In which Jack goes to the casino

The plan was simple enough. Track down the signal from the transmitter Shen had implanted in the ghoul’s spine. Extract the guy, if they could. Then send in Joshua’s pack.

Jack was to be the man on the floor, Jed on the roof giving directions, Olivia back in the tower, running comms, holding the spirit fetish that would provide the signal to the werewolf pack.

Jack had been so casual, almost jovial, about his blood binding of Jed. Almost as if he were laughing at them. Cross-legged in front of her screens in the control room, Olivia frowned. This situation would be problematic if she allowed it to continue. Sooner or later, I’ll be helpless in the same room as him. Her beast roused a little at the thought. I need to do something about this.

With a few keystrokes, Olivia established contact with the cameras that Jack wore.
He was approaching the casino, Black Mamba. The casino lights blared out against the sky in shimmering neon. The scent of the excessive cologne that the werewolves had recommended he wear to disguise his scent filled his nostrils, heavy even by human standards. Nevertheless, he seemed to pass muster with the bouncer at the door and proceeded inside.

The casino was busy, and noisy. Rows of people played the glittering fruit machines, and yet more crowded around the green felt of the games tables, playing poker, blackjack, roulette.

Jack played a hand or two of five card stud, winning convincingly. He wandered off, mingling with the crowds and slipped through a door into the staff only area. Jed made occasional interruptions, informing him of approaching staff members as he navigated his way towards his ghoul’s tracking signal. Another door, this one to a set of metal stairs; some kind of basement.

In the basement, there were no lights. It took Olivia a moment to adjust the display for the darkness, and Jack’s eyes glowed dimly red, reflected in the lenses of his shades. It looked like pretty much every utility area ever, plain walls, uncarpeted floor.

“You see down here, Jed?” Jack murmured into his mic.
“Too far down, sorry,” came the gargoyle’s reply in his ear.

Some use he was. Jack kept walking, keeping his body low to the ground, eyes at chest-level.

The setite was waiting around the corner, just standing there in his casino uniform. He might have looked shocked, Jack didn’t stop to check.

Jack moved first, closing the distance. He wrapped one arm around the kindred’s head, his hand over his mouth as he rushed him up against the wall behind him. Death would feed their ritual; he needed to take them alive. Sighing with frustration, Jack cracked the setite’s neck backwards and bit his throat.

Exhilaration hit him in a soundless, vibrant wave at the taste of vitae. It tasted like power. It tasted like death. The setite twitched and struggled briefly before he succumbed to the ecstasy of the Kiss, moaning into Jack’s hand before his knees finally buckled. Disgusting. Jack wiped the setite’s juices from his mouth as he dragged his victim to a nearby cupboard.

Olivia’s voice sounded in his earpiece. “The signal from your guy is nearby. Keep an eye out.”
Jack grunted as he finished hiding the body. “Gotcha.”

He turned the corner into yet another concrete corridor and was nearly on top of it before he saw it; a glint of metal in the detritus on the floor. In what looked like a sluice, sticky with organic flux. Jack’s eyes widened. He’s dead, he realised.

And then his comms cut out.

He started moving back, hurriedly, but the trap was already sprung, three more vampires running for him from the far end of the corridor. By the time he got to the exit, there was another vampire waiting there, arms crossed. Jack looked up, and found himself meeting the kindred’s eyes. Transfixed. He tried to look away, and found that he could not.

Well, he thought. Shit.

And then there were howls in the night.

The setites around him exchanged glances before they fled up the stairs, and Jack held his head a moment, dazed. Man, but that had been close. A few seconds later the door at the top of the stairs opened, and was filled by a huge humanoid figure covered with black fur. Jack felt his hackles stand on end. Joshua. The werewolf stared down at him a moment, nostrils flared, before seeming to come to some inner conclusion and nodded to him, stalking past.

Jack grabbed his unconscious setite from the cupboard and fled into the night, the howls of Darkmoor’s werewolves at his back.

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