Prologue: Investigative Reporting, Scene III (Underwood, Erin)

   
Underwood shrugged. “Connections. Hudson’s Rest is the Lost’s information HQ for the whole Eastern Seaboard – point of pride, sort of thing – only we’re low on contacts for overseas. Plus, since Mr. White got bumped up the ladder – well, we don’t know the guy as well as we do Jack. Home office thought it’d be a good idea to get someone on the ground over here, set up a stronger relationship back and forth. Guess I was that someone.”

“I could ask that about you, too, though.” The reporter gestured at the pale woman. “Now, you, sure, I peg you for a Brit, but your hubby-to-be over here?” Over to Sergei. “I know a Russian accent when I hear it, mac. Grew up around ‘em. You second-generation or something, or how’d you end up this far West?”

3 Successes to watch!

"I emigrated." Sergei said blandly. He shrugged, running his hand through Erin's hair. "I'd been in the army back in Russia. I fought in Chechnya, in the Battle of Grozny."

The lanky Russian indicated the long-range rifle with his chin. There was really no getting around the fact that this weapon, in the United Kingdoms, was so illegal as to get all three of the people in the van hauled up before a judge without so much as a by-your-leave.

"I came here, confused, not knowing what to do. A business trip, just a short one. Took a job as a night watchman, that is all. And then I met my little angel." Sergei said, grinning suddenly. "So I stayed. It's a simple story."

Roll Wits+Subterfuge at a -2

Underwood nodded, did a bit of mental calculus, and presumably concluded that Sergei had not been fighting for any sort of godless Communist horde against any quantity of red-blooded freedom-loving American G.I’s at that particular point, and thus that he was not necessarily obliged to punch a man with a high-powered rifle right in the mouth. Underwood had an interesting relationship with Russians.

“Simple story, but a good one.” The reporter smiled at the ending, then turned more somber. “Chechnya… Heard about it – secondhand, I was on ice in Arcadia back then – but I heard about it. Rough business, mac.” He nodded; there was a certain degree of respect there. “I bellyache about my war, but I was just a newsman…never on the front lines. Whole different story.”

One success to watch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
“Home office thought it’d be a good idea to get someone on the ground over here, set up a stronger relationship back and forth. Guess I was that someone.”
"And so in payment, our Frosthaired King has you running about and spying on his own Freehold?" the pale cherry flower lady asked, with a faint smile. "Well. That is the best way to add to your repository of information, I suppose, and to expand your contacts... though perhaps not as neat-as-you-please as could be hoped."

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
“I know a Russian accent when I hear it, mac. Grew up around ‘em.”
"Did you?" Erin looked at Underwood for a moment, and then slowly tilted her head to one side, as she did. "Are there many Russian immigrants in Hudson’s Rest?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTiamat View Post
"Took a job as a night watchman, that is all. And then I met my little angel." Sergei said, grinning suddenly. "So I stayed. It's a simple story."
"He has always thought too highly of me," Erin noted. She leaned up and kissed him again, this time just above his left eye. "But I love him, so that is my great fortune."

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Whistler View Post
“Chechnya… Heard about it – secondhand, I was on ice in Arcadia back then – but I heard about it. Rough business, mac.” He nodded; there was a certain degree of respect there. “I bellyache about my war, but I was just a newsman…never on the front lines. Whole different story.”
Erin vaguely nodded, but she seemed to hunch in slightly, holding her Russian a little closer, a little possessively. Underwood wasn't being leered at, precisely, but he seemed to have triggered some kind of protective instinct here. Presumably Erin had some inkling of how rough a business it was. Her hand strayed to a certain spot on Sergei's chest.

"Which war is your war, Mr. Underwood?" Erin asked, out of legitimate ignorance.

Dice Roll: 7d10s8e
d10 Results: 10, 2, 5, 4, 7, 1, 9, 9 (Total Successes = 3)
watching

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
“Chechnya… Heard about it – secondhand, I was on ice in Arcadia back then – but I heard about it. Rough business, mac.”
"It made me the man I am today." Sergei said with a grimace. This was not something he said with pride, that much was apparent. He ran his hand through Erin's hair, playing with her antennae, his voice low and soothing. "But for me, it is in the past, and I have moved on. As best as I can."

"I am happy with my life."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"Are there many Russian immigrants in Hudson’s Rest?"
"There are in Brighton Beach. A huge community." Sergei offered, smiling for a moment. "I visited there a few times, they have so many booksellers there, it was wonderful."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"And so in payment, our Frosthaired King has you running about and spying on his own Freehold?" the pale cherry flower lady asked, with a faint smile. "Well. That is the best way to add to your repository of information, I suppose, and to expand your contacts... though perhaps not as neat-as-you-please as could be hoped."
Underwood shrugged, giving a “what can you do?” gesture. “Eh. He pays my bills. Well, licenses me, more like – Cold-Weather Queen back home is the one gives me the marching orders, and she’s sharper than a scalpel factory. Nice to know you can count on the home office if things go really pear-shaped.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"Which war is your war, Mr. Underwood?"
“World War Two. The big one. Not my war, really…” Underwood looked distant for a moment; regretful. “…Just every year it gets harder to find other people who remember it right.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Morozov
"There are in Brighton Beach. A huge community. I visited there a few times, they have so many booksellers there, it was wonderful."
Now, this was a happier topic. Underwood grinned. “You bet your life, it’s wonderful. You go on the Cyclone at Coney Island, mac? I can’t go on the Cyclone anymore – like putting the old chassis in a paint shaker, let me tell you. Shift key didn’t work for weeks… But yeah: I’m proud American Polish, me, but Queens was chock full of Russians in the ‘30’s. Lot of Jewish families, mostly – good guys.”

Two successes to watch!

"Oh, I wouldn't have thought it," Erin murmured. Underwood looked good for his age, certainly.

"Hmm," Erin replied. "Have you met Mr. Hammond, Mr. Underwood?" she asked, curiously. "He's Autumn Court, he works in movie set design, and he's in a theatre troupe. They put on marvelous productions, too. But he's an old fashioned sort, I think you might like him. Just a word of warning, uh, don't try to give him artistic advice. And, uh, don't be reserved in praising his work if you see it. He gets, well, just a little moody sometimes. But he's a very kind man."

"America sounds like a great deal of fun! I've never been," she said, brightening up at the mention of Coney Island, despite the fact she would probably likewise damage something and then throw up if forced to ride a roller coaster.

"What's the Freehold like over there?"

Dice Roll: 7d10s8e
d10 Results: 6, 1, 9, 7, 5, 5, 3 (Total Successes = 1)
watching

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
“World War Two. The big one. Not my war, really…” Underwood looked distant for a moment; regretful. “…Just every year it gets harder to find other people who remember it right.”
"My grandfather served in an armour regiment." Sergei Morozov offered, sharing a downcast look with Underwood. He sympathized, he understood just what it meant to feel cut adrift from society. "He died some years ago. I'm sorry."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Underwood
You go on the Cyclone at Coney Island, mac?
"It was a business trip." Sergei said cagily. Brighton Beach was and is one of the centers of the Russian Mafiya in America, and somehow Sergei didn't think it diplomatic to point out that his job was shooting an FBI informer in the back of the head at about 400 yards. He was almost certain that Underwood wouldn't approve.

Though Sergei greatly approved of the ease of getting disposable rifles in the States. Britain made these things much more problematic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erin
"America sounds like a great deal of fun! I've never been,"
"We can go some time." Sergei offered. He'd rather liked what little of New York he'd seen. "Make it a pleasure trip of it."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"Have you met Mr. Hammond, Mr. Underwood? He's Autumn Court, he works in movie set design, and he's in a theatre troupe. They put on marvelous productions, too. But he's an old fashioned sort, I think you might like him. Just a word of warning, uh, don't try to give him artistic advice. And, uh, don't be reserved in praising his work if you see it. He gets, well, just a little moody sometimes. But he's a very kind man."
“You know, you’re the second person to say I should meet the guy? That’s good reviews. I’ll be sure to give him a call, Miss Lamothe.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Morozov
"My grandfather served in an armour regiment. He died some years ago. I'm sorry."
“Eh. Not your fault.” Underwood waved it off, not particularly wanting to dwell on it. “Your boys saved our boys’ bacon more than once back then” –somehow, a rather specific definition of “back then” was implied– “so I probably owe your granddad one.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lamothe
"What's the Freehold like over there?"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Morozov
"We can go some time. Make a pleasure trip of it."
“Like I say, biggest info clearinghouse this side of the Mississippi, and proud of it.” Underwood looked it. “Reporting, publishing, Internet, import-export, anything you can think of: Spring’s got Madison Ave. and the broadcast networks wrapped around her finger, Summer’s boys take the streets, my main man Herringbone’s got an operator in every college and museum in the boroughs, and my team…well, we coordinate. Even owned a radio station, back in the sixties. Newsman’s paradise, let me tell you.” The reporter leaned back in his chair and grinned. “You take that trip, and I’ll show you around – one heckuva city, and great people to live there.”

“How about yours? My boss gave me the quick rundown, but you wanna get a handle on a Freehold, there’s nothing like asking the locals.”

1 Success to watch!

"I'd love to see your city," Erin said, smiling happily at Sergei and Underwood's suggestions. America was a place she didn't know terribly well - it was too new. "It sounds fun."

"London Town? Hmm." She pondered the question. "I'm not terribly good with politics... we are Seelie and Unseelie courts, though it is a bit more of an equal partnership these days. We used to go through Summer Kings at an awful clip, I fear. But things have settled down since King White and Queen Aurora were crowned. The Spring Queen loves her stalwart Knight of Summer, and the new Autumn King... well, the Rider does not seem very political."

"You've met our old Autumn Lord, Jack-of-Crows. He is a bit of a recluse in his retirement, and I think still strains himself too much," Erin noted. She sounded... genuinely concerned for the creep-show former King, which might be worrying. "Letsee... the Unseelie have Guy's Hospital, in Southwark - they took it from the vampires, which left some bad blood there. A number of the Unseelie have jobs in medicine, so if you ever find yourself needing care, you can know that Guy's is a safe place for us. Though, if it's an emergency, you can try to catch me instead." She fished out a business card, though she handed it to Sparky instead. He was the PDA, so he got the phone number, right?

"I think King White prefers the skating rink these days. As for the Seelie, I have heard the Summer Court is organizing itself into a Militia. They patrol the near Hedge on occasion, so you can look out for them if you ever get lost." Erin seemed to know quite a bit more about the Unseelie than her own Court, which seemed curious. "We also have the Piccadilly Circus Goblin Market, which is quite large, and relatively safe. Mr. Othello has a stand there, if you ever need to look for him. There are a number of other Markets in town, but Piccadilly is the one I know the best."

"As for individuals, call Cordelia Corbin if you ever have a body, Donovan Paxton if you ever need a lawyer, and Frau Heinzelmaul if you need a place to hide." This seemed to cover most emergencies. "And if you are really in trouble, ask for Detective Sergeant Nicole Chavez from the Metropolitan Police, but she isn't quite one of us."

"Everyone else you'd probably have the time to find specifically," Erin said, smiling gently. She quirked her head to the side again, this time the other way. "Who is the biggest info clearinghouse on the other side of the Mississippi?"

Dice Roll: 7d10s8e
d10 Results: 7, 8, 7, 4, 8, 2, 10, 2 (Total Successes = 3)
watching




 

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