia sighed. “Thanks John. I’ll be right down.”
The vampire in question was a gangrel, one of Samuel’s pack, and he looked ragged, shaking with exhaustion, his eyes bloodshot and wide, a moment from simply collapsing onto the floor. He looked up a moment, taking in Shen and Olivia, and seemed to nod to himself.
“You asked for me?” Olivia prompted.
“The werewolves are coming,” he gasped. “Here,” he pointed to the floor. “Now.”